WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Leaders Throughout Florida…

Education Leaders Applaud Governor Scott’s Historic Funding for Public Schools, State Colleges and State Universities in “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget”

Gary Chartrand, Chair of the Florida State Board of Education said, “I applaud Governor Scott’s vision and leadership with his ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget. The historic levels of state and local funding for Florida’s K-12 public education and the Florida College System will continue to solidify Florida’s reputation of having a world-class education system.”

John Padget, Vice-Chair of the Florida State Board of Education said, “Governor Scott’s education budget increases support for our professional educators, and shows his commitment to creating pathways of success for Florida’s students. Parents want their children to have the best education possible and this historic investment will ensure a bright future for Florida’s students.”

Dr. Ada Armas, Florida State Board of Education member said, “I am very pleased that Governor Scott is continuing his ongoing commitment to education with his “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.’ The historic levels of funding will provide unlimited educational opportunities for Florida’s children.”

John Colon, Florida State Board of Education member said, “It’s clear that Governor Scott believes a high quality education is directly linked to Florida’s economic prosperity. His ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ supports education priorities that will ensure students are successful at every level, prekindergarten through college.”

Nikki Lowrey, StudentsFirst Florida State Director said, “Governor Scott is truly setting himself apart as a champion for children in our public schools. Great teachers are essential to providing a great education and Governor Scott’s proposal to fund schools at historic levels, and include funding for the professional development of teachers and principals, is the kind of leadership that will result in a better education for Florida kids. We look forward to seeing more details of his proposal and how these education dollars can have the greatest impact for students in the classroom.”

Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch and Chairman of the Florida Education Foundation said, “Florida TaxWatch applauds Governor Scott for wisely investing in Florida students and our state’s public education system. I am pleased to see his support for increased professional development for principals, a priority illustrated in our new Florida TaxWatch Elite Principal Initiative, and his emphasis on performance-based funding for the Florida College System, which will help lead Florida universities to academic preeminence and fuel a diversified and healthy economy.”

Orange County Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said, “Professional development for principals and teachers is critical to attaining our goals and will ensure the success of our students. Governor Scott has shown tremendous leadership in recommending increased levels of funding for Florida’s schools and ensuring teachers and administrators have access to the support they need.”

Council of Presidents Chair and North Florida Community College President John Grosskopf said, “The Florida College System leads the nation in key indicators of student success. As a system we are committed to high standards, transparency and accountability. Performance funding reinforces these values and challenges our colleges to continue to operate efficiently and effectively as we prepare students for the 21st century economy.”

Dorina Sackman, 2014 Florida Teacher of the Year and finalist for National Teacher of the Year said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for his commitment to teachers and students. Teachers are the keys that unlock the doors to successful student learning. The governor’s recommended funding for teacher training will provide the resources we need to ensure all our children in Florida receive a high-quality education.”

Business Leaders Agree: Gov. Scott Continues to Make Florida Even More Business-friendly

Bill Herrle, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Florida said, “We applaud Governor Scott for including a corporate filing fee reduction into his budget this year. Corporate filing fees represent one of the most regressive taxes on business, hitting small businesses the hardest. This tax cut is one of NFIB’s priorities for small business this year, and will go a long way toward putting money back in the pockets of job creators. It would also encourage the creation of new businesses – this tax cut is an open invitation to struggling small business owners in states like New York to come to Florida and take advantage of our business-friendly environment.”

David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce said, “Reducing corporate filing fees is another step toward continuing to make Florida more completive and continues to cement Florida’s position as a business-friendly state. This is another step in the right direction and will encourage businesses and job creators to offer up more opportunities for Florida’s families.”

Tom Feeney, President & CEO of the Associated Industries of Florida said, “I am thankful that Governor Scott works hard every day to make Florida a business-friendly state. We look forward to working with Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to make our state the best place in the nation to do business.”

Rick McAllister, President and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation said, “We thank Governor Scott for helping Florida’s small business owners continue to grow and create jobs for our families. The fee reduction will allow retailers to invest more money in their stores and staff by cutting an expense they all face.”

Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor Scott’s Support of Springs

Eric Draper – Executive Director, Audubon Florida said, “This is a significant financial investment in protecting and restoring Florida’s springs. Governor Scott gets the importance of Florida’s unique and treasured natural resources.”

Stan McClain – Marion County Commissioner said, “We would like to thank Governor Scott for the continued support for springs not only in Marion County but the entire state. Our continuing partnership will be key to improving the water quality in our springs.”

Ann Shortelle – Suwannee River Water Management District said, “Governor Scott’s $55 million commitment will allow the Suwanee River Water Management District to continue our work to benefit the health of our springs by reducing nutrient loading and restoring flows.”

Jon Steverson – Northwest Florida Water Management District said, “Governor Scott recognizes that protecting Florida’s springs is vital to ensuring a clean supply of water not only to our natural systems, but also to our residents and businesses.”

Hans Tanzler – St. Johns River Water Management District said, “Governor Scott has made springs protection one of his highest environmental priorities. His continued support allows for further restoration of our springs.”

Robert Beltran – Southwest Florida Water Management District said, “Governor Scott’s $55 million investment will provide additional funding to help keep Florida’s springs clean and provide recharge benefits for the environment.”

Florida Sheriff’s Applaud Governor’s Commitment to Protecting Florida Children

Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward County Sheriff’s Office said, “We support the Governor’s proposal to ensure child protective investigative units are properly funded. The safety of our county’s children and families is our primary focus and the additional budget will allow us to have further resources that are vital to this important task.”

Sheriff Don Eslinger, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said, “We support Governor Scott’s budget proposal to ensure child protective investigative units are properly funded. The safety of our county’s children and families is our responsibility and obligation, and the additional budget will allow us to have further resources that are vital to this important task.”

Sheriff Brad Steube, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said, “Governor Scott’s proposed budget announcement emphasizes the importance of child protective services in our state. This funding will allow our agencies to continue the important role that we have; ensuring the safety of our children.”

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said, “I thank Governor Scott for understanding the value law enforcement brings to child protection services. These investigations are always challenging, and I am pleased that the Governor understands the importance of providing sufficient funding for all organizations that work to protect Florida’s children.”

Industry Leaders: Gov’s Historic Transportation Investment is Good for Florida

Bob Burleson, President of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) said, “Governor Scott continues to recognize the importance of a sound, well-funded transportation system to Florida’s economic growth and quality of life. FTBA applauds Governor Scott for his strong leadership in transportation.”

Doug Wheeler, President of the Florida Ports Council said, “Florida has shown the country and the world that it is prepared to capture future trade and be a leader in moving freight. We applaud the commitment and dedication by Governor Scott to strategically invest in Florida’s ports and freight infrastructure to provide jobs and economic benefits to Florida families.”

Matthew D. Ubben, President of Floridians for Better Transportation (FBT) said, “As Florida becomes the 3rd most populous state later this year, our nearly 20 million citizens, as well as its more than 90 million annual visitors, are benefitted by and deserving of the Governor’s proposal. We will advocate the Florida Legislature to advance this multi-modal transportation proposal as a final budget is passed during the legislative session. Transportation infrastructure investment is critically important to Florida’s economy as we pursue 21st Century mobility solutions.”

Mike Murtha, President of the Florida Concrete & Products Association said, “Governor Scott is to be commended for his ability to wisely invest our precious tax dollars. Each and every budget shows that the Governor’s plan for job creation wasn’t just talk; it is his leadership that has gotten our industry, as well as all of Florida, back to work.”

Ron Howse, Chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission said, “Governor Scott’s proposed budget, which fully funds the Department of Transportation’s Work Program, is further proof of his commitment to keeping Florida’s economy moving forward. His investments in the transportation system will ensure Florida is prepared to meet its transportation challenges as well as the opportunities that are coming with the widening of the Panama Canal.”

Howard Glassman, Executive Director of the Florida MPO Advisory Council said, “The Governor’s budget represents an important step in addressing the transportation needs in Florida’s metropolitan areas.”

Lisa M. Bacot, Executive Director of the Florida Public Transportation Association said, “With transit ridership soaring, and the economy well on its way to recovery, the Governor and FDOT are putting the right investments into the right places across our state by proposing to fully fund the FDOT Work Program. We look forward to working closely with FDOT and others to advance and manage cost effective, efficient and safe transportation systems and alternatives.”

Local Tourism Leaders Applaud Governor’s $100 Million Commitment to Tourism

George Aguel, President & CEO of Visit Orlando said, “Orlando will again be announcing a record number of annual visitors thanks to our partners who recognize the importance of tourism marketing and the strong cooperative efforts we enjoy with VISIT FLORIDA. Governor Scott’s commitment to increase funding for tourism marketing for our state will ensure Florida remains a leader in the global travel marketplace and a model for economic growth.”

Tracy Ward, Executive Director of Experience Kissimmee said, “We are proud to work alongside VISIT FLORIDA in mutually beneficial programs that help build on both our reputations to satisfy travelers’ aspirational vacation dreams. We look forward to having even more opportunities to consider with Governor Scott’s increased budget proposal. Partnerships with VISIT FLORIDA have enabled us to leverage our marketing dollars to gain greater reach in key markets domestically and, most recently, in growing International markets that are an important focus for the Kissimmee destination.”

Dan Rowe, President & CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “Our ability to leverage VISIT FLORIDA’s cost-effective marketing programs, especially those in emerging international markets that we otherwise would not have access to, is a central component of our success. The increased funding Governor Scott is recommending for VISIT FLORIDA will allow us to have a consistent message in the marketplace all year round.”

Jack Wert, Executive Director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “Our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA enables us to expand our destination marketing budget and reach. Governor Scott’s increase in funding for VISIT FLORIDA will mean even more co-op opportunities and more visitors for us and for our fellow destination marketing organizations throughout Florida. We participate in numerous VISIT FLORIDA co-op advertising and trade show opportunities that place our destination brand message in places we could not afford to do on our own. Our annual investment in VISIT FLORIDA brings us both excellent results and ROI. In 2013, we saw a return of over $100 in visitor spending for each dollar invested in marketing and a 6% increase in visitors.”

Gil Langley, President & CEO of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “Our success is directly attributable to the programs offered by VISIT LORIDA. The additional programming made possible by this funding will allow us to host more visitors and create more jobs in Nassau County.”

Tamara Pigott, Executive Director of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel said, “Governor Scott’s historic proposed funding for VISIT FLORIDA is an investment in Florida’s communities and their futures. We applaud this important strategy that is strengthening both our state and local economies, as we have seen strong growth as a direct result of the VISIT FLORIDA marketing budget increase. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel experienced record growth this past calendar year and anticipates breaking more records in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA.”

Lee Daniel, Executive Director of Visit Tallahassee said, “The cooperative opportunities presented by VISIT FLORIDA are extremely important to our advertising, direct sales, public relations, social media and promotions efforts. In addition, the funding proposed by Governor Scott will allow VISIT FLORIDA to sustain important existing markets for Florida and develop new ones. All destinations in the state will benefit and enjoy increased economic development through tourism.”

Paul Astleford, President and CEO of Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches said, “The economic impact of the visitor and tourist industry is important to cities throughout Northeast Florida. Governor Scott’s additional funding for VISIT FLORIDA to attract more visitors to our cities translates into jobs and a more dynamic economy – which is great for the Jacksonville area and the entire state.”

Richard Goldman, Executive Director of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau said, “We will be able to offer our lodging and attraction partners more affordable co-op advertising opportunities with Governor Scott’s increased VISIT FLORIDA funding. That growth, along with our own marketing efforts, has had a positive impact on the number of visitors who spend their vacation dollars and enjoy the hospitality of Florida’s Historic Coast.”

Jorge Pesquera, President & CEO of Discover Palm Beach County said, “Governor Scott’s proposed increase in funding is great news for the future of tourism in our state The Palm Beaches have seen an unprecedented pace of tourism growth over these past couple of years. Their investment in getting the national and international markets to include Florida in their travel plans makes a huge difference.”

Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit Tampa Bay said, “Visit Tampa Bay’s partnership with VISIT FLORIDA is strengthened by the Governor’s commitment to tourism. His dedication to providing meaningful resources allows us the opportunity to leverage our marketing dollars and reach a broader market both nationally and internationally as well as spark a desire for visiting Tampa Bay.”

Nicki Grossman, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “Governor Scott is right. More funds means more opportunity to spread our branding messages and continue to make Florida a top destination for travelers from around the world. We have been welcoming record breaking numbers of visitors to the Sunshine State over the last few years, but without critical VISIT FLORIDA dollars for marketing, advertising and promotions our successes would not have been as substantial.”

DT Minich, Executive Director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater said, “As the top tourist destination on the Gulf of Mexico, we find great value in several partnership programs offered by VISIT FLORIDA. It’s programs like these, and funding like what Governor Scott has proposed, that help us do our part in hitting the 100 million visitor mark that Governor Scott has set for the state as a whole.”

Virginia Haley, President of Visit Sarasota County said, “Over the past several years, the opportunities available to us through VISIT FLORIDA have proven to show an excellent return on investment. Governor Scott’s increased funding to VISIT FLORIDA will mean that they will be able to provide us with more opportunities to reach our target markets in ways that we would not be able to do on our own.”

Steve Hayes, President of Visit Pensacola said, “Tourism is the backbone of our state and the Governor Scott’s recommended increase in tourism funding for VISIT FLORIDA gives them the ability to showcase the state, especially in the worldwide competitive tourism landscape. Additionally, our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA allows us to leverage dollars for marketing opportunities not only with the state but other cooperative programs. In FY 2013 our destination saw an increase in not only our TDT collections but in our occupancy and ADR. We are looking forward to more opportunities with VISIT FLORIDA in 2014.”

Business Leaders: Gov. Scott $100 Million Tourism Investment Good for Florida

Tammy Gustafson, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Director of National & Group Sales with Universal Orlando Resort said, “Florida tourism experienced record years in 2011 and 2012 and, when the numbers come out in a few weeks, we fully expect that 2013 will top it. With the additional funding for tourism marketing that Governor Scott has proposed, VISIT FLORIDA and its nearly 12,000 industry partners across the state will be able to continue that strong momentum to further increase visitation.”

Andrew Hertz, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and General Manager of the Miami Seaquarium said, “Given today’s global travel marketplace, VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing budget must be able to compete with those of other destinations and even entire countries. Governor Scott clearly recognizes that every dollar the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA will be leveraged by our tourism industry partners who participate in destination marketing programs that provide a 2-1 return on investment.”

Ed Fouché, Two-Time Past VISIT FLORIDA Chair and Senior Vice President of Travel Industry Sales for Disney Destinations said, “This record funding is crucial to providing the tourism industry with the resources we need to share Florida’s great tourism destinations with visitors around the world. With the strength of Florida’s image as a family-friendly destination and the continued support of Governor Scott, we are well on the way to achieving our shared goal of welcoming more than 100 million visitors next year.”

Terry Prather, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Finance Committee and President of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said, “Governor Scott’s recommendation to increase VISIT FLORIDA funding is a wise investment in Florida’s economic growth. VISIT FLORIDA advertising efforts have proven to deliver an immediate return for the state, generating $390 in new spending and $23 in new sales taxes for every $1 invested.”

Bill Talbert, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Marketing Council Steering Committee and President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “The increased funding for VISIT FLORIDA that Governor Scott has requested will be a catalyst for generating new visitors, increasing visitor spending and creating jobs for Floridians. Travel industry jobs not only provide workers with family-sustaining wages, but they also offer valuable skills that develop into rewarding careers.”

Bill Lupfer, VISIT FLORIDA Chair of Public Affairs and President & CEO of the Florida Attractions Association said, “The hospitality industry has led the state in job creation for 44 straight months and now employs nearly 1.1 million Floridians. If the legislature passes a budget that increases tourism marketing funding at the level Governor Scott has recommended, VISIT FLORIDA will be able to attract more visitors and provide stable jobs that improve the income of nearly one in nine working Floridians.”

Carol Dover, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association said, “As tourism and hospitality industry leaders in the state of Florida, we are committed to Governor Scott’s vision of bringing 100 million visitors to Florida this year. These additional resources will allow VISIT FLORIDA to share with a national and internal audience all that the Sunshine State has to offer. We are proud to partner with VISIT FLORIDA on many of these projects that are not only bringing tourists to the state, but also providing much needed jobs here at home.”

Mark Wilson, President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce said, “Florida’s tourism industry is an essential part of our state’s growing economy. With tourism on track for another record breaking year of positive gains, Floridians are seeing a significant return on their investments. The Florida Chamber commends Governor Scott for his commitment to Florida’s tourism industry.”

Rick McAllister, President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation said, “Florida’s tourism industry has been hard at work to bring visitors to the Sunshine State. The leadership shown by Governor Scott will ensure Florida’s great tourism destinations are shared with visitors across the nation and around the world.”

John Sebree, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the Florida Association of Realtors said, “Governor Scott understands that increased funding for VISIT FLORIDA will result in increased tourism and increased jobs. Both of those things go hand in hand with the strength of our real estate market. In fact, many visitors decide to buy a Florida property and that, in turn, creates an even greater number of tourists. We have heard that the purchase of a home by someone outside Florida can create an additional 25 round trip flights per year and countless additional hotel nights for family and friends who then visit our beautiful state.”

Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority said, “The Governor’s announcement today emphasizes the importance of tourism to the Central Florida economy. The addition of a single new international route can generate $100 million annually in economic impact and create more than 1,000 jobs.”

Business Leaders: Governor Scott’s Plan to Roll Back Car Fees Good for Florida Families

Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce said, “The Florida Chamber congratulates Governor Scott for working to relieve Florida’s families and job creators of $500 million in tax savings. For the third consecutive year, Governor Scott is building on his targeted tax reform efforts and is making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation and economic growth.”

Bill Herrle, Executive Director of NFIB Florida said, “Governor Scott’s announcement today to roll back fees on cars adds to his sterling record of tax cuts for Florida’s families and businesses.”

Rick McAllister, President and CEO of Florida Retail Federation said, “Florida’s economy is growing for Florida’s families and business because of Governor Scott’s policies to cut taxes and grow jobs.”

Tom Feeney, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida said, “Associated Industries of Florida has a long history of working toward a tax system that supports Florida businesses, helps them expand and creates jobs. Governor Scott’s plan to roll back taxes and fees will put money back into the pockets of Florida employers and families, fueling our economic growth. A tax climate that is friendly to our businesses and citizens will help Florida’s economy prosper. On behalf of our state’s business community and members, we commend Governor Scott for taking another step to push Florida forward.”

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said: “By targeting tax cuts, Governor Rick Scott is putting money back in the hands of families across Florida, the very people who make our state a wonderful place to live, work and play. We applaud his efforts to roll back taxes and fees.”

State Leaders: Governor Scott’s Budget is Good for Businesses and Florida Families

Happy Paws Pet Resort Owner and Vice-President Karina Pastrana said, “Our business opened in 2008. A critical economic time. During these last couple years we have tried to save where we could to invest in the business. With these savings from the tax cut we hope to continue to create jobs , while paying off our current debt.”

JFH Technologies Owner and President James Harhi said, “It is imperative that our state continues to invest in our human resources. Gov. Scott’s initiatives to increase funding for employee training will provide a stronger workforce and spur growth for small businesses.”

City of Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz said, “With over 90 million visitors arriving to the Sunshine state and a population of over 19 million residents, working together with the legislature to ensure the safety of our communities is our top priority. I applaud Governor Scott for taking the steps to ensure we continue to live, work and play in safe communities. Florida is demonstrating to the world that it is the perfect place to get an education, job and raise a family”.

City of Longwood Commissioner Bob Cortes said, “Opportunity is the key when trying to reach their version of the American Dream. This “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” will enable all Floridians to have the opportunity through a good education and job, and continue to make Florida a great place to live and work. With this proposed budget, Governor Scott demonstrates he’s committed to Florida families.”

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Jr. said, “As more businesses continue to move and expand in Florida, more jobs are being created. Governor Scott’s support of a business-friendly environment in the Sunshine state provides Florida families with an opportunity to reach their American Dream.”

Miami-County Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa said, “By putting $500 million back in the pockets of Florida families, Governor Scott continues to demonstrate his commitment to creating an opportunity economy for Florida families in the Sunshine state. With more jobs being created and unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent, Floridians can continue to have an active role in Florida’s turnaround story.”

Power Grid Engineering Co-owner Andrés Uribe said, “I’m on board with Governor Scott’s new STEM workforce training initiative. Promoting high tech type jobs is crucial for Florida’s growing economy.”

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando President Diana Bolivar said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott for continuing his focus on job creation in Florida. The ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ puts money back into the bank accounts of Florida families and helps create an environment where our private-sector can grow.”


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