As Florida Legislature Prepares to Convene, City Prepares for Revenue

As Florida Legislature Prepares to Convene, City Prepares for Revenue
Posted at 5:10 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 13:09:10-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - March 7th, the Florida legislature will convene for 2017.

For 60 days, law makers and their staff will flood into town to work and spend money in the capital city.

"When session is in, the town fills up with visitors," said Al Latimer, director of the Office of Economic Vitality. "We love it, and wish we could do this 5 times a year."

A nice plan in theory because that means more money coming to Tallahassee, but that's during a normal year.

In 2016, during a presidential election, session was moved to January. That meant about 700,000 visitors came to town, spending dollars and increasing local profits for businesses.

This year the 60 day session slides back to it's natural spot in March, which could mean a huge economic windfall for the area.

"We have definitely seen that when session is in March and April it is definitely more attended by the lobbyists and the associations," said Bo Schmitz, manager at the Four Points by Sheraton in town. "So it's definitely, we anticipate it to be busier than it was last year.

According to the Office of Economic Vitality, the economic impact in 2016 was $256 million dollars. Not bad, but this year businesses are expecting more.

"We definitely get probably I would say double the amount of business during the days especially, we have more deliveries around town there's just so much foot traffic down here that we get a ton of business which is really great," said Caitlin Dunn, a sushi chef at Jasmine Cafe.

As session nears, downtown businesses are getting ready with anticipation.

"We've actually prepared by adding on more staff during that time and also running different specials," said Shamiya Sands, a Starbucks shift manager.

More staff and specials at Starbucks and other businesses downtown all designed to get folks to spend money in the state capital.

To give you an example of the economic impact overall, according to the Four Points by Sheraton, their business increases 10 to 20 percent during session.