Gov. DeSantis signs bill eliminating Enterprise Florida

'Governor DeSantis is championing good stewardship of taxpayer’s hard-earned money by eliminating wasteful entities like Enterprise Florida.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill (HB 5) late Wednesday to rearrange Florida’s economic development programs, reverting the Department of Economic Opportunity back to its old name as the Department of Commerce and shuttering Enterprise Florida, the public-private business development group.

The measure is a partial reverse of a 30-year movement that began under Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles in the 1990s to develop public-private partnerships to engage in economic development — luring businesses to Florida to help it decrease its reliance on tourism and growth.

“Florida continues to be the nation’s top destination for new businesses, workforce development and tourism, and streamlining our economic development programs in the Florida Department of Commerce will further support Florida’s thriving economy,” DeSantis said in a released statement.

The bill shutters Enterprise Florida and moves some of its functions into the Department of Commerce. VISIT FLORIDA, a public-private tourism marketing group, keeps its governing structure intact but moves it under the Department of Commerce as a direct support organization.

House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, pushed for the measure as one of his top priorities. In his speech on the opening day of the Regular Session in March, he said Enterprise Florida had “overpromised and underdelivered.”

“Floridians deserve a level playing field that empowers local entrepreneurs to thrive,” Renner said in a released statement. “Gov. DeSantis is championing good stewardship of taxpayer’s hard-earned money by eliminating wasteful entities like Enterprise Florida. By establishing the new Department of Commerce, we will embark on a revitalized mission to strategically pave the way towards an even brighter future.”

DeSantis has tapped Alex Kelly, one of his Deputy Chiefs of Staff, to serve as the new Secretary of Commerce.

The move marks a major change from how Republicans, in charge of the Legislature since the mid-1990s, viewed Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA until 2017.

Then-Gov. Rick Scott cherished the programs as vital job-creating agencies that helped Florida rebound from the depths of the Great Recession. Scott led the push to create the Department of Economic Opportunity in 2011, combining three legacy agencies. But in 2017 he battled then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran, when Corcoran pushed to eliminate Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA. Scott ultimately prevailed but lawmakers imposed new transparency requirements on VISIT FLORIDA and eliminated some of the incentive programs used by Enterprise Florida to entice businesses to move or expand in the state.

DeSantis, though, hasn’t defended the programs in the same way, and GOP lawmakers don’t place as much importance on economic development as the unemployment rate stands at 2.6% and the state continues to attract new residents.

Gray Rohrer


  • PeterH

    June 1, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    As noted elsewhere, Alex Kelly‘s background and resume doesn’t lend itself to this new job.

  • Victor Ochoa

    June 1, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    I will support De Santis for presidente so far

    • Tj

      June 1, 2023 at 10:12 pm

      I well to when he makes fl a open carry state 4 ppl that can really carry

  • Michael K

    June 1, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    These are the same group that paid for the failed DeSantis world tour? Of course, with public records shielded, we’ll never really know…

  • Sherry

    June 1, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    I live in Navarre, Florida 74 years old cannot find a place to live because everybody’s gouging rent they wanna dump is $1000 can’t DeSantis do anything about this help the elderly I’ll be on the street before long

    • Nv

      June 1, 2023 at 8:29 pm


  • Kelly

    June 1, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Agreed on the rent cost it’s outrageous here I lived here all my life and my kids do I am Florida proud tattooed on me but something should be done about cost of living here and no not just for the elderly but all of us it’s hard I work just to pay bills never get a head and wish I could do more with my family but I thank God everyday that we have a roof over our head and food in our stomach everyday everything go’s up but my pay

  • Barry

    June 1, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    There’s no such thing as price gouging. This is the free market of supply versus demand. It’s not the governor’s job to set price controls. Price controls lead to shortages where nobody can find a place to live, just like you.

    • John Barron

      June 1, 2023 at 11:11 pm

      You are wrong. Meatball and Leona are comply responsible!!! And Floridians know it!! Floridians will be supporting Trump in ‘24!!!

    • Eileen

      June 3, 2023 at 1:59 am

      True. Absolute shame that so many people clamor for something to be done about high prices without realizing what actually happens.

  • David Siddiqi

    June 1, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    I am a US army veteran and lived in Florida since 1974.i love Governor DeSantis. He will kick evil Democrats out of the white house. Joe bidden the worst president in my time. He has no chance against DeSantis. It will be landslide victory ✌️ for Governor DeSantis. Evil liars Democrats.

    • John Barron

      June 1, 2023 at 11:13 pm

      You are a Rino and a traitor!!! Donald J Trump will be our next president, not Meatball Ron and Leona (aka Billary 2.0)!!! Wake up you woke Rino!!!

  • Stephen Vallillo

    June 1, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    The WHOLE COUNTRY IS PRICE GOUGING EVERYTHING & I MEAN EVERYTHING ! Since our president biden took office & changed the minimum wage, that one thing alone MADE THE WHOLE USA GO CRAZY ON PRICE GOUGING !!!
    Now we pay a Hamburger Flipper $15 hr , now we pay $12.87 for a Happy Meal , which Mom Cry 😭 !

  • Linda Lee Byars

    June 1, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    Gov.DeSantis needs to go. Dictator type. Trump is just like him.

    • John Barron

      June 1, 2023 at 11:14 pm

      No! Meatball Ron is trying to be like trump but is just a cheap canal st knockoff. Who wants a fake when u can have the original!!??

  • Janice

    June 2, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    I am a Trump girl all the way. I will say I love Governor Ron DeSantis as OUR GOVERNOR. His place to run is in 2028. Let President Trump finish what he started – because he alone has ability to bring us back in 2024.

  • George J Kamburoff

    June 4, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Wait until he rest of the nation really looks at book-banning and the strictures of teaching in the Neo-Fascist State.
    We are already laughing at the notion of not teaching studies which may make student “feel bad”. The former Sunshine State is now the Snowflake State.

Comments are closed.


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