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Lawmakers reach $50M deal on Visit Florida tourism agency

VISIT FLORIDA Photo
Posted at 9:42 AM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 09:45:30-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Legislative budget negotiators have reached a deal to extend the life of the Visit Florida tourism agency, which had been set to expire in October.

The House and Senate agreed Monday to approve $50 million for the agency and move its "sunset" date to June 30, 2020. That's lower than the $76 million Gov. Ron DeSantis requested but higher than the Republican-led House initially proposed.

Visit Florida markets tourism destinations in Florida through a variety of advertising methods, but House leaders have questioned whether it is necessary.

House lawmakers were especially unhappy when Visit Florida in 2015 secretly inked a $1 million endorsement deal with rapper Pitbull, a move many viewed as reckless spending. The agency is now under new leadership.

About 126 million tourists visited Florida last year.