Orlando, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced he has signed House Bill 7095 which creates the Sports Development Program, establishing a process for distributing state tax revenue for the construction or improvement of professional sports franchise facilities.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to support this legislation, and this Sports Development Program will allow franchises to expand in Florida, and create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families. This program will not only create more jobs for Florida, but it will increase tourism in our state. Last year we experienced a record number of tourists to our state. This year we set a goal of 100 million visitors, and I am proud to support this program that will help further that goal.”
These projects must be evaluated and recommended by the Department of Economic Opportunity, and distributions must be approved by the Legislature. The state may award up to $13 million annually for all certified applicants. The maximum annual distribution for a single sports franchise facility is $3 million, and distributions can be made for up to 30 years. This bill also increases the annual distribution of state sales and use tax available to a spring training facility and decreases the number of years the distribution will be made without changing the total number of funds available for distribution.
Senator Garrett Richter, President Pro-Tempore said, “Increasing the development opportunities of professional sports facilities will continue to make Florida’s tourism industry one of the strongest in the country. I am proud of Governor Scott for signing this significant legislation.”
Senator Andy Gardiner, President-Designate said, “Professional sports franchises have a tremendous impact on Florida’s economy. I am proud to support this legislation with Governor Scott and look forward to seeing a positive impact on tourism in Florida.”
Representative Steve Crisafulli, Speaker-Designate, said, “I applaud Governor Scott for signing House Bill 7095 into law today. This legislation will create a fair and transparent process for allowing sporting franchises to request funds to expand or develop their facilities, while being strong community partners by creating economic opportunities in communities throughout our state. With strong accountability measures to protect taxpayers’ hard-earned money, this legislation requires franchises to create the jobs and tax revenue they promise, or they must return any taxpayer funds they receive.”
Senator Jack Latvala said, “The tourism industry is incredibly important to Florida’s ongoing economic recovery. I commend Governor Scott for signing this legislation that will continue to advance this industry and provide jobs for many Floridians across the state.”
Senator Dorothy Hukill said, “I thank Governor Scott for signing this legislation today to benefit families in our state. Improving our sports facilities will provide entertainment for both Floridians and visitors, and increase opportunities for growth for Florida businesses.”
Senator John Thrasher said, “The creation of the Sports Development Program will provide professional sports franchises with the support they need to build and improve throughout our state, which will also build and improve businesses and jobs. Governor Scott has once again proven his commitment to building up Florida’s economy.”
Senator Wilton Simpson said, “This legislation will continue our efforts to make Florida the most visitor-friendly state by helping develop top-notch sporting facilities. I am proud to join the governor and my fellow legislative members in passing this legislation today.”
Representative Marti Coley, Speaker Pro Tempore, said, “The Sports Development Program created by this legislation will provide growth opportunities for Florida’s professional sports franchises, but more importantly this program will ultimately provide more job opportunities for families across the state. I am proud to join the governor in supporting this exciting legislation.”
Representative Jimmy Patronis said, “By requiring projects be evaluated and recommended by the Department of Economic Opportunity and approved by the Legislature, only the best projects will receive state tax revenue. I applaud Governor Scott for passing this responsible legislation that will also create jobs for Florida families.”
Representative Doug Holder said, “The signing of this legislation by Governor Scott is great news for Florida families. As our sports and entertainment industries grow, so do our opportunities for economic growth and development.”
Representative Ed Hooper said, “Tourism is a leader of economic growth and job creation in Florida, and the development of our professional sports franchise facilities will bring even more visitors to our state. By signing this legislation, Governor Scott is continuing his commitment to provide every Floridian with the opportunity for success.”
Source: Rick Scott Press Office