Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn met with Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee on Tuesday to strategize over how he can help save Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida from Republican critics in the Florida House. (Jeremy Wallace/Tampa Bay Times)
A day after attending a rally with Gov. Rick Scott, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was in Tallahassee on Tuesday meeting with the governor yet again.
Buckhorn and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, both Democrats, said they met with the governor to offer their help in protecting Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida - two agencies that some state lawmakers have vowed to eliminate.
“I’d be more than happy to go anywhere and speak to anyone about the importance of these incentives for us to be able to grow our economy,” Buckhorn said after his meeting with Scott.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, has called the incentive programs forms of corporate welfare that put too much government influence in the marketplace. Last week a House subcommittee voted to kill both agencies. The bill still has a long way to go, but supporters of the two agencies are pulling out all the stops to protect both.
Buckhorn said on Tuesday that if Florida doesn’t have job incentive money to offer companies, other cities and states will have a competitive advantage in convincing them to go elsewhere.
Buckhorn acknowledged he’ll take some heat from Democrats who question him being on the same side as the Republican governor and even sounding a little like him in defending the programs.
“There will be people who are mad at me because I stand up there with the governor, but ultimately it’s to the benefit of my city and it’s what I was hired to do - what I was elected to do,” Buckhorn said.
On Monday, Buckhorn attended a meeting with Scott in Tampa that had all the feel of a pep rally for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. At that event, Buckhorn told the crowd the incentives have benefited Tampa and need to continue.