House committee OK’s rewrite of state economic incentive program

LEGISLATURE

A series of rewrites to Florida’s economic-incentive programs, a chief priority of Gov. Rick Scott, passed its first House panel Tuesday afternoon.

Lobby Tools reports that HB 1325, from Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd, seeks to establish a new Florida Enterprise Fund, as well as changes in the process of administering economic incentives for businesses to come to Florida.

Several provisions of the bill are similar to a proposal (SB 1646) sponsored by Clearwater Republican Rep. Jack Latvala, including lower return-on-investment (ROI) requirements, and a new incentive process where a Senate President and House Speaker can veto projects costing more than $2 million, rather than requiring approval by the legislative budget commission. Both bills also have provisions preventing businesses from leaving the state for a period after receiving incentives.

One difference between the two bills, however, is the House version does not offer a restructuring of the state’s film incentive program, something sought by Latvala and state Sen. Nancy Detert of Sarasota.

On the other hand, LobbyTools notes the House bill also contains requirements not present in the Senate version – such as an exemption from local concurrency and impact fees for businesses operating in facilities smaller than 12,000 square feet and employ fewer than 12 workers. Local governments will have the option to waive that requirement by majority vote. Although the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties support the majority of the bill, both have expressed “concern” over that provision.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected]



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