Tourism industry officials scrambled through the weekend to out to members of the Florida House of Representatives to get them to kill a measure that would allow small coastal counties to spend their hotel taxes on lifeguards.
"We have been in contact with several lawmakers in the House and they report a lot of positive calls from you. It's critical that you keep it up," the head of the Florida Attractions Association said in an alert to members. The association represents many small attractions around the state, but its leadership also includes executives from Orlando's giant theme parks, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, who together also employ legions of lobbyists.
"If you have a close relationship with your Representative and and have his or her cell number, please dial it," the alert adds. "Ask individuals throughout the tourism industry to do the same."
The hotel-tax provision was inserted into a broad tax-administration package (SB 1828) that passed the Senate unanimously last week. It was added at the request of Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. Background here.