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Juice Gets the Budget Squeeze

June 29th, 2015 by flanews

Florida’s budget takes effect Wednesday and among the vetoes – a tourism staple. As Matt Galka tells us, money requested to serve free Florida orange and grapefruit juice at welcome centers got the ax.

“Welcome to Florida would you like some juice.”

That phrase has greeted tourists stopping by Florida welcome centers near the state line for decades.

Woody and Lois Allen are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and are on their way to the beach. They always stop in for a cup of OJ.


“Florida orange juice, you know everyone’s heard of it. It’s the only rest area around the country, I think, or places we’ve been in the world where they’re actually right there serving,” said Lois Allen.

The Roberts family from Ohio quenched their thirst, too.

“If it wasn’t any good we wouldn’t be talking to you,” said Danny as he sipped some juice with his kid.

But the world renowned citrus juice got a scare last week. Usually it’s pork getting vetoed from the budget but the Governor put the squeeze on juice this year.

Rick Scott vetoed $250,000 from the state’s spending plan that was set to be used for the juice at the state’s five welcome centers.

“I went through the budget and looked at what was a state priority,” the Governor said last week.

Don’t’ tell citrus growers the oranges and grapefruits aren’t a priority. Visit Florida vows the free drinks will continue to flow.

“It’s a tradition. Grandfathers bring it to their grandsons, families bring it to their sons and daughters, and it’s a tradition. It’s a true Florida experience,” said David Dodd with Visit Florida.

Visit Florida hopes the state has enough juice – literally and figuratively – to attract 100 million tourists in 2015. The juice will continued to be paid for with other money from the state’s Department of Citrus budget.

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