Florida is expected to have more than $1 billion in the bank that it did not expect to collect for the current budget year. Hurricane rebuilding is expected to add even more, but some blips on the horizon are causing concern.
New estimates show Florida is flush with cash, more than $1 billion, thanks to a strengthening economy. Gov. Jeb Bush says he is already hearing pleas for the money.
“For every extra dollar that is anticipated to come in to the coffers will be $5 worth of wishes."
One hand being held out is tourism. It wants $14 million, and a half million dollars now. The reason, according to state tourism official Tom Flanigan, is that research shows the summer of hurricanes is scaring visitors away, perhaps for good.
“The whole idea of being to mitigate the impact of this year’s storms on next year’s hurricane season when it comes to both the consumer visitor market and also the meetings and convention market."
The state tourism group known as visit “Visit Florida” also wants to spend a quarter million dollars setting up a webcam network so meeting planners can ease their fears by seeing real time photos of the state.
“We are looking at upwards of 100 webcams statewide."
Besides tourism, the hurricanes have some retailers seeing heartburn on the horizon. Floridians took more than $1.2 billion out of there bank accounts to pay hurricane deductibles this year, and there is a growing concern among retailers that that’s money they won’t have to spend this Christmas.
So while cash continues to flow into the state’s bank account, the state may also start seeing less revenue from tourists, meeting planners and perhaps even Christmas sales.