BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Local tourism and business leaders are upset over a proposal that would significantly change the way counties collect and spend bed tax money.

A lot of it has to do with funding the state’s Visit Florida tourism agency. Bay County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Dan Rowe said the proposed committee bill under consideration in Tallahassee would be devastating to Bay County’s tourism industry.

“Would fundamentally change how destination marketing organizations and Visit Florida operate and it really does have some very fundamental changes to that operation that could be very detrimental,” Rowe said.

If approved, the legislation would require TDCs to pay a percentage of their bed tax collections to the state. 2% for rural counties and 5% for urban counties.

That money would fund Visit Florida. It would end up costing Bay County’s TDC about $2 million dollars a year.

“Our entire beachfront renourishment program is funded by the tourist development tax, those dollars would go away, but the county would still be responsible for maintaining our beach and any local cost shares for future renourishment projects,” Rowe said. “The TDC also funds $2 million a year in public safety, those dollars would go away.”

But there’s more to this bill than taking money from each county.

“It restricts what Visit Florida can do, that to communities like ours that only 25% of the dollars can be expended to support communities like us and we’re also lumped in with communities like Miami and Orlando, the large destinations so our voice could get lost because of the dollars that we spend, of that $2 million that we send up there, only $500,000 to be used for a community of our size,” Rowe said.

Visit Florida would be required to spend 75% of its money on activities, services, functions, and programs that assist state parks, state forests, and rural counties, which include Gulf, Franklin, Holmes, Calhoun, Jackson, Liberty, Washington, and Walton.

“We think that pushing all of these dollars out to rural counties doesn’t make any sense when it’s the other the larger counties, on all the counties with tourism product, we’re the ones that are driving Florida’s economy,” Rowe said.

Late Monday afternoon, the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce came out against the entire bill.

The bill would require voters to renew their tourist development tax districts every six years.

Visit Florida gave grants to Bay County after Hurricane Michael. Rowe said this legislation would eliminate those kinds of resources.

The full text of the bill can be found here. Below is a list of representatives on the subcommittee in case you would like to call in favor or against the proposed bill.