Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Florida Governor, Legislature Agree to Spend $5M More Annually on Spring Training

Just received a press release from the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce that powerful State Senator Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, helped negotiate an agreement with Governor Rick Scott to dedicate $5 million in recurring funds each year to the "State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund for Major League Baseball Spring Training."

Given the blatant factual errors in the release, I hesitate to post any of it, but here is an excerpt:
"Spring Training Programs in Florida create significant economic impact12 months per year. Spring training does not drive our tourism economy. Every Spring Training facility in the State provides thousands of needed jobs in the communities where they are located", said Bob Clifford, President/CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber.

It is projected that spending $5 million to enhance these programs will generate approximately $750 million additional dollars for our state's economy.

Major League Baseball began spring training in Florida decades ago. As recently as 15 years ago, every Major League team held its training in Florida. This year, for the first time, less than one-half of Major League Baseball teams train in Florida.

"We must reverse this trend", said Senator Latvala, "Spring Training Programs attracted roughly 1.6 million people to baseball facilities in Florida last year alone, sixty-two percent of which were tourists from other states. Clearly these programs are worth nurturing because of the economic impact they have on our state."
Of course, there are NOT "less than one-half" of teams currently training in Florida (they are perfectly split 15/15 between the Grapefruit/Cactus).  And every major league team did NOT train in Florida 15 years ago (the Cubs haven't been there since 1916, some teams never have).

So hopefully those weren't the facts this agreement was decided on.  But last week, Governor Scott called for a plan to strengthen the Grapefruit League, which this blog pointed out did not have to include new subsidies.  But of course, it did.

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