Legislature Lowers Cost of Doing Business and Supports 25 Florida Chamber Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Edie Ousley
850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Tallahassee, FL (March 9, 2012) – Despite a $2 billion budget gap, the challenges of redistricting, election year politics and the distraction of the attempted expansion of Las Vegas-style casino gambling, lawmakers furthered the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s goal of securing Florida’s future by ending the 2012 Legislative Session without a single new tax, higher fee, new regulation or union-backed mandate.

Building on an aggressive multi-year jobs agenda, the Florida Legislature supported 25 Florida Chamber-backed pro-business, pro-jobs bills – further reducing the cost of doing business, the number of burdensome regulations for Florida’s job creators and reforming Florida’s fraudulent auto insurance (PIP) system.

“During a year in which lawmakers faced many distractions, the Florida Legislature ended session without a single new tax, higher fee, new regulation or union-backed mandate,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While passing more issues than expected, there is still more work to be done. Unfortunately, the Florida Senate missed important opportunities to help Florida improve on its 42nd worst legal climate ranking and refused to vote on lowering workers’ compensation rates by 2.5 percent on job creators.”

Lawmakers reduced the pending $817 million tax increase on Florida businesses by passing a Florida Chamber-backed unemployment compensation tax reform bill and eliminating more than 270 outdated and burdensome rules and regulations.

“Businesses throughout Florida have been facing an $817 million unemployment tax increase,” said Anthony Connelly, Florida Chamber Board of Directors Chair and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. “The Florida Chamber’s efforts on unemployment compensation tax reform will save Florida’s business community nearly $550 million over two years.”

As the voice of business in Florida, the Florida Chamber entered the 2012 Legislative Session by encouraging lawmakers to build on efforts to transition Florida to an innovation-based economy and put the long-term health of Florida ahead of short-term politics. The Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs, Where We Stand, served as a roadmap to securing Florida’s future.

“With the conclusion of the regular session, we continue to focus our attention to the 2012 election cycle by evaluating each legislator’s grade on our report card, interviewing nearly every House and Senate candidate and fundraising to elect pro-business candidates,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Operations for the Florida Chamber.

The Florida Chamber will soon release its annual How They Voted publication – a Legislative Report Card that grades each member of the Florida Legislature on their pro-jobs, pro-business legislative action.

The next stop for Florida Chamber-backed legislation is Governor Rick Scott’s desk. The Florida Chamber looks forward to working with Governor Scott to ensure these jobs bills are signed into law.

The Florida Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Summary provides a more comprehensive list of Florida Chamber bills supported by lawmakers. For more details, visit www.FloridaChamber.com.

Highlights of Florida Chamber-backed victories include:

  • Florida Virtual School – HB 7063 by Rep. Stargel & Sen. Gardiner
  • Higher Education – SB 1366 by Sen. Gaetz
  • Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – HB 859 by Rep. Corcoran & Sen. Benacquisto
  • Freight Mobility Development – HB 1399 by Rep. Brandes
  • Economic Development Incentives – HB 7087
  • Spaceport Territory – HB 59 by Rep. Ray & Sen. Wise
  • Spaceport Facilities – SB 634 by Sen. Benacquisto & Rep. Workman
  • Environmental Resource Permitting – HB 7003 by Rep. Crisafulli & Sen. Detert
  • Environmental Regulation – HB 503 by Rep. Patronis & Sen. Bennett
  • Reclaimed Water – HB 639 by Rep. Young & Sen. Garcia
  • One-Stop-Shop – HB 5501 by Rep. Hooper
  • Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC) – HB 7051
  • Growth Management – HB 7081 by Rep. Workman & Sen. Bennett
  • Auto Insurance/PIP Reform – HB 119 by Rep. Boyd & Sen. Joe Negron
  • Citizens Property Insurance Reform – HB 1127 by Rep. Albritton & Sen. Oelrich
  • Developments of Regional Impact – HB 979 by Sen. Diaz & Sen. Bennett
  • Unemployment Compensation Tax Reform – HB 7027 by Rep. Holder, Rep. Horner & Sen. Bogdanoff
  • Rules Repeal – HB 7029 by Rep. Rooney & Sen. Norman
  • Administrative Authority – HB 7055 by Rulemaking/Reg Subcommittee & Sen. Gaetz
  • E-Verify – HB 1315 & SB 1638 by Rep. Harrell & Sen. Altman (Opposed Bill/Defeated Bill)
  • Relating to Gaming – HB 487 & SB 710 by Rep. Fresen & Sen. Bogdanoff (Opposed Bill/Defeated Bill)
  • Trial Lawyer Supported Auto Insurance Bill – HB 523 & SB 254 by Rep. Workman & Sen. Bennett (Opposed Bill/Defeated Bill)
  • Tangible Personal Property Rights – HB 1003 by Rep. Eisnaugle & Sen. Detert
  • Veteran’s Hiring Initiative – SB 922 by Sen. Bennett & Rep. Nelson
  • Transportation – SB 1998 by Sen. Benacquisto

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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

About the Florida Chamber of Commerce:

  • “At the end of the day, once again, the Florida Chamber agenda will be very successful.” – Florida House Speaker-Designate Will Weatherford
  • “Session is frequently a roller coaster, but despite the challenges, the Florida Chamber stayed focused and its members will reap the benefits.” – Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner
  • “The Florida Chamber has been very supportive. In my eight years of being a legislator this is the best support I’ve ever had.” – Senator Allan Hays
  • “With the Florida Chamber, business and industry leaders have the power to unite and advocate for a healthy and competitive business climate.” – Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll
  • “The Florida Chamber’s modern track record of winning its priority agenda issues sets a statewide standard: when they identify a priority to pass, it usually happens. When they commit to kill something (can you say “Hometown Democracy”?), they kill it for good.” – St. Petersburg Blog, Peter Schorsch , 2-3-12

About the 2012 Legislative Session:

  • “Soon-to-be Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is inheriting a mess of a chamber driven by factionalism, personality clashes and policy differences.” – Miami Herald Blog, Marc Caputo, 3-7-12
  • “The House has passed a lot of bills and is waiting on the Senate, which hasn’t passed as many.” – Lakeland Ledger, Bill Rufty, 3-7-12
  • HEADLINE: “Campaign $ flows lavishly to thwart workers’ comp bill” – Tampa Bay Times, Buzz Blog, Adam Smith, 2-28-12
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