The women and men elected to the Florida House of Representatives, presumably because they were believed to have the best interests of the citizens at heart (and, ostensibly, because they were thought to be intelligent and capable of rational thought), just voted 80 to 35 to throttle that State's tourism marketing effort.
It's not elimination of Visit Florida (as originally proposed), but it might as well be, given the draconian restrictions within the bill. And those restrictions smack of envy and class warfare...the tools of far too many of today's politicians looking to curry favor with a pissed off electorate.
So, let's bring the agency down to "our" level, shall we?
Like, eliminating travel to international travel shows like ITB. Requiring hotel stays to be under $150/night. To post all contracts and proprietary research on the State's website (so its competitors can read the playbook). To require Senate confirmation of the CEO who can make no more than $130,000. And, the list goes on...way on.
So, while Visit Florida is now to be allowed to survive...it really won't thrive.
I know this will sound elitist and this is what the base can't understand. But, at $130,000 (and the raft of restrictions being proposed)...they'll never be able to attract the level of professional talent that is required to skillfully manage an international destination's marketing effort of that size.
Sure, that sounds like an exorbitant paycheck to Joe and Jill Public (the base)...but, that's just what the majority of the House is counting on. Public outrage and future votes.
Like I said the other day. I truly hope that every legislator who voted for this bill would forward their personal e-mail address so that all the Florida residents that wind up losing their jobs because of this folly will be able to send their sincere thanks in a couple years when visitor counts start to decline.
That sound you hear? It's every other destination in America chuckling softly to themselves, as they've just been handed the biggest opportunity to increase market share for which they could have ever wished.