TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — First class flights and pricey snacks: That’s what your tax dollars bought.
In our episode of What’s Brewing on YouTube last week, 10 Investigates reporter Jenna Bourne exposed Space Florida’s questionable entertainment and travel spending on your dime.
Now we’ve learned the state legislature is taking action.
Space Florida is a 15-year-old subdivision of the state that promotes the growth of Florida’s aerospace industry.
The Florida Auditor General’s Office called out some of Space Florida’s questionable entertainment and travel spending in a November 2021 audit.
The Auditor General report also flagged thousands of dollars spent on snacks and drinks.
That included $50-a-head time-sensitive plated lunches, even though the max state law allows them to spend on lunch is $11.
It also included coffee that cost $96 per gallon and cookies that cost $64 per dozen.
The government watchdog report also flagged Space Florida’s travel spending.
They found, on 10 international trips, Space Florida executives didn’t fly economy; they flew first and business class.
State law requires them to use the most “economical” means of travel.
Those 10 international flights cost taxpayers $62,520.
Now, the state legislature has added a proposed amendment to state law to limit Space Florida’s spending on entertainment and travel.
For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Space Florida’s travel and entertainment expenses would be limited to 4 percent of its funding from the legislature.
It would also cap lodging expenses for board members, staff and employees at $150 per day, with limited exceptions.
If approved, Space Florida would also have to submit new information in its annual report about its expenses and report the corrective actions it’s taking to address the problems we told you about last week.