Money to help smaller communities market themselves during the off-season could still be in play as legislative leaders continue to negotiate the 2017-18 budget.
The Senate has proposed language to move a state-funded marketing program run by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation from Visit Florida.
The House did not include the language in its proposal.
The state’s tourism marketing has annually contracted with the FRLA to “develop a coordinated marketing, media, and events program to promote the Florida hospitality industry by residents of the state.” The events are typically smaller ones, and the Great Florida Events Program aims to promote in-state tourism.
The marketing campaign could receive $1 million under the Senate proposal, less than the $2 million it has previously received.
During a budget meeting Sunday, House and Senate negotiators briefly discussed the General Government Operations and Technology budget language. But negotiators did not appear to come to an agreement, with both Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala and House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo saying there were still some differences needed to be worked out.
“We’re very close on the general government,” said Latvala during the meeting. “I think there’s just two issues that we’re going to have to work on.”
Trujillo echoed those sentiments during a post-meeting press conference, telling reporters that “government ops is right there, it’s just small clean-up language.”
According to Rep. Blaise Inoglia, the pot of money for the FRLA was one of the issues Latvala was referencing when he there were sill issues to be resolved.
Issues not resolved during Sunday’s budget meeting were “bumped” to presiding officers hammer out the differences. Those budget conference meetings could take place today.