While AAF Jacksonville was putting up decorations for the 2017 ADDY Awards, a bill, PCB CCS1 was proposed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’ Lakes). This bill would eliminate Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida; our states marketing arm for tourism and economic development. On Monday, February 6, several AAF board members traveled to Tallahassee to lobby with district representatives and Senator Aaron Bean to not eliminate the states marketing dollars. Despite our efforts the bill was advanced on Wednesday, February 8th. Below is an update from our District Lobbyist Jack Hebert on the situation. If you wish to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Your President of AAF Jacksonville,
Eric Baskauskas

A Fourth District AAF Legislative Update

By Jack Hebert, Fourth District AAF Lobbyist – Friday, Feb. 10, 2017

Latest update on an anti-advertising proposal advancing in the Florida House of Representatives

Tallahassee – On Wednesday, Feb. 8, a House committee voted 10-5 to advance a highly-controversial proposal which if enacted would prove disastrous to Florida’s advertising industry. In addition to dismantling Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development agencies, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, the proposed measure would axe their funding together with ending the current sales tax exemption for motion picture, sound and video equipment and services.

The bill, PCB CCS1, had its first public hearing before the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee amid a packed SRO committee room of 300+ with over 150 of those attending offering to provide public testimony. Current 4AAF Secretary Mike Weber, also a past 4AAF governor, and 4AAF lobbyist Jack Hebert were on hand to offer our organization’s strong opposition to the matter. Coincidentally the day before over 40 volunteer leaders of 4AAF visited with lawmakers to discuss opposition to the measure during 4AAF’s annual “Advertising Day at the Capitol” event.

The public hearing was the first stop in the House for a 172-page bill introduced just days earlier. The vote on Wednesday formalized introduction of the measure for further consideration, presumably by one or more additional committees in the coming weeks as lawmakers warm-up for their annual spring session beginning in March.

There is no similar measure moving in the Florida Senate. To the contrary, yesterday afternoon the full Senate Appropriation’s committee met as several members offered negative comments on the House proposal during a presentation by the state government’s chief economist, Amy Baker. Baker testified as to the relative success of Visit Florida’s past efforts: an over three-to-one return on investment for every tax dollar the state spends to lure visitors to Florida.

Several members of the Senate committee went on to voice their support of continued funding for the program, as well as several other incentive program also demonstrating positive track records according to Baker’s analysis.

In related news, Florida Gov. Rick Scott also lashed out at House leadership this week over the issue. Saying the House “didn’t care about jobs,” Scott suggested that House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’ Lakes) was putting his personal future ahead of the interests of all Floridians. Corcoran is rumored as a candidate for governor in 2018 when Scott is scheduled to leave office.

Today a committee of non-elected state government staff, led by chief economist Baker, with take a closer look at the House proposal during their weekly Revenue Estimating Conference meeting. No votes will be taken.

Thanks to the many 4AAF who made calls and sent emails to legislators on this issue as requested earlier this week. Continued communications with your local House member are encouraged as we monitor this issue closely in the coming weeks leading up to the March 7th kick-off of the annual legislative session. Just follow the links below to guide you in your efforts.

At this point, please stay closely tuned to this issue and prepare to act when requested.

Find your elected Florida House and Senate members HERE.

Follow this link for a copy of the 172-page bill PCB CCS1.