Sage Offutt Recognized In Governors State Of The State Speech

In his most personally felt State of the State speech so far, Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday delivered an impassioned plea for Florida’s economic development organization and business incentives targeted for elimination by the House of Representatives.

“Tourism is one of our state’s top sources of revenue, and if that declines, we will set our state on a course for either tax increases or cuts in services.  These are the facts. Getting rid of Visit Florida and ending advertising for tourism doesn’t make any sense in the real world. Successful companies know how to market themselves and they don’t stop advertising when business is good.  Coca-Cola and Chic Fil A didn’t stop running ads when they reached the top of their industry. Think about it for a minute. Do we really have to argue about how important tourism is to our economy? And do we really need a debate about whether marketing and advertising works?

Visit Florida has been responsible for recruiting record numbers of visitors – including a record of nearly 113 million last year! Will Florida still have tourists if we stop advertising?  Sure.  But we will have less.  And that means less jobs, less tax revenues, and less of everything.  When it comes to jobs, I’m for more, not less. Every 76 tourists support one Florida job, and tourism helps thousands of small businesses that rely on visitors. One of these small businesses is Sage Paddle Company started by Sage Offutt. Sage, please stand.

Sage is 14 years old and started her business when she was just 11 after moving to Navarre Beach.  Like so many Floridians, Sage loves our beaches and began paddle boarding.  But, she quickly saw a need.  The places to rent paddle boards were limited especially those that rented and delivered the boards in her area.  So, like any young entrepreneur, she purchased six boards and opened up her business!  Today, she has a fleet of 50 boards and 12 kayaks.  Sage, young entrepreneurs like you are the future of our state and we will fight for Visit Florida so we can keep helping small businesses like yours.”  Governor Rick Scott said on Tuesday in His State of the State Address to the House of Representatives.