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Governor makes defense of economic incentives, tourism programs

Monica Herndon/Tampa Bay Times


Not even a week after the Florida House voted to kill both the state's job incentives program and its tourism marketing arm, Gov. Rick Scott is fighting back.

The Republican governor has stops planned in Cape Coral, Tampa and Flagler Beach today where he will meet with business leaders. In each city, he's holding a roundtable discussion about how important Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida have been to the state - a counter argument to House leaders who last week blasted both agencies as "corporate welfare" that puts the power in the hands of the government to pick winners and losers.

On Wednesday, the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee voted 10-5 to kill both agencies, despite Scott's warnings the move would hurt the economic momentum Florida has had since he was elected in 2010. Only one Republican on the panel defended Scott's position and the two programs.

The House plan face major obstacles still. Even the biggest critics of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida in the Senate have said while both agencies need to be recast, they shouldn't be eliminated completely.