$7,500 to lobbyists? | SoWal Forum - South Walton Florida
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scooterbug44

SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
16,736
3,327
Sowal
From the Walton Sun:
The commissioners agreed to pay $7,500 for lobbyists to support the U.S. House version of the RESTORE Act, which will allow Gulf states to spend BP money on economic development in addition to environmental projects.

Why is this something we are spending money on? Aren't our elected reps already supposed to be spearheading this legislation and garnering support?

All of the environmental projects I have heard so far are also job creators and designed to increase visitors and revenue. Why do we need another category that possibly opens the door to BP monies being used for pet projects instead of fixing and combating the environmental damage?

Not to mention I am a little concerned about what the usual suspects can finagle under this heading. The local environment needs this money far more than we need a TDC Taj Mahal.
 

Jim Tucker

Beach Fanatic
Jul 12, 2005
935
356
From the Walton Sun:


Why is this something we are spending money on? Aren't our elected reps already supposed to be spearheading this legislation and garnering support?

All of the environmental projects I have heard so far are also job creators and designed to increase visitors and revenue. Why do we need another category that possibly opens the door to BP monies being used for pet projects instead of fixing and combating the environmental damage?

Not to mention I am a little concerned about what the usual suspects can finagle under this heading. The local environment needs this money far more than we need a TDC Taj Mahal.

Lobbying is the name of the game. It is at the foundation of our politics now for better (doubtful) or worse. Have no illusions, you have to spend money to get money. Most local officials don't have the time, knowledge, or connections to get what they want from the state or federal governments.

Apparently the BP funds were setup as different buckets with specific uses and guidelines. I am not saying you are wrong as to what money should have been spent on but at this point it's just noise because those guidelines were put in place awhile ago. No offense but you sound ignorant of the big picture.

I'm not sure the TDC is on the right track or not. I don't feel the need to judge, praise, or throw stiones. I'll leave that up to the resorts who are paying their salaries. The act in question in your quote is not related to building a visitors' center and characterizing it as a Taj Mahal is ridiculous since they are still in the stage of acquiring land and planning. Unless you know something we don't, then please share. It sounds like you have a bur in your saddle. Did you work for the TDC?
 

scooterbug44

SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
16,736
3,327
Sowal
I'm not talking about local officials (though we do pay them additional monies to lobby for us), I am talking about Senators and Congressman.
 

Mango

SoWal Insider
Apr 7, 2006
9,712
1,360
New York/ Santa Rosa Beach
It looks like our area Congressman are sponsoring the Bill. Looks like the Bill is written to use BP fines for economic development on both a federal and local level, if I am understanding correctly:

Under provisions of the House bill, 35 percent of the funds would be divided among the five Gulf states.
The bill also would make 30 percent of the money received available for “development and implementation of a comprehensive restoration plan,” according to a news release issued Wednesday.
The bill envisions the plan to be formulated and money allocated by a council composed of federal and state officials.
It calls for another 30 percent of funds to be allocated through an “impact driven formula” and disbursed “according to plans submitted by the Gulf Coast states and approved by the council.”
The final 5 percent of the funds would go toward establishing an endowment and centers of excellence to advance science and technology in the Gulf region.
Miller said last week that he wasn’t sure the Senate bill, which has passed out of one committee, would get anywhere in a chamber clogged by partisan politics. He repeated that opinion Wednesday.
“I don’t know if they could pass a resolution on Mother’s Day right now,” he said.
Miller said the House version “has a better chance of passing the House than the Senate bill would” because of the economic provisions included.
Under legislation sponsored by state Sen. Don Gaetz, 75 percent of whatever of BP’s fines that make it to Florida will go Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Wakulla and Franklin counties.

Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/sign-97410-washington-act.html#ixzz1dQ4x8jto

HOWEVER, based on this article, it looks like Florida’s Great Northwest was responsible for economic development on a Federal level, as well as allocating funds to each County for use.

Based on last year's rental performance of a banner year, I'd say they did a heck of a job. Aside from allowing Counties to use the money to promote fisheries, for example, I'm not sure why they don't leave well enough alone and let the Florida’s Great Northwest team keep doing their job. It seems a much more efficient way of a means to an end.

Scott said he thought the BP funds allocated to Northwest Florida counties and tourist development councils were spent well.
“They’ve spent the money effectively because the tourism has really come back,” he said.
He mentioned the record bed taxes collected this tourist season.
Helms also mentioned to out-of-state guests that an additional $10 million in state economic development funds are available for the region this year for recovery from the oil spill.

Read more: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/region-44456-sandestin-funds.html#ixzz1dQ6nId3b

So, unsure why the Counties feel the need to lobby themselves when Florida's Great Northwest did such a bang up job as evidenced by record breaking bed taxes.


 
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greenteafreak

Beach Crab
Mar 27, 2008
2
0
RESTORE Act

I believe the Senate version of this bill stresses the money be used for habitat restoration, the House version added the economic. I'd like to see all the monies go to habitat restoration myself.
 

Andy A

Beach Fanatic
Feb 28, 2007
4,403
1,730
Blue Mountain Beach
As Jim45 said, lobbying is a part of the political spectrum and despite what many think, not all of it is bad. The best arguments we can put forth for the proposed funds, the better. And despite your feelings SB44, there are other needs in the area besides environmental ones.
 

scooterbug44

SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
16,736
3,327
Sowal
The money in question is fines for destroying the environment. I think that money should be put to use as intended - to ameliorate the damage. Doing that creates jobs and helps the local economy.

Taking that money and using it for other things has the opposite effect.

Plus I find it hard to believe that $7,500 in lobbying on a national issue can have much effect. We can't even take a survey for that price.
 
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