With the capture and deaths of some American soldiers over the weekend, Floridians are bracing for the possibility of a prolonged war. One of the sharpest effects we could feel here at home is on the state's tourism-dependent economy. Lawmakers are preparing to dip into the state's emergency money supply if the economy takes a nose dive.
Tom Smith collects unpaid bills for a living, so a downturn in the economy could be good for him. Still he worries a lengthy war could hit Florida right in the pocketbook.
Tourism is the main engine driving the state's economy and people just don't travel as much in wartime.
But Senate President Jim King worries this is just the beginning of a war that could eat away at Florida’s finances.
Florida is fortunate when compared to other states in that we have a $3 billion dollar budget reserve. Gov. Jeb Bush wants to tap into that reserve to create a $40 million contingency fund to help prop up the state's economy should it worsen.
Just the threat of war has already cost the state nearly $350 million in projected revenue growth. If the legislature approves Jeb Bush's proposed $40 million contingency fund, $10 to $20 million would go toward promoting tourism in Florida. Florida's tourism agency Visit Florida just began a survey Monday to keep track of tourist numbers and whether they are impacted by war.