Buzz: Florida House to deal Panhandle counties two big blows

The word out of Tallahassee is the House Appropriations chairman, Richard Corcoran, plans to delete from a Senate appropriations bill an amendment that would have allocated $300 million of the BP Deepwater Horizon settlement to Triumph Gulf Coast as soon as BP released the funds.

Sources tell Inweekly that Corcoran plans to hold the funds over to the 2017 legislative session so that the entire body can determine the uses for the funds. The Panhandle counties will have to compete with the rest of the state for the monies.

Under the terms of the Oil Spill Economic Recovery Act, which became law in 2011, three-fourths of the settlement money was to be an endowment to diversify the economy of coastal Northwest Florida. The Oil Spill Economic Recovery Act established Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. as a long term non-governmental endowment to manage and use the funds to diversify and strengthen our regional economy.

Corcoran wants to move the funds into the general fund for use next year.

Also this morning, legislative leaders made the decision to no longer fund incentives for Enterprise Florida. Economic development officials have told Inweekly that Enterprise Florida is currently competing for 277 projects, about half dozen in our area. Without incentives, those projects are effectively.

Enterprise Florida Inc. will be unable to financially support any ongoing, or future, local economic development projects. An estimate 50,000 new jobs may be lost.