Status of Florida Space Legislation

space_florida_logoTALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 24, 2015 (FSDC PR) – Space Florida’s budget is in play during the ongoing Legislative Session in Tallahassee. The agency typically receives $10 million for its operations, which the House has budgeted, but the Senate offers only $8 million this year. Furthermore, the Senate’s budget language would prohibit any spending on the Shiloh launch site  until after an FAA environmental impact report is issued, vetted by Florida’s environmental agency, and a summary shared with the Cabinet and legislative leadership.

Another Senate amendent seeks to prohibit Space Florida spending for the operation of federal spaceport assets without first being reviewed by the state’s military support organizations to ensure the infrastructure will be available for military purposes. Also, the Senate would take an additional $2 million from Space Florida’s operating budget to fund Cecil Spaceport infrastructure. The House would fund the Cecil investments at the same amount, but without earmarking it from within Space Florida’s budget.

Meanwhile, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University program for high-school based Aerospace Institutes would receive $3 million in the House budget and $6.5 million in the Senate’s. And a Florida Tech space research institute would receive $2.5 million in the Senate’s budget.

FSDC 2015 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SPACE ISSUES
ISSUE/BILLHOUSE STATUSSENATE STATUSCOMMENTS*
Space Florida Ops Budget ($10M)Included in House Trans. and Econ. Development (TED) Appropriations budgetSenate budget includes $4M recurring & $4M nonrecurring, for a total of $8MIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request, with $4M of recurring funding and $6M non-recurring. Senate budget seeks a 20% cut to Space Florida’s longtime budget amount.
Space Florida Financing/
Investment Fund
$5 million included in House TED budgetNot included in the Senate budget
Provided in 2014 but not included in Gov. Scott’s 2015 request. May be a legislative priority.
Space Transportation
Infrastructure Funding
“TIP” program funded at $15M in 2014 within FDOT budget allocation. Status unclear for 2015.
Shuttle Landing Facility Transition ($2.5M)Proviso earmark of $2.5M in 2014, and intended for two years by sponsoring legislators. Status unclear for 2015.
Cecil Spaceport Infrastructure ($2 Million)Included in House budgetIncluded in Senate budget, but earmarked from Space Florida’s operating budget.Not included in Gov. Scott’s request, but budgeted by House and Senate, same amount as last year.
Space Industry Tourism Funding ($1.5M)Included in House TED budgetIncluded in Senate budgetIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding for coordination with VISIT Florida to support tourism attractions and space tourism flight business.
Florida/Israel Joint Aerospace Development ($1M)Included in House TED budgetIncluded in Senate budgetIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding of joint aerospace projects with Space Florida and Israel.
Qualified Defense/Space
Contractor Tax Refund
EDTS package extends application period thru 2017, local govt must pay 20%Incentive program requires statutory change to renew application window for companies to qualify for refunds.
Quick Response Training (QRT) Incentive
Supported in 2014 by Gov. Scott. Status unclear for 2015.
Embry-Riddle high school aerospace academies $3M budgeted
$6.5M budgetedSupported by Gov. Scott in 2014 as a recurring budget item to support/expand network of high school aerospace academies. $3M was approved in 2014.
Florida Tech space research institute
$2.5 million budgetedSimilar to a request from last year ($500K approved) and from 2013 ($2M vetoed).

* Note: Most budget items are subject to the Governor’s line-item veto authority.