Hours after Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders announced plans for a special session this week, the House released a 58-page bill Friday that deals with key economic-development issues. Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, have battled for months about funding for the economic-development agency Enterprise Florida and tourism-marketer Visit Florida.
The bill (HB 1A) provides details of a compromise that Scott, Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, outlined for the special session that will start Wednesday.
Among other items, it includes $76 million for Visit Florida and creates an $85 million “Florida Jobs Growth Grant Program,” which will provide money for infrastructure projects and job training.
In a memo to House members, bill sponsor Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said the bill would end “traditional practices of corporate welfare” and place new requirements on Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
“Additionally, the bill establishes strong transparency and accountability measures for both Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida,” Renner said in the memo.
The memo said new provisions of the bill create an innovative approach to job growth and economic enhancement.
“Specifically, the bill creates the Florida Jobs Growth Grant Program as a tool for the governor to support and strengthen the fundamental characteristics of a sound and robust economy,” it said.
“These grants for public infrastructure and workforce training must provide broad-based value for the public and not just benefits for selected companies. Infrastructure and a skilled workforce are critical components for attracting new business and expanding jobs in Florida.”