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The Senate has agreed to a House budget proposal that would eliminate Enterprise Florida

The Florida Historic Capital
Anna Jones
WFSU Public Media
The Florida Historic Capital

"Enterprise has over promised and underdelivered for years."

The state’s business recruiting agency Enterprise Florida has come under fire for not producing enough revenue.

Tiffany Esposito (R-Fort Myers) is behind a bill that would eliminate $12 million in funding for the agency. She told lawmakers in a House committee enough is enough.

“Enterprise has over promised and underdelivered for years," said Esposito. "Businesses don’t choose to come to Florida because of incentive programs. They choose Florida because of our regulatory environment, because for the business-friendly policies that passed by this legislature, and because of our tax structures.”

Under HB 5, the Department of Economic Opportunity would be rebranded as the Department of Commerce, Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing agency, and the Florida Sports Foundation would be absorbed under it.

The measure also eliminates dozens of other industry-specific programs including the Office of Film and Entertainment. This comes after filmmakers using a sales-tax exemption program spent more than $1.4 billion in the state last year.

Paul Sermons, an independent film maker out of St. Augustine worries reducing incentives could mean movies and workers that otherwise would have stayed in Florida, will join Georgia’s growing film industry instead.

"We don’t want to be educating Georgia’s workforce," said Sermons. "We want the work to stay here, and the state film house is valuable to us. I love this bill but please keep the state film office.”

The move comes as Governor Ron DeSantis is on an Enterprise Florida-supported trade mission to Japan with stops in Israel, South Korea, and the UK.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.