The Florida House shrugged off political threats from Gov. Rick Scott and stuck a dagger into the heart of his political legacy on Friday. By an 87-28 vote, the House voted to kill Enterprise Florida, the agency Scott has relied on to hand out tax breaks to businesses in exchange for them creating jobs — a central promise in his two campaigns for governor. … With 87 votes backing the Enterprise bill, the House would be in a position to override a Scott veto because the bill passed by more than a two-thirds majority. … But the Senate still needs to pass its own bill. So far, it hasn’t. … It’s a remarkably bad week for Enterprise Florida. On Monday, the agency’s CEO, Chris Hart IV, quit abruptly without much explanation. He was only on the job since January. It’s the second time in nine months that its CEO has left. … Eliminating Enterprise Florida — a quasi-private government agency created in the 1990s to serve as a commerce department — has a long way to go. Both chambers have to pass identical bills for it to pass the Legislature and end up on the governor’s desk. Even then Scott would seemingly have the last say in vetoing the idea. … Jenne said even if the Senate doesn’t take up the bill, Enterprise Florida is vulnerable. He said in a few weeks the House and Senate will start working on a 2017 budget and the House is almost certain to put no money in the budget for Enterprise Florida, regardless of whether Renner’s bill moves forward. That will set up a budget showdown that could still put a spending plan on Scott’s desk that would de-fund what Jenne called Scott’s “policy baby.” …
Another Scandal at Florida’s Privatized Development Agency
Source: Kasia Tarczynska, Clawback blog, February 28, 2014
For the followers of Enterprise Florida (EFI), another scandal at the organization should not come as a surprise. Television station CBS12 in Palm Beach discovered this week that EFI, the privatized “public-private partnership” responsible for recruiting companies to the state, has spent thousands of dollars on entertaining site selection consultants.
State-run agency accused of abusing tax payer dollars
Source: Michael Buczyner, CBS 12 NEWS, February 25 2014
CBS 12 News spent hours reviewing 20 months worth of spending at Enterprise Florida and uncovered thousands of dollars spent on sky boxes, steakhouses and at fancy hotels. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on credit cards. We weren’t provided the detail on what was purchased. Our investigation found leaders at Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development machine, spent more than $21,000 at Yankee Stadium in New York. They also paid a visit to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX where they dropped more than $7,100. The stadium tour also stopped off in Atlanta, GA for a cost of $4,400.
Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?
Source: Ben Wilcox and Dan Krassner, Integrity Florida and Americans for Prosperity, February 2013
From the abstract:
Integrity Florida, an independent ethics watchdog group, in partnership with Americans for Prosperity – Florida, released a research report titled “Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare” on February 5, 2012. The report illustrates Enterprise Florida’s apparent conflicts of interest, appearance of pay-to-play and its practice of picking of winners and losers in the marketplace.
Report calls Florida business incentives “corporate welfare’’
Source: Toluse Olorunnipa, Miami Herald, February 5, 2013
Corruption Risk Report: Enterprise Florida
Source: Ben Wilcox, Dan Krassner, Integrity Florida, May 2012
Enterprise Florida serves as the State of Florida’s official economic development organization. Our report examined Enterprise Florida’s commitment to public access to information, accountability, performance metrics and transparency….Florida received a C-minus for corruption risk on State Integrity Investigation’s Corruption Risk Report Card. On a report that graded the state for transparency and accountability, Florida had several categories with poor grades, including a D+ for Public Access to Information. The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International collaborated with experienced journalists in each state to produce the State Integrity Investigation research. Integrity Florida is using State Integrity Investigation results as a roadmap to focus our state-level research projects and as a scorecard to measure policy results.
Corruption Risk Report: Enterprise Florida