Florida’s Legislative Session by the Numbers:
- More than 3,140 Bills and PCBs filed, 275 Bills passed both chambers
- First ever over $100 billion budget passed
- Florida Chamber of Commerce testified more than 123 times
- Florida Chamber of Commerce is analyzing thousands of votes and will soon release its Legislative Scorecard
TALLAHASSEE, FL. (April 30, 2021)— While other states’ Legislative Sessions were focused on what taxes to raise, what services to cut, or what promises to break to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s fiscal responsibility, discipline and smart investments made by previous leaders and continued today allowed Florida’s economy, jobs and population to continue growing.
“We saw an incredibly strong commitment to free enterprise and policies that will continue to spur economic growth during the 2021 Legislative Session,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson. “Florida is stronger when we speak with one unified business voice, and we are grateful for Florida’s leadership and lawmakers who have delivered pro-jobs policy this Legislative Session.”
At the close of the 2021 Legislative Session, Florida’s job-creators are now even better poised to continue growing Florida’s economy and investing in Florida’s future. The top priority of the Florida Chamber, COVID-19 liability protections to protect Florida businesses and healthcare facilities from frivolous lawsuits, was the first bill to be signed by Governor DeSantis in 2021. The Florida Chamber’s second priority shortly followed as the second bill signed—a long-advocated effort to level the playing field between out-of-state online retailers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses. That legislation also prevented a $713M unemployment tax increase on job creators when they could least afford it as they reopen doors and relaunch our economy, and cut the Florida-only sales tax on commercial leases by more than half.
“In a year like no other, the Florida Chamber delivered like no other,” said Charles S. Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber Board of Directors. “As the unifier of Florida’s business community, the Florida Chamber thanks our Board of Directors, our entire membership, the over 100 local Chambers of Commerce, Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Florida’s lawmakers and our lobbying and advocacy team who worked in unison to make this a successful Legislative Session.”
Below are a few highlights of the Florida Chamber-championed legislative priorities that passed this session:
- COVID Liability Protections: protects businesses and healthcare providers from frivolous lawsuits if they are following government safety guidelines
- Online Sales Tax Reform: levels the playing field between out-of-state online retailers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses by closing the online sales tax loophole
- Unemployment Tax Increase Mitigation: prevents an immediate $713M tax resulting from the pandemic on job creators as they worked to reopen doors and relaunch our economy
- Business Rent Tax Reduction: cutting the Florida-only sales tax on commercial leases from 5.5% to 2%
- Constitutional Amendment Reform: further protects our State Constitution from billionaire special interests and returns the citizens’ initiative process to Florida citizens
- Property Insurance Cost-Driver Reform: tackles the cost drivers leading to higher homeowners’ rates and instability in Florida’s property insurance market
- Early Learning and Childhood Literacy Measures: adds accountability to early education programs to improve kindergarten readiness and reading competency amongst our next generation workforce
- Generational School Choice: empowers the parents of more than 61,000 Florida students to make the best education decisions for their children
- Autonomous Vehicles: continues to position Florida as a global leader in autonomous technology adoption
- Farmer and Food Supply Chain Protection: protects Florida farmers from frivolous nuisance litigation
The Florida Chamber led the defeat of dozens of anti-employer mandates, proposed tax increases and other anti-business bills that would have worsened Florida’s competitiveness and slowed our economic recovery.
“Florida’s job-creators need to create more than 2 million jobs by 2030, and the actions taken by Governor DeSantis and Florida’s lawmakers this Legislative Session will go a long way in continuing to build momentum to reach this goal,” said David Hart, Florida Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Government and Political Relations. “It is encouraging that the Florida Chamber saw passage of numerous priorities drawn from our 2021 Jobs and Competitiveness agenda and we thank Florida’s leadership for one of the best Sessions in recent memory for Florida businesses.”
With 4 million more people planning to call Florida home by 2030, Florida’s legislators rightfully focused on private sector job creation and made significant investments in Florida’s long-term future in the form of targeted funding for Florida’s infrastructure, resiliency, and budget reserves.
As we move forward from a successful Legislative Session, and following news that Florida is gaining an additional Congressional seat, Florida remains the most important state politically and economically in the nation. With the 2022 election on the horizon, we will need to unite as a business community to make sure the right candidates are recruited and elected so that the right outcomes can continue to happen in Florida.
To view the Florida Chamber’s full legislative review of what passed, what was defeated and what remains unfinished business for next year, visit https://conta.cc/2PGW0IK.
Media Relations Manager