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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida House on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow counties to spend so-called “bed” tax money on efforts to combat flooding, despite concerns from the tourism industry that the change would reduce marketing dollars.

The House voted 114-2 to approve the measure (HB 1429), sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs.

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The bill would expand the allowed uses of tourist-development taxes to include flooding-related projects, with Avila and other supporters pointing to concerns about sea-level rise.

Under current law, counties are allowed to collect the taxes on such things as hotel stays and use the money for a variety of purposes, including tourism promotion and advertising, beach improvements and convention center and stadium projects.

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As the bill moved through committees, representatives of the tourism industry raised concerns that paying for flooding-related projects could divert money from tourism promotion and advertising.

Rep. Kamia Brown, D-Ocoee, and Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, were the only House members who voted against the bill Wednesday.

A Senate version (SB 2008), sponsored by Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, has been stalled in committees.

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