Senate Budget Development Priorities very different from Scott


The first budget proposals out of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development offer a number of unkind cuts to Gov. Rick Scott’s business plans for the next fiscal year.

Rather than the $105 million for flexible funding for Enterprise Florida in Scott’s fiscal plan, the Senate proposal would provide the agency now operating on $111 million this year just $16.2 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The Senate also is rejecting another $173 million Scott proposed for Enterprise Florida to use as one-time funds for incentives and economic development programs.

Space Florida wouldn’t see any of the $10 million Scott has proposed, nor would the Office of Film and Entertainment get another year of $120,000.

With eyes on Asia with the expansion of the Panama Canal, Scott has proposed $600,000 for economic development offices in Japan and China, $300,000 to advocate for international business relationships, and $350,000 for the International Trade and Promotion Trust Fund. The Senate has countered with $150,000 for the offices, $100,000 for international business relations, and nothing for the trust fund.

The Enterprise Florida marketing brand, introduced with some controversy in January for featuring a bright orange necktie in the place of the ‘i’ in Florida – which some said implied business was only for men – would only get half of the $3 million Scott has proposed.

The Senate plan does include a few items Scott didn’t propose: $500,000 for the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership; $400,000 for the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States’ Florida Trade and Exhibition Center; $2.5 million for the Rowing Center in Sarasota County; $1 million for infrastructure enhancements at the Miami Design District; $500,000 for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg; $10 million for the construction of a 50,600-square-foot Sarasota-Manatee transportation operations center; and $50 million to complete the St. Petersburg to Titusville “Coast to Coast Connector Trail” bicycle and foot path.

The Florida Defense Support Task Force, for which Scott wanted $2 million, would get $5 million from the Senate.

The Senate proposals will return before the committee next week before being sent to the full Appropriations Committee.

“It would be my intent the committee give a favorable recommendation with this particular first wave of budget proposals,” the panel’s chairman, Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said on Wednesday.

The Senate is also proposing the elimination of 150 positions in the Department of Transportation and 43.5 positions in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

All of the DOT positions are vacant, while 41 in DHSMV are currently filled, of which 39 are expected to be transferred into county tax collection offices.

by Jim Turner


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