Budget conference: Lawmakers could cut jobs program, settle on tourism marketing funding

visit florida
'That’s why they call it conference.'

Budget negotiators with the House and Senate agreed to funding levels for key economic development programs, resolving an area of the budget that spurred bitter disagreements in prior years.

VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency, will receive $80 million next year. It’s the same funding level as the current year, but the money is recurring, a key aspect to provide stability for an agency that was threatened with being dissolved in budget battles dating back to 2017.

One area of disagreement is over the Jobs Growth Grant Fund, which provides grants to local governments and state colleges for transportation infrastructure and jobs training programs. The latest House offer includes $42 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1, a $33 million cut from the current year. Gov. Ron DeSantis has requested $100 million for the program.

The chambers also agreed to spend $4 million for litigation expenses at the Department of State, which oversees elections and is defending legal challenges to Florida election laws. The funding level is $1 million more than the Senate wanted and $1 million less than the House preferred.

One major difference between the chambers is funding for upgrades to Camp Blanding, a training center for the Florida National Guard located between Gainesville and Jacksonville. The House wants $100 million for upgrades, while the Senate left the issue unfunded in its budget.

“Right now we’re much less on Camp Blanding repairs and funding for the State Guard than the house is and that’s why they call it conference,” said Senate Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Ed Hooper, a Clearwater Republican. “So we get to make an offer tomorrow.”

Other differences include the House push for $6 million for a financing program for Space Florida, which boosts the aerospace industry. The Senate didn’t include funding for the program in its budget. The House also wants $20 million for the law enforcement bonus program, which pays new police recruits a signing bonus. The Senate prefers $15 million for the program.

Gray Rohrer


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn