Chamber Turns To Enterprise Florida To Salvage Americas Linkage Funding
Written by Eric Kalis on June 1, 2006
By Eric Kalis
As one of many victims of Gov. Jeb Bush’s budget cuts, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce will not receive $300,000 it requested from the state to fund its Americas Linkage initiative. The Legislature had approved the funding.
The program began in 2000 with intentions of expanding the area’s business into Latin America and has evolved to service Caribbean nations by supporting missions to and from both regions. Chamber delegates returned from a six-week trip to six cities in Latin America and the Caribbean in May.
Additional money is crucial, said chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Johnson, for the long-term success of Americas Linkage.
"That was the only funding we requested," Mr. Johnson said. "We are disappointed, but we never assume that we will get money until we see it. Nothing is a given until it is signed off by the governor."
The chamber is in discussions with economic development agency Enterprise Florida Inc., he said, about allocating some or all of the $300,000. Enterprise, a public-private partnership, has been accommodating to Americas Linkage endeavors in the past.
"We have received funding from Enterprise for this before," Mr. Johnson said, "so we are hopeful they can contribute again. We just have to reconfigure the program to work with Enterprise and carry out its mission."
In all, the governor cut more than $448 million from the final budget last week before signing a $73.9 billion spending plan for fiscal 2006-2007.