Senate Budget Chief Defends Tourism Spending

Jan 27, 2017

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
Credit The Florida Channel

Money is tight in Florida’s capital, and new leaders in the House appear skeptical of devoting more of it to Visit Florida.  But Senate lawmakers are wary of cutting funds that promote tourism.

In recent weeks House Speaker Richard Corcoran has criticized spending at the state’s tourism agency Visit Florida.  But Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) defends using public money to boost the state’s biggest industry.

“I have not been totally happy with the accountability I’ve seen,” Latvala says, “but we’ve got to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

“We’ve got 1.2 million jobs in Florida that depend on tourists.”

As Senate budget chief, Latvala has a hand on the state’s purse strings, but Speaker Corcoran drives a hard bargain.  Last year he led the attack against using public money for business incentives.