Pensacola News Journal Editorial
December 2, 2016
Florida’s incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran says our state has a spending problem, and he’s aiming to do something about it. By targeting the state’s tourism marketing arm, Visit Florida, Corcoran has found a smart target not only to cut, but also to scrutinize.
According to recent reporting from the Miami Herald, Visit Florida’s budget ballooned from roughly $29 million to more than $78 million since 2009. That’s a 169 percent increase in spending.
And what have we gotten for all that money? Well, given that Visit Florida has evaded full transparency of its marketing endeavors, we don’t really know for sure. According to the Herald, officials at Visit Florida contend that all its financial records are not public records because it receives a mix of public and private funding, as do many tourism marketing agencies throughout the state.
The Herald notes that some questionable highlights of Visit Florida’s portfolio include “paying hip-hop star Pitbull to promote the state, sponsorship of a race-car team and sponsorship of a soccer team in England.” Exactly how much of that was financed by public dollars is unknown. Even the biggest Pitbull party music fan ought to agree that if Floridians are paying the musician, we deserve to know what for and how much it’s costing us.