Environmental Permitting Summer School

Earn Continuing Education Credits at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Premier Environmental Conference July 21-24 in Marco Island

The Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School is attended by more than 850 attorneys, consultants, engineers, state and local government officials, developers, landowners and others with a strong interest in environmental issues in Florida. Program features the most advanced and current instruction available on Florida’s environmental, energy and growth management laws, rules and programs.

The Environmental Permitting Summer School begins on Tuesday, July 21 with two Early Bird Discussion Sessions and concludes on Friday, July 24, 2020.

Choose a personalized curriculum by selecting 10 out of over 70 offered courses. Take advantage of the Chamber’s unique “break-out” format, which provides for small class sizes and the opportunity to interact with other attendees and instructors. Earn continuing education credits and enjoy numerous opportunities to network in a relaxed social setting with the leadership of Florida’s environmental community. In addition, you may register for the one of our Early Bird Discussion Sessions.

Who Should Attend?

• Attorneys
• Architects
• Landscape Architects
• Surveyors and Mappers
• Environmental Managers
• Elected Officials
• Property Appraisers
• Property Assessors
• Local Government
• Environmental Consultants
• Local Chambers
• Water Management Districts

• Builders and Contractors
• Business and Industry
• Engineers
• Planners
• Realtors
• Landowners
• Developers
• Citizen Groups
• Agribusiness
• Tax Assessors
• Economic Development Councils

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda

FLORIDA CHAMBER’S 2020 JOBS AGENDA

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to www.TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.

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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.

Long-Term Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Investments Needed to Support The 4.5 Million More Residents That Will Soon Call Florida Home

Hollywood, Fla. (December 5, 2019) – M-CORES, long-term energy solutions, resiliency, 5G and more are taking center stage at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit taking place today in Hollywood.

“As Florida prepares to add 4.5 million more residents and 3 million more drivers by 2030, Florida must approach the changes ahead with smart growth, innovation and long-term planning to ensure Florida’s economy continues to thrive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Key Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit Take-Aways:

  • M-CORES: Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) will play an important role in connecting urban and rural communities and supporting local economies.
  • RESLILIENCY: Florida’s first resilience officer discusses Florida’s need to prepare for sea level rise and natural disasters.
  • ENERGY: Long-term investment in reliable energy sources were highlighted as we face the future of demands of Florida’s growing population.
  • SPEAKERS: Featured speakers include:
    • Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D., Chief Resilience Officer, Executive Office of the Governor
    • Ananth Prasad, President, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, Inc.
    • Patrick Goddard, President, Virgin Trains USA
    • Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light
    • Secretary Kevin Thibault, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation
    • Joe York, President, AT&T Florida
    • Noah Valenstein, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    • Ken Armstrong, President & CEO, Florida Trucking Association
    • Beth Kigel, Vice President, HNTB

For a complete list of today’s events, click HERE for the full agenda.

Today’s summit continues until 3:30 p.m. A livestream of the event is available for media only. RSVP to Edie Ousley at eousley@flchamber.com for link information.  

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The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. Visit www.FLFoundation.org  for more information.

SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENT: Florida’s First Resilience Officer

Is Florida resilient?
…And if not, what can we do about it?

Surrounded by water, Florida is considered by some as ground zero for sea level rise, natural disasters and aging infrastructure. What effect with this have on Florida’s economy and infrastructure?

Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D.
Chief Resilience Officer
State of Florida

To address these issues, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer. Dr. Nesheiwat has over 20 years of renewable energy and environmental experience focused on water and natural resources as a senior executive in federal cabinet-level agencies, academia and as a combat veteran.

Register today to hear Dr. Nesheiwat during the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit taking place December 5 in Hollywood, Florida.

Summit attendees will also hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

A Technology Company Delivering Energy to Move Florida Forward

Eric Silagy
President & CEO
Florida, Power & Light Company

KEYNOTE ANNOUNCED:
Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company

Time is running out to hear Eric Silagy, President & CEO of Florida Power & Light Company share his vision of the future of energy in Florida. Register today to attend the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit.

With 4.5 million more residents expected in Florida by 2030, our ability to provide the energy needed for a growing population is crucial. To grow Florida from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th by 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan, the Florida 2030 Blueprint, calls for long-term investments in energy to meet our future demands.

Don’t miss this opportunity – Register today!

2019 Future of Florida Forum: Why You Want a Seat at the Table

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson invites you to join Florida’s leaders as we discuss the issues that will impact the future of your community and Florida’s economy.

Join Florida leaders as we discuss:

• Florida’s rapidly changing economic, demographic and political changes and how they impact your future,
• Where Florida’s growth will be and in what industries,
• Florida’s key trends, headwinds, tailwinds and key projections,
• The latest leadership strategies to solve Florida’s talent gap,
• Fixing Florida’s broken lawsuit abuse problem,
• Preparing Florida’s infrastructure and transportation systems for growth,
• Promoting economic opportunity for all Floridians, and more!

Future of Florida Forum
October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Orlando

2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at AKinnon@FlFoundation.org.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Statement on Proposed Electricity Deregulation Ballot Initiative Supreme Court Hearing

“We cannot secure Florida’s future with regulatory policies that will make our state less competitive and electricity more expensive.”

– Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Tallahassee, Fla. (August 28, 2019) – Today, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments against the proposed Florida electricity deregulation ballot initiative. Below is a statement from Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“Today, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments against the proposed Florida electricity deregulation ballot initiative. Opposing counsel were clear in their presentations to the court that the initiative being proposed by retail electricity marketing companies is a drastic proposal for Floridians that is misleading and confusing and should not be allowed on the ballot.

“Arguments made by those few companies and organizations supporting the proposed initiative, that aims to dramatically change Florida’s highly reliable and cost-effective electricity system, continue to at best ignore – and at worst blatantly misrepresent – the facts. 

“Regardless of what the amendment’s sponsors say, the truth is if the initiative were to pass, nobody knows who will own the power plants, poles, power lines and equipment that today reliably serve Florida’s homes and businesses. Additionally, while they call the initiative ‘energy choice,’ the fact is that 75 percent of Floridians would be forced to change electricity providers and would not be allowed to choose to keep their current electric companies.

“States across the U.S. have learned the hard way that deregulating their electricity system does not save money or improve service. Even the Texas electricity system – which the initiative supporters say is the model for their proposal – this summer has suffered low supplies of electricity and has seen electricity costs skyrocket as much as 36,000 percent. Not only is this ballot initiative modeled after a state with serious electricity supply issues and high summer prices, the initiative is illegal, and is a senseless effort by a few to rob Florida’s families and businesses of their hard-earned money and reliable electricity.

“We cannot secure Florida’s future with regulatory policies that will make our state less competitive and electricity more expensive.”

The Florida Chamber has a long history of protecting Florida’s constitution. Earlier this year, the Florida Chamber filed a legal brief, agreeing with Attorney General Ashley Moody, in opposing the ballot initiative as it could cause great harm to Florida’s economy.

Additionally, the Florida Chamber conducted a financial impact study with Charles River Associates and found that the proposed changes to Florida’s electricity market would have a very damaging financial impact on state and local governments of more than $1.2 billion per year in increased costs and reduced revenues.

This proposal will drive up costs on Florida’s families and should not be enshrined into Florida’s foundational document.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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.

Q&A: Protecting Florida’s Beaches, Our Tourism Economy and Military Operations

Q: What coastal protections does Florida currently have regarding offshore energy production?


A: Until January 2022, offshore oil and gas drilling is prohibited by federal law from taking place east of the Military Mission Line or within 125 miles of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Oil and gas drilling are prohibited by state law from taking place within 3 nautical miles of Florida’s Atlantic Coast and the Florida Straits. In 2018, Florida residents voted to implement a constitutional amendment that would prohibit any oil and gas development in all state waters.

Q: How does the 2018 voter approved constitutional ballot measure impact oil and gas development in Florida waters?


A: In 2018, Florida voters approved a prohibition of exploration and extraction of oil or natural gas beneath all state waters that lie between the mean high-water line and the outermost boundaries of the state’s territorial seas. The constitutional prohibition does not apply to the transportation of oil and gas, nor does it prohibit extraction outside of Florida’s state boundaries. This is an important distinction because not all the coastal water visible from Florida’s shore is Florida’s to regulate. Much of it is under federal protection and purview.

Q: Is it true that starting in 2022, the state of Florida will only have the ability to restrict offshore energy development in its own waters?


A: The current federal moratorium on oil and gas development off of Florida’s Gulf Coast will expire in June 2022. Unless a new agreement is reached or law enacted, Florida will only be able to restrict energy development to Florida waters. That is why the Florida Chamber is insisting on an agreement.

Protecting Florida’s Tourism:

Q: How far out in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean do Florida state waters reach?


A: Florida state waters extend from the shore to at least 3 nautical miles out in the Atlantic and from the shore to 9 nautical miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Q: How far into the waters off Florida’s beaches can you see?


A: If you’re standing on the average Florida beach, you can see a little over 3 miles out into the ocean. If you’re on the 10th floor of a Florida beachfront hotel, you can generally see about 15 miles out. If you’re on a balcony at Miami’s 85-story Panorama Tower (Florida’s tallest building), you can see about 38 miles out into the ocean.

Q: What is tourism’s economic impact on Florida’s economy?


A: Florida’s world-class, tourism-based economy supports 1.4 million jobs and brings more than $90 billion to Florida each year. Last year more than 124.6 million people visited Florida, and an additional 50 million will visit us annually in future years.

Protecting Florida’s Military:

Q: How does the United States military utilize Florida’s waters?


A: Missions utilizing the Eastern Gulf of Mexico include research activity, technology demonstrations, air-to-air and air-to-ground (surface) missile testing (including the use of drone targets), combat surface ship qualification trials, mine warfare testing and training, and explosive ordnance disposal training.

Q: Who oversees Florida’s military operations? Do the Department of Defense, and the Department of Interior (the federal agency which oversees offshore energy development) coordinate to ensure that military training is not impaired?


A: The U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Interior coordinate and have established strict safety standards under a 1983 memorandum of agreement, which ensures that the military’s critical missions are not impaired by commercial or recreational activities. These standards have been successfully protecting both military operations and civilian activity in federal waters for decades.

Q: How big of an economic impact does the military play in Florida’s economy?


A: The military and defense sectors contribute $84.9 billion annually to Florida’s economy.

What Other States are Doing:

Q: How are Florida’s neighboring states reacting to offshore energy production?


A: The economies of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are strongly tied to the jobs directly and indirectly created by the offshore energy industry. These states have seen offshore development off their coast for more than 60 years. Additionally, these states receive a portion of federal revenue from the proceeds of offshore lease sales. Louisiana received a total of $94.7 million in funding in 2018, while Texas, Mississippi and Alabama received $57.9 million, $31.7 million and $30.6 million respectively.

To learn more, read Florida is Special. Let’s Keep it That Way, or contact David Hart at dhart@flchamber.com.

Florida is Special. Let’s Keep it That Way

One thing most Floridians can agree on is that Florida is special. We enjoy beautiful weather, one of the nation’s best education systems, incredible beaches, a military infrastructure vital to our way of life, a $1 trillion and growing annual economy and a shared spirit of optimism about our future.

However, it is going to take a strong collective effort on all our parts to truly secure Florida’s future.

That’s because in 2022, the current moratorium on drilling for oil virtually anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico expires.

If Congress fails to generate bipartisan support, and the current moratorium expires, oil platforms could be sitting just nine miles off Florida’s coastline, where Florida waters end and federal waters begin.

Perhaps that fact alone got your attention. I hope so.

But there’s more to the story.

There will be no protections in place unless, before 2022, a majority of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and a supermajority of 60 bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate reach agreement on some form of extension that the President would agree to sign into law.

Given the partisanship and political stalemate right now in our nation’s capital, this is no small order.

President Donald Trump has called for the United States to achieve not just energy independence, but energy dominance. This is certainly a worthy goal, to ensure we are not constantly held hostage for our energy needs by regimes that rarely have our interests at heart, like Venezuela and Iran.

A major building block of the Trump Administration’s energy dominance goal is the upcoming Department of Interior five-year plan.

As Floridians, we would be wise to assume that opening up new energy exploration areas in the Gulf of Mexico could be part of the federal plan.

Equally, we must understand that the combination of this forthcoming plan and the impending end to the drilling moratorium requires us to act to set the terms which will protect Florida and its unparalleled natural beauty.

We don’t doubt that somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, far from our shores, there are energy resources that can be safely extracted and contribute to the economy and energy security of the U.S. There are already 2,557 active leases and 3,200 active oil drilling platforms in the Gulf now, distant from our beaches and ocean views.

To provide certainty for Florida, leaders in Congress must begin meaningful negotiations to address this challenge. We understand that this will be a difficult process and that some compromises will be necessary. However, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is prepared to support a negotiated plan so long as it meets the following requirements:

  1. Protects Florida’s beautiful beaches and natural habitats, which are the core of our quality of life and a major reason why 124.6 million people visited Florida last year – and an additional 50 million will visit us annually.
  2. Does no harm to our world-class, tourism-based economy, which supports 1.4 million jobs and brings more than $90 billion to our state each year.
  3. Exists in harmony with the current and future military operations – including Space Force – that take place in the Gulf of Mexico. Those missions are vital to our national security, and the military and defense sectors contribute $84.9 billion annually to our economy.

These are the principles we will advocate be addressed in any negotiations in Congress, and they should inform any deal that sets forth what will happen after 2022. We also will ensure that any final deal guarantees that if exploration does happen in the Gulf, it will only happen at a significant enough distance away to protect what makes Florida special.

We must not lose sight of the reality that if Congress fails to act it means the current moratorium expires in barely three years, and we could be seeing oil rigs from Naples, Clearwater, Destin or any of our beautiful beaches.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is and will always be engaged in protecting Florida’s interests and securing its future, so we will vigorously seek support for a compromise that meets our three requirements.

Florida is special and we must unite as Floridians to keep it that way. If we all work together, we can secure a deal that meets these three non-negotiable principles and protects the natural beauty we all love.

Mark Wilson is President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at mwilson@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Financial Impact Study Shows Proposed Energy Ballot Measure Will Cost $1.2 Billion Annually

“Although the Florida Chamber has already conducted its analysis, we urge the FIEC to provide the financial transparency of the new law stemming from House Bill 5 to provide voters more comprehensive transparency on this mandate that will drastically increase electricity costs.” – Mark Wilson, President and CEO

TALLAHASSEE, FL (August 12, 2019) – In advance of today’s state Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) to determine portions of the economic impact of a ballot initiative to restructure Florida’s electricity market, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today pointed to independent financial impact research showing that the proposed amendment will cost $1.2 to $1.5 billion annually to state and local governments.

“Voters deserve to know the facts – this price hiking electricity related ballot measure is a drastic and costly proposal that will drive up costs on Florida’s families, consumers and local businesses,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Studies by Charles River Associates shows that the proposed restructuring of Florida’s electricity market would have an adverse financial impact, in terms of lower tax revenues and increased costs, of $1.2 to $1.5 billion or more per year to Florida’s state and local governments, and ultimately, to taxpayers. That means less funding for vital local services, including fire departments and first responders, and likely higher taxes for consumers and local businesses.

Chief among revenue losses are:

  • Franchise Fees – $650 million
  • Gross Receipt Tax — $270 million to $320 million
  • Municipal Public Service Tax — $200 million to $300 million
  • Property Tax — $60 million to $140 million

Topping the list of higher costs are:

  • Administrative Costs — $30 million to $80 million
  • RTO or ISO – impact of higher rates — $20 million to $25 million

“We cannot secure Florida’s future with regulatory policies that will make our state less competitive and electricity more expensive,” Wilson added.

When the FIEC originally met on the energy regulation proposal in March, they did not determine the financial impact that drastically changing Florida’s electricity market would have on Florida’s communities – despite the empirical evidence presented by expert economists.

At the urging of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, lawmakers passed and Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 5 requiring a financial impact estimate on both the state and local communities.

“Although the Florida Chamber has already conducted its analysis, we urge the FIEC to provide the financial transparency of the new law stemming from House Bill 5 to provide voters more comprehensive transparency on this mandate that will drastically increase electricity costs,” said Wilson.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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.

Allowing Energy Choice

Florida Chamber of Commerce Financial Analysis Regarding Proposed Amendment
Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities

The Florida Chamber of Commerce respectfully submits the attached financial impact analysis regarding the proposed ballot initiative to restructure the Florida’s electricity market. As an interested party, the Florida Chamber of Commerce retained Charles River Associates to conduct an independent analysis to estimate the potential changes in revenues and costs to state and local governments that would result from the implementation of the proposed ballot initiative. This analysis concluded electricity market restructuring would have an adverse financial impact, in terms of lower tax revenues and increased costs, of $1.2 to $1.5 Billion or more per year to the Florida state and local governments – and ultimately, to taxpayers.

View the Full Report

2019 Environmental Permitting Summer School

The Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School is attended by more than 850 attorneys, consultants, engineers, state and local government officials, developers, landowners and others with a strong interest in environmental issues in Florida.

Program features the most advanced and current instruction available on Florida’s environmental, energy and growth management laws, rules and programs. Attendees also have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits. 

Click here to learn more.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Files Reply Brief with Florida Supreme Court Validating Position That Energy Proposal is Unconstitutional

Proposed Amendment Violates Single Subject Rule, Engages Logrolling, and Alters and Performs Functions of Multiple Branches of Government

Florida Chamber Files Reply Brief With Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE, FL (June 21, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today filed a reply brief with the Florida Supreme Court restating its alignment with Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody, that the state’s high court should strike down the unconstitutional energy proposal.

The Florida Chamber’s reply brief outlines the multiple ways in which this proposed amendment is unconstitutional, including:

  • Violating the single subject rule,
  • Engaging in logrolling,
  • Substantially altering and performing the functions of multiple branches of government, and
  • Debunking the amendments “Texas Model” argument by outlining how Texas restructured its electricity market by a painstaking legislative process – not by a ballot initiative.

“Voters are smart, and they deserve to know that this is a price-hiking electricity amendment that will drastically drive up costs on Florida’s families, our local businesses, and virtually all consumers,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber was joined in the reply brief by the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC). The initial legal brief (amicus curiae) was filed on April 18. On May 23, proponents filed two answer briefs in which they essentially admit that their proposal is unconstitutional.

In previous statements opposing this proposal, the Florida Chamber has outlined that studies conducted by Charles River Associates show the proposed changes to Florida’s electricity market would have the very damaging financial impact on state and local governments of more than $1.2 billion per year in increased costs and reduced revenues. That means less funding for vital local services, including fire departments and first responders, and higher taxes for consumers and small businesses.

The Florida Chamber has a long history of opposing constitutional amendments that can be achieved through the legislative process. The energy regulation amendment can be achieved through the legislative process, and therefore should not be permanently enshrined into Florida’s foundational document.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Names Representative Bob Rommel 2019 Most Valuable Legislator

Also Announces 18 Distinguished Advocate Award Recipients

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 20, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today awarded Representative Bob Rommel with the 2019 Most Valuable Legislator (MVL) award for his leadership in tackling Florida’s ‘Judicial Hellhole’ label. The MVL presentation was made during the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting in Orlando.

The Florida Chamber’s MVL award is the business community’s premier legislative award honoring a single lawmaker for their outstanding legislative leadership and willingness to take a stand for free enterprise.

“Representative Rommel championed and led ending Florida’s lawsuit abuse problem that is costing Florida’s families over $4,000 each year, and has earned Florida an international reputation as a ‘Judicial Hellhole,’” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in a congratulatory video.

Upon news of the award, Representative Rommel said: “The Florida Chamber’s commitment to make sure Florida’s business community flourishes is unparalleled. I was very proud to work with them this year to advance and enact unprecedented business reform legislation that will unleash Florida entrepreneurs to grow, innovate, and create more jobs. I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Florida Chamber, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

DISTINGUISHED ADVOCATE AWARD RECIPIENTS:
Additionally, the Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate awards – recognizing lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation and advanced the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development – were announced.

“We’re pleased to recognize members of the Florida Legislature with the Distinguished Advocate awards who had the courage to put free enterprise principles for job creation above special interest,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The 18 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2019 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate award include:

HOW THEY VOTED

The Florida Chamber also released its annual publication How They Voted – which provides the grades for all 157 legislators so business leaders can see who voted for or against job creation and economic growth.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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.