Last Friday, House and Senate leadership failed to fund the Florida Enterprise Fund, one of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s 2016 Legislative Priorities, which would provide critical resources to communities competing for high-impact, transformative economic development projects.
Originally proposed as a $250 million, three-year trust to incentivize the most competitive business deals, lawmakers began budget negotiations by eliminating all suggested financial allocations for the program.
Legislative negotiations continued throughout the weekend, but the budget number remained at zero. On Monday evening, members of the Florida Legislature’s Budget Conference Sub-Committee on Transportation and Economic Development met for the final time, and continued to hold their position.
This critical economic development program, which would allow our region to compete for high-impact, transformative job creation projects, is still unfunded.
With less than two weeks remaining in the 2016 Florida Legislative Session, the Tampa Bay Partnership continues to be visible and vocal on this critical economic development issue, to ensure that the voice of the Tampa Bay region is heard in Tallahassee.
“The stakes are too high for Tampa Bay,” said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “We can’t allow our legislative leadership to deliver an unintended, and untimely, end to the economic momentum we’ve all worked so hard to create.
The Tampa Bay Partnership and economic development organizations from Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties made a united appeal to House Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran and Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, calling for support of the Florida Enterprise Fund.
In an op-ed that appeared Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, the Partnership reaffirmed its support of the Florida Enterprise Fund and described the impact a failure to fund the program could have on the region.
Ryan Patmintra, the Partnership’s VP of Public Policy & Advocacy, is currently in Tallahassee with the lobbying team from RSA Consulting, and will continue to address this issue with legislative leadership and members of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation throughout the week.
Business leaders throughout the region are encouraged to take action by contacting House Appropriations Chair Richard Corcoran and Senate Appropriations Chair Tom Lee and urging them to support the Florida Enterprise Fund.