ADVOCACY ALERT - 3.27.2023
On Friday, March 24, the biggest attack on the tourism industry ever proposed was announced - PCB RRS2.
The Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee agenda for Tuesday, March 28th at 2:00 pm includes the following bill:
PCB Bill by Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee:
In summary, this bill:
- Rural counties are required to pay 2% of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections and non-rural counties 5% of TDT to fund Visit Florida, approximately $70 million for 2023-26, then becomes voluntary via vote of governing body.
- Requires all Tourist Development Tax levied to be reauthorized by referendum every 6-years exempting TDT collected to cover county bond obligations.
- Eliminates proceeds from rental car surcharge to Visit Florida.
- Prohibits any state appropriations to Visit Florida.
- Requires Visit Florida to ensure that 75 percent of all expenditures go towards activities, services, functions and programs that directly assist state parks, state forests and rural counties.
- Require VF to match monies from each county on a one-to-one basis while prohibiting any proceeds from TDT to be counted towards the match. Any co-op marketing or local DMO program participation cannot count.
- Expands the ability for counties to use TDT for tourism infrastructure for transportation, sanitary sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water, and pedestrian facilities by removing the requirements to use at least 40% of TDT for marketing as well as removing the independent professional analysis demonstrating the positive impact to tourist-related businesses in the county.
Based on calculations, the definition of rural counties within this bill includes: Baker, Bradford, Calhoun, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Okeechobee, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington.
The following organizations have joined in opposition of the bill:
- Florida Chamber of Commerce
- Destinations Florida
- Florida Association of Counties
- Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
- Florida Attractions Association
- Florida Association of Museums
- Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association
- RV Park and Campground Association
Here's how you can take action to help:
1. Ask anyone concerned with this bill to contact members of the committee to ask them to Vote Against PCB RRS2.
2. Plan to be at the committee meeting at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, March 28th. Bring members of your industry negatively impacted by this proposal.
Committee members. Name/party/county delegations.
Rep Tyler I. Sirois (R) Merritt Island Email / Twitter
Rep Lauren Melo (R) Naples Email
Rep Joe Casello (D) Boynton Beach Email / Twitter
Rep Carolina Amesty (R) Orlando Email
Rep Peggy Gossett-Seidman (R) Boca Raton Email
Rep Jeff Holcomb (R) Spring Hill Email
Rep Randy' Scott Maggard (R) Zephyrhills Email / Twitter
Rep Patt Maney (R) Ft. Walton Beach Email
Rep Fiona McFarland (R) Sarasota Email / Twitter
Rep Angie Nixon (D) Jacksonville Email / Twitter
Rep Will Robinson Jr. (R) Bradenton Email / Twitter
Rep Jason Shoaf (R) Live Oak Email / Twitter
Rep David Silvers (D) West Palm Beach Email / Twitter
Rep Susan L. Valdes (D) Tampa Email / Twitter
Rep 'Brad' Yeager (R) New Port Richey Email / Twitter
Here are first draft talking points:
- A newly filed Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) from the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee would severely harm Florida’s tourism industry by stripping away the state’s and local communities’ ability to effectively promote its tourist destinations.
- Tourism is the lifeblood of Florida’s economy and was the key to vitalizing the free State of Florida’s economy following the pandemic bringing in a surplus of revenue to the state.
Hurting Tourism Promotion at the State and Local Levels
- Florida has no state income tax and residents save $1,500 annually in taxes thanks to the local and state revenue generated by tourism promotion driven visitation.
- Visit Florida generates a return on investment of $3.27 in taxes for each dollar invested by the State of Florida.
- The new PCB would effectively destroy Visit Florida by reducing it to a shell of its current form, which has been highly successful.
- New match requirements contained in this bill stipulate on a “by county” basis, which will make it impossible for Visit Florida to meet match requirements.
- Visit Florida would be limited in serving as the statewide brand as only 29 of Florida’s counties would be in the pool of counties eligible to receive the benefit of 75 percent of Visit Florida’s expenditures. This leaves very little for the remainder of Florida’s counties.
- Industry members in non-rural counties are not going to participate in Visit Florida if they cannot benefit from its programming.
- More than 90 percent of all tourism businesses in the state would be served by less than 25 percent of Visit Florida’s budget - thousands of small businesses are negatively impacted by virtual of their location outside of a rural county.
- The state lodging industry agreed to levy the Tourist Development Taxes to fund local tourism promotion and this bill is a massive breach of that agreement.
- The bill also puts all entities that rely on Tourist Development Tax collections into jeopardy by mandating local referendums every six years.
- This bill kills local tourism promotion by making retaining staff and vendors impossible. Who will take a job that could be sunset every six years?
Committee Meeting Details:
Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee Link to meeting notice
Florida Capitol - 212 Knott Office Building
Suzanne Hurst, Deputy Director of Destinations Florida will be there by 1:30 pm. To find this room follow these steps.
- Enter the Florida Capitol building through the main entrance, located on the ground floor on the east side of the building.
- Once inside, take the elevator or stairs to the second floor.
- Head to the north wing of the second floor, where you'll find the walkway to the Knott Office Building.
- You’ll arrive at the Knott Office Building on the 4th Floor. Walk down to flights of stairs and follow the corridor around to room 212.
Appearing at committee:
It’s important and useful to appear at the meeting to record your opposition to the bill. Please complete an appearance form. You are not required to give a presentation. Instead, it’s very reasonable when called upon to rise and say, “I waive my time in opposition to the bill.”
Here are the steps to complete; hopefully, before you arrive.
- Click this link.
- Scroll to bottom and click the Appear at Meeting button.
- After completing your contact details, in the drop down select PCB RRS 23-02 and then select OPPOSE. Then click “Add.”
Watching committee meeting:
The Florida Channel currently shows Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee meeting on its live broadcast schedule. You’ll be able to click this link to choose from Florida Channel’s live programming.
Thank you for your efforts to oppose this bill.