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Senate increases proposal for tourism spending

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(AP photo by J. Pat Carter)

The Senate has matched the House in offering $76 million for state tourism marketing next fiscal year.

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said Thursday the Senate has boosted funding for Visit Florida from an initial $50 million proposal after receiving revised tax-revenue projections last week.

“We were very fortunate to receive a favorable number from the estimating conference,” Negron said.

Estimates for state revenue collections were increased last Friday by about $462 million, including $181 million this year and $280.5 million for the fiscal year that will start July 1.

At $76 million, funding for the public-private Visit Florida would remain the same as during the current fiscal year.

Gov. Rick Scott has sought an increase to $100 million for next fiscal year.

Scott was expected to announce the state’s 2017 tourism numbers during a series of stops across the state on Thursday.

But his schedule was revamped because of the mass shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.