During his state of the state address on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives, Gov. Rick Scott fanned the flames between him and Speaker Richard Corcoran in their ongoing fight over the future of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Corcoran wants to scrap both job marketing agencies, while Scott is fighting to keep them going.
But, you don’t just give up and shut down, and take your ball and go home. You figure out what the problem is and fix it.-Gov. Rick Scott
And then Scott landed another body blow to Corcoran:
“It’s easy to throw out catch phrases like ‘picking winners and losers’ and ‘corporate welfare,”…By the way, I don’t like either of those things. I doubt anyone in this chamber does. But that’s not what we are doing. We are competing with 49 other states and hundreds of countries for jobs. When we bring new jobs to Florida, there are only winners.”
Corcoran recently told the Shark Tank that both entities will be on the chopping block in the House this week.
Here is transcript of Scott making the case for EFI and Visit Florida:
Enterprise Florida has been responsible for over 900 projects since I have been Governor, including helping businesses like Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hertz add thousands of high wage jobs in Florida. And, we can easily show a great return on the investment of families’ tax dollars because jobs are being created by more companies moving to our state.
When we announced Hertz was moving their corporate headquarters to Florida from New Jersey in 2013 and adding 700 new high-wage jobs, it was the first major relocation by a Fortune 500 company while I have been Governor.
I would like to introduce you to Nick Cid, a Florida native who got a job at Hertz because Enterprise Florida helped relocate the company to our great state. Nick, we are glad you and your family are able to live your dreams in Florida! I want to thank many of you here today who joined me at the Hertz announcement in Southwest Florida including Senator Benacquisto, Leader Rodrigues, Representative Caldwell, Representative Eagle, and Representative Fitzenhagen.
And soon after Hertz moved to Bonita Springs, Herc Rentals decided to move their headquarters to Florida from New Jersey. Herc Rentals has already created over 300 jobs for families in Florida. This is how growing an economy works. You build an environment for companies to be successful and others will join.
I want to be very clear in acknowledging that both Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida have made mistakes along with their many successes over the years. And I do not fault anyone for pointing out those mistakes.
Any time we can eliminate government waste we should do it. But, just like we would do in the business world, we have made changes at both agencies so the organizations can be more efficient and transparent.
Any CEO or business owner will tell you that mistakes are made sometimes. But, you don’t just give up and shut down, and take your ball and go home. You figure out what the problem is and fix it. Let’s remember, we are talking about people’s jobs and their ability to provide for their family.
Tourism is one of our state’s top sources of revenue, and if that declines, we will set our state on a course for either tax increases or cuts in services. These are the facts. Getting rid of Visit Florida and ending advertising for tourism doesn’t make any sense in the real world.
Successful companies know how to market themselves and they don’t stop advertising when business is good. Coca-Cola and Chic Fil A didn’t stop running ads when they reached the top of their industry.
Think about it for a minute. Do we really have to argue about how important tourism is to our economy? And do we really need a debate about whether marketing and advertising works?
Visit Florida has been responsible for recruiting record numbers of visitors – including a record of nearly 113 million last year! Will Florida still have tourists if we stop advertising?
Sure. But we will have less. And that means less jobs, less tax revenues, and less of everything. When it comes to jobs, I’m for more, not less.
Every 76 tourists support one Florida job, and tourism helps thousands of small businesses that rely on visitors. One of these small businesses is Sage Paddle Company started by Sage Offutt. Sage, please stand.
Sage is 14 years old and started her business when she was just 11 after moving to Navarre Beach. Like so many Floridians, Sage loves our beaches and began paddle boarding. But, she quickly saw a need. There were not many places that rented and delivered the boards in her area. So, like any young entrepreneur, she purchased six boards and opened up her business! Today, she has a fleet of 50 boards and 12 kayaks.
Sage, young entrepreneurs like you are the future of our state and we will fight for Visit Florida so we can keep helping small businesses like yours.