House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, sent letters Friday to a dozen local tourism councils that have cut ties with Visit Florida, saying all 12 are under the “false presumption” that doing so would shield them from legislative oversight.

The tourism boards, in Tampa Bay, South Florida and throughout the state, expressed concern with various provisions of a new state law, championed in Tallahassee, that imposes new accountability provisions on how tourism money is spent in Florida.

“If you spend one dime of taxpayer money you will do it in a transparent and accountable way,” Corcoran told the tourism leaders, including Visit Tampa Bay and the Greater Miami Tourism and Convention Bureau. The speaker said taxpayers should be alarmed that the tourism boards “made the choice to hide from transparency rather than embrace it.”

The background on the tourism leaders’ decision can be found here. In response to Corcoran’s missive, Visit Florida spokesman Stephen Lawson said: “Visit Florida is unequivocally committed to transparency and accountability.”


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