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Lawmakers Grill Visit Florida Execs

February 11th, 2009 by flanews

State lawmakers grilled Visit Florida executives today over money the tourism office spent on jobs outside of the state that could have been spent creating jobs here. Visit Florida receives 35 million state tax dollars. As Whitney Ray tells us, lawmakers say much of that money is wasted on salaries, bonuses and travel.

Hear it Here; Visit Florida

Visit Florida executives were called on the carpet by lawmakers after spending 600-thousand dollars hiring a Kansas City call center to promote tourism.

Taxpayer funded agencies are shipping jobs to Kansas City. That represents a fatal flaw in your judgment, Senator Ronda Storms said.

To add insult to injury, one senator called the Kansas City Company several times, four out of the five operators he talked to couldnt tell him where our state capitol is located.

Visit Florida has a 99 million dollar budget; 35 million comes from taxpayers. About a million is used to pay executives. Only 1 in 5 dollars goes to advertising.

If any dollars go to Visit Florida there not going to be used for bonuses and theyre not going to be used for travel purpose, said Senator Mike Fasano.

Visit Floridas President Bud Nocera, who makes 220,000 before bonuses, says hes not worried about losing his job.

Im concerned more about our budget, said Nocera.

Governor Charlie Crist passed the buck to lawmakers.

One of their most important roles is to exercise that kind of oversight. I realize that as a former member of the state senate so any concerns they have we would like to entertain and help out with, said Crist.

Just last month Crist saved Visit Florida from a 5 million dollar spending cut. Crist says he expects Visit Florida will see less money in next years budget.

Posted in Charlie Crist, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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