For the second straight day, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s biggest priorities will be under scrutiny at the hands of the Legislature today but with a big difference.
When Enterprise Florida goes before the before the Senate Appropriations Committee later today, it will be doing so in a committee that is lead by Sen. Jack Latvala, who has called the House Republican’s idea of killing that agency and Visit Florida the “dumbest idea.”
Cissy Proctor, the director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is expected to testify that economic incentive programs under Enterprise Florida can “tip the scales” in the state’s favor when it comes to convincing companies to move to Florida.
Scott has argued that the incentive programs have been critical to the state adding more than 1.2 million private sector jobs since 2010.
Still, House Republicans yesterday took their first step toward killing Enterprise Florida. The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee voted 10-5 in favor of a bill pushed by Rep. Paul Renner, R-Jacksonville, which would eliminate Enterprise Florida completely and put all other economic development programs under the Department of Economic Opportunity.
“The problem with economic incentives is that they are selective and they absolutely pick winners and losers,” Renner told the committee yesterday.
Renner said the government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in a free market.
Renner’s legislation comes as House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, has called the idea of giving tax credits to businesses to relocate or grow their operations in Florida a form of “corporate welfare.” He said other factors like improving education and infrastructure has the potential of attracting businesses more than tax credits.
Scott has warned Legislators that killing Enterprise Florida will damage the state’s economic momentum over the last 6 years.
Latvala’s Senate Appropriations Committee meets at 1 p.m. today.