Once again, Visit Florida is fighting for its life.
A year after state leaders' outrage over a $1 million marketing deal with recording artist Pit Bull forced out the head of the state tourism authority, and caused the legislature to try and slash its funding by two thirds, the budget is in jeopardy again.
While the Florida House of representatives provided the full $76 million funding in its budget proposal, the State Senate is seeking to cut that to $50 million. In a message to its industry partners this week, Ken Lawson, the new president and CEO of Visit Florida, called for a lobbying effort to make the senate see that its "cut to Visit Florida's budget will cost our state visitors, jobs, and revenue -- affecting your bottom line."
Lawson added, "This $26 million cut would do irreparable harm to Visit Florida, Florida's tourism industry, and your business. If our funding is cut by more than a third, we will not be able to provide many of the services, programs, and marketing co-ops that our partners like you depend on."
He asked all Visit Florida's tourism partners to write to their legislators, and particularly to "respectfully reach out to Senate President Joe Negron at 850-487-5229 or [email protected]."