Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Orlando on Wednesday morning, the latest stop in his “Fighting for Florida Jobs” roundtable tour which aims to save the embattled Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida economic development programs. During the stop he called on residents to reach out to state house lawmakers that recently voted to eliminate the programs.
The roundtable took place at the USTA National Campus, a successful effort by local lawmakers to bring the “Home of American Tennis” to Orlando and a success story Scott used during his remarks.
“We had to give them the best opportunity at the right time or they could have gone to other places. This is not the only place they can go.” said Scott “When we think about what the state is doing now with VISIT Florida and Enterprise Florida, we’re going to miss opportunities.”
The Republican led State House along with many Conservative Groups have called Enterprise Florida a “corporate welfare” program that “picks winners and losers” by using taxpayer dollars to bring companies in to compete against home grown businesses. The agency is on it’s third CEO in less than a year.
VISIT Florida was recently under fire for paying Rapper Pitbull one million dollars to promote the state in it’s “Sexy Beaches” Video and resisting requests to see his contract before Pitbull himself announced the deal on Twitter.
The vote from Orlando State House members illustrated how controversial the issue was with both Republicans and Democrats going their own ways during the vote.
Scott took his opportunity in Orlando to call out those lawmakers who voted for the elimination of the programs.
“Here’s who I’d like you to reach out to. Bruce Antone. Bob Cortes and Jennifer Sullivan voted to eliminate Enterprise Florida, voted to eliminate the Florida Defense Alliance and on top of that severely constricted the ability for VISIT Florida to work for this state. Jason Brodeur did the same thing” said Scott “Who voted the right way? Kamia Brown. Eric Eisnaugle. Amy Mercado. and Rene Plasenica. Mike Miller voted to eliminate Enterprise Florida but keep VISIT Florida. Carlos Guillermo Smith voted against Enterprise Florida and to keep VISIT Florida. They all ran for office last year. You remember any ads that said ‘we’re gonna get rid of Enterprise Florida’ last year when they were running?”
The Governor is expected to continue his tour around the state as the legislative session hits the midway point.