House Select Committee on Government Reorganization approved two proposals that create a $400-million State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund. The trust fund is created from the merger of various economic development trust funds, Florida housing trust funds, and the State Transportation Trust Fund. By the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year, the new trust fund will contain more than $400 million in tax revenues, although the vast majority of funds will not shift into the new trust fund until the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year. The trust fund will be used for five principal purposes:
- Transportation facilities that meet a strategic and essential economic development state interest
- Affordable housing programs and projects
- Economic development incentives for job creation
- Workforce training associated with locating a new business or expanding an existing business
- Tourism promotion and marketing services and programs
The select committee also discussed a proposal to create a new Department of Economic Opportunity, headed by a commissioner appointed by the governor. The department would be created by merging the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED), the Agency for Workforce Innovation, and the Department of Community Affairs. The department would contain four divisions: strategic business development, community planning and development, workforce services, and finance and administration. The broad goals of the department include promoting community revitalization and affordable housing, assisting with the coordination of community planning and development, and developing a strategic plan to recruit new businesses and expand and retain businesses in the state. The proposal also would create a single public-private partnership to promote economic development, merging the Florida Sports Foundation, VISIT Florida, and the Florida Black Business Investment Board into Enterprise Florida, Inc.