Aviation & Aerospace
As NASA’s role continues to change, private aerospace companies are playing increasingly important roles in space exploration. Florida must aggressively compete to remain the preeminent location for private spaceflight activities, engage in more research and development and capitalize on Florida’s existing space industry talent supply. Florida’s aerospace industry helps to generate bold economic development initiatives and brings much needed jobs not only to Florida’s Space Coast, but throughout the state.
Since December 2010, Florida businesses have created nearly one million private-sector jobs. Although more than 98 percent of all jobs in Florida are created by businesses that didn’t receive incentives, the fact is that several states and nations are targeting the same high-wage industries Florida is targeting. In order to continue to diversify our economy, the Florida Chamber will continue to support Enterprise Florida’s (EFI) efforts to attract competitive new projects within and to our state.
A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. The Florida Chamber believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can compete in a global economy. We will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future while supporting the growth of quality teachers.
Florida’s ongoing economic recovery has fueled growth in all areas- from population growth to private-sector job creation. But an increased population means increased energy use from all areas of Florida- from the individual light switch to the multi-national companies headquartered in Florida. Florida’s population is expected to grow by six million more residents by 2030 and we must be prepared to provide clean, cost-effective, efficient and reliable energy solutions.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce advocates at all levels of government- local, state and federal- to ensure our state is moving in the right direction. By meeting with members of the Florida Delegation multiple times per year, the Florida Chamber’s Advocacy Program ensures Florida businesses are being heard on the issues that matter to them.
Health & Wellness
Efficient and effective healthcare delivery systems with affordable healthcare costs for Florida’s businesses and citizens are vital components in the overall economic health of our state and therefore have a profound impact on Florida’s competitiveness and business climate. Florida is the third largest state in the nation. By 2030, six million new residents will call Florida home. It is imperative that the business community work together to keep costs low, while continuing to boost the economic prosperity of our state. The Florida Chamber is dedicated to getting healthcare coverage right. Healthcare coverage in Florida is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, nor is it a one-size-fits-all solution. The Florida Chamber believes Florida can, and should, do better.
Tomorrow’s talent wants to live in a place where quality of life is second to none. This means protecting our state against very real dangers like Las Vegas-style casino gambling. Floridians should be cautious of unsubstantiated job growth and economic development offered by mega casinos. Florida cannot afford to bet our economic future on the expansion of gambling or the creation of these destination mega-casinos. Las Vegas-style casinos don’t compliment positive, long-term economic development. Instead, they weaken our brand and burden our cities with debt and poverty and wipe out existing forms of commerce.
Supporting a consistent federal policy for immigration that avoids undue burden to Florida’s employers and doesn’t harm Florida’s economy will help move our state forward. Florida’s economy depends on strong international relationships for its trade, manufacturing and agriculture industries. A consistent federal policy will help Florida’s employers avoid undue burdens and costs.
Insurance Reform & Competition
Creating a competitive and stable insurance market will lower costs for Florida’s policy holders. We must continue initiatives like reducing the size and exposure of Citizens Insurance, reforming Florida’s Catastrophe Fund, spreading risks, reducing fraudulent claims and allowing for creative solutions for the issues homeowners and businesses face. Reforming Florida’s broken property insurance system will help reduce taxpayer risk in the event of a catastrophic storm and further improve Florida’s business climate.
International Trade & Ports
The global economy is expected to double in size throughout the next 20 years. Florida is well positioned to not only benefit from international trade but play a pivotal role in new and emerging trade lanes. Economic development in areas such as international trade, sea port, manufacturing, aerospace, aviation and other targeted clusters is tied directly to innovation, diversification and how well Florida can adapt to growing and changing trends. As Florida becomes the third most populous state in the nation and with an estimated six million new residents settling in our state by 2030, our state has to find new solutions that help, not only the way we view resources, but the way we run international businesses.
The sunny climate may be one of Florida’s most enduring assets, but unfair laws and courts are storm clouds on Florida’s horizon. This is a reasonable conclusion from the findings of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) newly released 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey ranking the fifty states on their lawsuit systems. For the fourth consecutive time, the Sunshine State sits in the bottom ten, 44th out of 50. This is a three-spot drop from the last survey three years ago.
Did you know manufacturing contributes more than $40 billion to Florida’s economy? In fact, for every 10 jobs created in Florida’s export-oriented manufacturing, 12 more jobs are created in transportation, warehousing and retail. Florida has more than 330,000 manufacturing employees earning more than $54,000 annually, which is higher than the state’s average wage. The impact of manufacturing on Florida’s global economy is significant. Growing Florida’s manufacturing industry is essential, especially as Florida continues to be a global hub for trade. Florida’s manufacturing industry provides more than 90 percent of Florida exports and creates private-sector jobs while diversifying Florida’s economy.
Marketing Florida's Business Climate
Florida continues to move in the right direction. The Florida Legislature, Governor and Cabinet have made significant strides in education reform, taxes, regulations, infrastructure and more. In fact, our state has one of the best business climates in the nation, our fourth grade reading scores in 2013 continued to outpace the nation and we currently are one of the top states for tech-sector job growth. Florida should invest in telling our story to decision-makers.
Military & Defense
Florida’s well-rounded military and defense industry creates highly-trained, highly-skilled workers each and every day. Florida has the third-largest population of veterans in the nation at more than 1.5 million — 12 percent of the Sunshine State’s population. In fact, one in every 13 Floridians is a veteran and Florida’s military and defense industry makes up 10 percent of our state’s economy.
The burdensome cost of having unfunded liabilities in our state continues to provide a barrier toward supporting teachers, attracting targeted industries, building roads and reducing taxes. Florida must adapt and change or suffer the consequences to our state’s rebounding economy.
Florida’s business community is facing a possible avalanche of new laws, rules and regulations that ultimately will only make it much tougher for employers to hire new workers. We know that Florida businesses struggle to create jobs and drive the economy forward when they are worried about a blizzard of new rules and regulations, built upon an already complex system of employment laws.
Safety & Securing Florida's Safety
The bookends of the Florida Chamber’s Six Pillars for economic prosperity are education and quality of life. From championing the talent developed in our education system, to protecting Florida’s family-friendly brand, we’ve made it our business to ensure today’s learners become tomorrow’s earners, and that Florida is the best place to live, work, learn, raise a family and live the American dream. What unites us is far greater than what divides us. But our character is being tested yet again, and voters throughout America are waiting for politicians to put partisanship aside, and put Americans first. Business and local chamber leaders throughout Florida encourage you to ensure Florida has the procedures and laws in place to give our children, as well as their parents, the assurances they need to learn. Frankly, nothing else matters.
Small Business Issues
According to a Florida Chamber Small Business Index Survey, Florida’s small businesses are optimistic about the future of the state’s economic recovery, with 55 percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve during the next 12 months and 41 percent of all respondents indicating higher sales over the previous year. Small businesses are important to Florida’s growing economy and in order to continue growing the best business climate in the nation, we must continue to provide opportunities for small business to succeed.
Targeted Tax Reforms
Driving a fair and equitable tax system is key to attracting and growing businesses in our state. Limiting burdensome taxes by enacting smart and targeted tax reforms helps place money back into the pockets of Florida’s families. We must continue to push back against initiatives that make us less competitive in comparison to other states and become the number one state for business.
According to tourism numbers Florida welcomed 116.5 million visitors from other states and other countries in 2017. As the third largest state in the nation, how does tourism impact Florida’s long-term future? When visitors come to Florida, they help create jobs and pay $6 billion in state taxes and $5.3 billion in local taxes. Sales and other taxes paid by visitors help keep Floridians from having to pay an income tax. In fact, visitors to Florida pay in taxes the equivalent of $1,535 per Florida household. Tourism in Florida not only helps create jobs, but also allows Floridians in those jobs to acquire employability skills.
The Florida Chamber will continue to support legislation to increase investment for Rural Areas of Opportunity and measures to increase transparency within rural economic development funding. With five million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, the Florida Chamber will continue to support policies promoting job creation in rural communities to help increase economic growth throughout Florida.
By 2030, there will be approximately four to five million new Florida drivers commuting on our roads. Along with the 112 million visitors that come to our state each year, it’s estimated that there will be more than 150 million daily vehicle miles added to Florida roads. In addition to highways, Florida also moves people and goods with a labyrinth of railways, seaports, airports and space ports, all interconnected to provide services and goods that grow our economy. Whether it’s the more than 1,000 miles of coastlines and more than 3,000 miles of highways, Florida’s transportation infrastructure relies on capable investments in order to keep our economy flowing and keep Floridians safe. The Florida Chamber will keep fighting to prevent attempting raids to the State Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.
On January 1, 2015, most employers saw a $30.40 drop per employee in unemployment compensation rates retroactively. This is a reduction of 64 percent and marks the second year in a row that the state unemployment compensation rates have decreased. This decrease in rates further shows that Florida’s unemployment compensation trust fund is healthy, and confirms that Florida is moving in the right direction again through private-sector job creation. Lowering the burden of unemployment compensation taxes creates globally competitive employers. The Florida Chamber believes in fair and predictable laws and regulations that promote economic development and do not impose unreasonable costs on businesses or their customers.
An increased population means an increased need for vital resources such as water. Florida’s population is expected to grow by six million more residents by 2030, residents that will consume approximately nine billion gallons of water each day. From a single glass of water to fueling Florida’s large agriculture economy, water discussions must take into account the needs of the future so sound policies can be enacted today.
Worker's Compensation Task Force
Ensuring our workers’ comp system is fair and not inflated by trial lawyer tactics and other unnecessary costs will help lower the cost of doing business in Florida. The Florida Chamber has led the effort to help lower workers’ comp rates by more than 50 percent in the last 10 years.
Florida’s rebounding economy is creating more opportunities for Florida’s families to get back to work. Since December 2010, more than 940,000 private-sector jobs have been created. As Florida’s economy continues to focus on diversification and competitiveness, we must continue to work toward filling the gap that is created between Florida’s current education system and the needs of Florida’s employers. Whether the need is in early education, K-12, higher education, workforce development or lifelong learning, Florida wins when we continue to close the talent gaps and put our students before special interests — no matter what.