Florida Chamber of Commerce 2017 Agenda To #MakeFLMoreCompetitive Through Jobs And Economic Growth

By: Edie Ousley

Urges Lawmakers to Make Florida More Competitive and Create Economic Opportunity for Millions of Floridians

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 12, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its 2017 Competitiveness Agenda – #MakeFLMoreCompetitive – a step-by-step legislative roadmap that focuses resources and expertise to advance jobs, competitiveness and economic opportunity for Floridians.

#MakeFLMoreCompetitive builds on 122 pro-jobs bills passed and signed into law in the last six years that have propelled Florida with positive economic momentum. However, the Florida Chamber’s Competitiveness Agenda also recognizes economic and demographic shifts that, if not addressed through a long-term lens, could put Florida’s economic conditions in a fragile position.

Looking at Florida’s leadership nationally, Florida is currently producing more than 1 in 10 new American jobs in the U.S. While Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts the Sunshine State will gain approximately 190,000 jobs in 2017, Florida’s demographics are changing. Over the next 14 years, Florida – which relies on sales tax revenue to fund 77 percent of general revenue receipts – will see:

  • 215,000 fewer people in their prime spending years buying taxable goods that produce sales tax revenue, and
  • 2 million more people 65 and older who traditionally purchase more non-taxable services.

Economic opportunity for everyone is our priority. Consider that:

  • 3.28 million Floridians are food stamp/SNAP recipients,
  • 3.129 million Floridians are living in poverty, and
  • 1.675 million are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

The Florida Legislature can take steps now to help ensure a stronger business climate that will grow jobs and the economy now and into the future. Chief among the Florida Chamber’s recommendations to #MakeFLMoreCompetitive are:

  • Fixing Florida’s broken workers’ comp system, and stopping the $1.5 billion jobs tax,
  • Improving Florida’s Bottom 10 legal climate, which creates a $3,400 tax for a family of four each year,
  • Resolving Florida’s increasing Homeowners Fraud Tax that results from Assignment of Benefits abuse, which increases homeowners insurance premiums for families,
  • Protecting Florida’s family-friendly brand from expanded Las Vegas-style casino gambling,
  • Insuring Florida continues to attract and retain jobs, and
  • Preparing Florida’s workforce through continued improvements to our K-12 system, increasing educational opportunities in higher education and 21st century vocational trades – all to help ensure a talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic development strategy.

As always, the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Competitiveness Agenda will score dozens of bills on its priority agenda that will further build on Florida’s competitiveness, including:

 

Keeping Florida’s Business Climate Competitive

A tax climate that helps generate jobs, reduces the Business Rent Tax, and increases investments for the R&D tax credit. Additionally, further reducing burdensome regulations while also supporting regulations that embrace innovation and welcome a statewide framework for ridesharing.

 

Closing Florida’s Talent Gap by Improving Educational Opportunities

A talented workforce to fill jobs through continued education reforms, including increasing investments in workforce development programs, and championing school choice options and competition.

 

Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smarter Growth

Investing in infrastructure to meet future growth needs, including making key investments in rural infrastructure.

 

Championing Florida’s Quality of Life

Supporting a quality of life that protects natural resources, and advocates long-term comprehensive energy policy. Additionally, championing smarter health care outcomes through a better healthcare delivery system, and expanded medical education opportunities.

 

Diversifying Florida’s Economy and Creating High-Wage Jobs

Supporting Florida’s manufacturing industry, diversifying our economy and creating jobs through economic development efforts, and ensuring Florida remains globally competitive by moving more goods, making more products for export and multiplying the impacts of trade.

 

Making Florida Government More Efficient

Protecting Florida’s Constitution through the Constitution Revision Commission, and improving government efficiencies and state competitiveness.

 

“Florida business leaders are optimistic about the changes taking place at the national level, but we also remain realistic that the road ahead is challenging,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While there’s an awful lot of good going on in Florida, the truth is that things are fragile, and the Florida Legislature has the opportunity this session to ensure we #MakeFLMoreCompetitive for families and job creators.”

 

Based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business from 2016, the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Competitiveness Agenda is a blueprint of legislative priorities that it will lobby, track and score this Legislative Session.

 

A complete listing of the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Competitiveness Agenda is available at www.FloridaChamber.com.

 

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.