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.

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces $16.2 Million in Awards to Improve Infrastructure in 24 Small and Rural Florida Communities

Tallahassee, Fla. – On July 23, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $16.2 million in awards for 24 small and rural communities across the state through the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), helps communities fund infrastructure improvements and housing rehabilitation.

The Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and DEO.

“I’m pleased to announce $16.2 million in infrastructure funding for 24 small and rural communities throughout our state,” said Governor DeSantis. “Infrastructure development is the life-line for economic growth in many areas and we will continue to work with our federal partners on building a stronger, more resilient Florida.”

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we remain focused on small and rural communities by making smart strategic housing and infrastructure investments,” said Ken Lawson, Executive Director of DEO. “Through partnership programs like the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program, we will continue to make lasting local advancements to fuel economic growth in Florida communities.”

The projects awarded through the Florida Small Cities CDBG program include:

  • Calhoun County ($750,000) – to improve existing county roads, drainage and to install fire hydrants. These projects are expected to benefit nearly 100 households including more than 80 low- to moderate-income households.
  • City of Archer ($650,000) – to provide low- to moderate-income households with necessary housing repairs or construction of a portion of the home.
  • City of Bonifay ($650,000) – to rehabilitate four city-owned buildings to bring them up to current building codes with new roofs and interior renovations.
  • City of Bushnell ($700,000) – to rehabilitate the aging, antiquated Lift Station #6 and to repave several roads including Central Avenue, Parker Avenue, Hunt Avenue, West Street and York Street. These projects are expected to benefit nearly 500 residents of which more than 350 are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Coleman ($600,000) – to replace 300 existing water meters with new, improved meters with a monitoring system at all existing water meter locations. This project is expected to benefit more than 700 individuals of which more than 520 are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Cottondale ($600,000) – to completely replace drinking water lines in 10 different locations of the city. This project is expected to benefit 200 individuals of which more than 150 are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Fellsmere ($700,000) – to pave and make flood and drainage improvements along streets and to install a swale drain. This project is expected to benefit multiple homes of which most are low- to moderate-income. Funds will be used also to install a city-wide skate park to be used by more than 5,000 individuals of which more than 3,600 are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Graceville ($650,000) – to renovate the city’s wastewater treatment plant, upgrade the electrical system and restore an associated water treatment site. This project is expected to benefit nearly 2,500 individuals of which more than half are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Groveland ($700,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • City of Jasper ($700,000) – to replace water service meters with new improved meters with a monitoring system. This project is expected to benefit more than 2,200 individuals of which more than 1,600 are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Marianna ($700,000) – to replace the West End Lift Station, make improvements to an existing roadway, make flood and drainage improvements, make waterline upgrades and add a new fire hydrant along Evelyn Road.
  • City of Milton ($700,000) – to replace water lines, make drainage improvements and resurface roads in various locations in the city. These projects are expected to benefit more than 200 residents of which more than half are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Monticello ($700,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • City of Mulberry ($700,000) – to relocate and replace the sewer line lift station, to be constructed on city-owned property located north of the existing pumping station. This project is expected to benefit more than 400 individuals of which nearly all are low- to moderate-income.
  • City of Niceville ($700,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • Holmes County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • Putnam County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, homes of low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • Town of Callahan ($650,000) – to install water mains to increase system operating pressures, and to improve firefighting capabilities and system reliability. This project is expected to benefit more than 1,300 individuals of which more than half are low- to moderate-income.
  • Town of Greensboro ($650,000) – to repave streets and make flood and drainage improvements in various locations throughout town. This project is expected to benefit more than 300 individuals of which nearly all are low- to moderate-income.
  • Town of Hillard ($700,000) – to replace water and sewer lines and install an emergency electrical generator at the Oxford Street lift station. This project is expected to benefit more than 1,100 individuals of which nearly 600 are low- to moderate-income.
  • Town of Mayo ($650,000) – to rehabilitate, or demolish and replace, low- to moderate-income household homes that do not meet current building code standards, and to address code-related issues, health and safety measures and green rehabilitation standards.
  • Town of Micanopy ($600,000) – to drill a new well, install a new well pump and make electrical improvements. This project is expected to benefit nearly 700 individuals of which nearly all are low- to moderate-income.
  • Town of Oakland ($600,000) – to fund the installation of new gravity sewer lines, septic tanks and new sewer services. This project is expected to benefit more than 40 occupied homes of which more than half are low- to moderate-income.
  • Town of Pierson ($650,000) – to make water tank, well and treatment plant improvements including the development of a second well field and water treatment plant at Chipper Jones Park. This project is expected to benefit more than 1,750 individuals of which nearly 1,400 are low- to moderate-income.

For more information on the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program, visit FloridaJobs.org/SmallCitiesCDBG.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: Clint Bullock on Orlando’s Renewable Energy

The latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line features Clint Bullock, Chief Executive Officer of Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), discussing the innovations that OUC is implementing to help their communities move into the future.  

“It was an honor to have the mayor on-site to show him some of the innovation that we are doing,” said Bullock. “One of the projects we are very excited about is community charging stations… we are going to have more community charging stations to advance electrification in the community.”

Join the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition

The Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition is dedicated to creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and rural infrastructure. Click HERE to join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition and learn how we are doubling down on efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities through infrastructure investments.

Take 2 Minutes to Support Your Infrastructure Bill

 

Take Our Infrastructure Survey    Infrastructure Report     Infrastructure Coalition

 

Contact the Senate Infrastructure Committee Today and Ask Them to Vote “Yes” on SB 7068

On March 5, 2019, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee will hear a Florida Chamber-backed infrastructure and growth bill (SB 7068) that mirrors much of the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition Infrastructure Report.

SB 7068 outlines Senate President Bill Galvano’s “Innovation in Infrastructure” plan. Specifically, it looks to expand multi-use corridors from Polk County to Collier County, Suncoast Parkway Extension to Georgia, and Northern Turnpike Connector (Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway). As part of a larger plan that includes not only traditional transportation elements like roads, bridges and sea/airports, but also includes utility and communication resources, clean water and reliable broadband connectivity.

We Need Your Support

The Florida Chamber supports SB 7068 but we need your help to ensure Florida’s infrastructure doesn’t get left behind. Contact members of the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee TODAY and urge them to vote yes on SB 7068.

President Bill Galvano’s Smart Infrastructure Proposal Gets a Hearing

 

Download the Infrastructure Report      Join the Infrastructure Coalition

 

Florida Chamber Supports President’s ‘Innovation in Infrastructure’ Plan

With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, and already more than 118 million people visiting Florida annually, smart infrastructure investments for the coming growth is more important than ever.

As the Florida Chamber announced last year, we are doubling down on our efforts to accelerate Florida forward. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recently released its Infrastructure Report, which outlines key goals and strategies to ensure infrastructure systems respond to Florida’s changing needs.

Senate President Bill Galvano is championing “Innovation in Infrastructure” during the 2019 Legislative Session, and in fact, is using much of the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Report as the baseline for his efforts.

“We have a responsibility to not only meet today’s needs, but also to anticipate tomorrow’s demands, including a focus on revitalizing historic rural Florida communities,” President Galvano said recently.

Today, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee held a workshop to discuss President Galvano’s infrastructure plans as they relate to multi-use corridors. These multi-use corridors, Polk County to Collier County, Suncoast Parkway Extension to Georgia, and Northern Turnpike Connector (Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway), are part of a larger plan that includes not only traditional transportation elements like roads, bridges and sea/airports, it also includes utility and communication resources, clean water and reliable broadband connectivity.

 “The Florida Chamber is pleased to work side-by-side with President Galvano to help ensure Florida’s infrastructure systems are prepared to meet our future population demand and support the continued economic growth of our state,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Thank President Bill Galvano

Please take a moment to send a quick email thanking President Galvano for putting the needs of Florida’s infrastructure systems on top of his 2019 legislative priority list. Contact Senate President Galvano at galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov.

Join The Infrastructure Coalition

Click here to learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition.Contact Alice Ancona at aancona@flchamber.com to learn how you can you can join this effort.

Are Florida’s Infrastructure Systems Ready for 2030?

 

Register

 

Join Statewide Leaders at Florida’s Growth & Infrastructure Summit Register Today

How will Florida handle the increase in population that is expected by 2030 and how do we prepare for this growth? Join business and industry leaders from around Florida at the Growth and Infrastructure Summit to discuss these issues and more:

  • Florida’s transportation opportunities,
  • The future of Florida’s Trade & Logistics 2.0 report,
  • Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition,
  • Autonomous Florida, and
  • Florida’s current and future infrastructure needs.

Florida Chamber Foundation 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit
December 11, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Healthy Life Center at Babcock Ranch
42880 Crescent Loop, Suite 100
Babcock Ranch, FL 33982

Attendees will also take a deeper dive into the Infrastructure and Growth Leadership portion of Florida 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s three-year, multi-million dollar research project- and learn what more than 10,000 Florida leaders said about Florida’s future.

Registration Open for Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition Webinar

 

Take Our Infrastructure Survey    Infrastructure Coalition     The Florida Scorecard

 

Adequately preparing for INFRASTRUCTURE to support Florida’s growing population and increasing visitors will require a unified voice from Florida’s business community. Be sure to mark your calendars for the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition’s next webinar on Tuesday, July 31 where business leaders will discuss Florida’s future infrastructure needs, as well as other key factors.

Get Involved

While other states have failed to be responsible stewards of their infrastructure, Florida’s public and private sectors continue to invest in infrastructure at record levels, even funding the federal share of many projects. It is important for Florida’s business community to work together to ensure Florida does not get shortchanged on any future federal funding because other states failure to invest in their infrastructure. YOUR help is needed. Click here to join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition today.

Join Senator Bill Galvano for a Discussion on Florida’s Future Infrastructure Growth

Creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and rural infrastructure is a vital part of effectively preparing for Florida’s future infrastructure needs.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, chaired by Ananth Prasad, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders Association, is committed to leading this discussion. Join us for a webinar on June 26 where Senator Bill Galvano, Florida Senate President Designate, will share why one of his biggest priorities as Senate President will be Florida’s infrastructure needs.

The Webinar Will Also Feature Discussions About:

  • MOBILITY:
    Opportunities for better integration – leveraging innovation and technology for infrastructure development which improves accessibility.
  • ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: 
    Advancing the development of rural infrastructure and future corridors that are cross-sector focused – addressing energy, digital and connectivity gaps.
  • COMMERCE:
    Advancing strategic infrastructure investments that support and expand global competitiveness and position Florida as the hub for trade and logistics.

 

Confirmed Speakers:

Get Involved

For more information on the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, click here or contact Alice Ancona at (850) 521-1210 or aancona@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Doubles Down On Infrastructure and Growth Leadership Efforts

Infrastructure Coalition to Serve as Unified Voice of Business Preparing for Florida’s Future Growth

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 4, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a reinforced undertaking of its long and steady infrastructure and growth leadership efforts. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will serve as the unified voice of business preparing for Florida’s future growth.

 

“With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, a growing Florida means a growing need for infrastructure to support our increasing population and increasing visitors,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s renewed focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

 

“Florida’s economy will reach $1 trillion by the end of 2018, and it’s important that we continue to focus on strategic, innovative and transformative infrastructure investments that will allow Florida to continue to compete and succeed on a global scale,” said SENATE PRESIDENT DESIGNATE BILL GALVANO, who has placed infrastructure among his top legislative priorities. “By working together with the business community and the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, we can ensure a prosperous future for Florida.”

 

Ananth Prasad, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, and former Department of Transportation Secretary will spearhead the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition. During Prasad’s time as Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, he continued to protect Florida’s Transportation Trust Fund, allowing fundamental infrastructure projects to flourish. He is also credited with creating historic investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure.

 

“As we look toward the future of infrastructure in Florida, we must dream big,” said ANANTH PRASAD, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association. “Tourism is up, Florida’s population continues to grow, and now, we must match it with innovations in every mode of infrastructure to move people and goods more efficiently.”

 

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will soon travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation during National Infrastructure Week. The Infrastructure Coalition will provide its list of recommended infrastructure investments to state and federal leaders.

 

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition by visiting www.FloridaChamber.com/Infrastructure

 

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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.

Mosaic on Becoming More Globally Competitive

Mosaic is the world’s largest supplier of phosphate and potash but is looking to stay competitive in a rapidly growing industry. Karen Swager, Vice President of mining at Mosaic, said improvements in global phosphate mining has motivated the company to revamp its own practices.

“We are in the process of transformation and what we are trying to do is ensure that all of our assets remain competitive in the market as they continue to evolve. Central Florida used to be the center of the universe for the phosphate industry,” Swager said. “Recently, more deposits in the world are becoming economic and are being developed, particularly over the past decade. Africa and the Middle Eastern are some of the areas where this is happening and they are being constructed with the latest and best technology.”

One aspect of the company that is transforming is the participation of Mosaic employees. Input from ground-level workers has been integral to the development of new ideas. By bringing them into the process, Swager said employees have a greater sense of involvement in the company’s new direction.

“In order for us to remain competitive, we really need to develop a culture that is focused on innovation and reliability. We’ve really engaged our employees in this effort and have a very strong pipeline to the front line,” Swager said. “We are eliminating some of the red tape and bureaucracy from the past, which may have stymied some of the decision making in these areas and some of the innovation that our employees are quite proud of.”

The decision-making process isn’t the only change the company is making. In 2017, Mosaic completed the largest land acquisition in the company’s history. The company purchased Vale Fertilizantes in Brazil for $2.5 billion, a move Swager said is still paying dividends. The goal was to increase the company’s international presence and strengthen its presence domestically.

“I think the acquisition of Vale Fertilizantes is going to have tremendous benefits for Mosaic. It certainly enlarged our footprint in one of the fastest growing agricultural markets. It is going to ensure that the whole company benefits from that growth,” Swager said. “In addition, that newer, bigger footprint in South America will ensure that we remain the producer of choice for our customers in America. With a broader asset base in the hemisphere, it makes it harder for offshore competitors to compete and penetrate these markets.”

In addition to land expansion, Mosaic is also ramping up efforts in the Tampa Bay community. The Company partners with the Tampa Bay Lightning on the Goals for Food program. Since the program’s inception, Mosaic has provided nearly a half-million dollars to local food banks.

“We’re really a producer of agricultural commodities and it’s such a primary mission to help the world grow the food that it needs. What a lot of us know is unfortunately in our own back yard there’s thousands of families that lack certainty on where their next meal is going to come from,” Swager said. “There is no better brand to associate with in Tampa than the Lightning and they have helped raise the profile of all of these organization. They’re also critical to ensuring that families that are struggling to make ends meet and are able to put food on the table.”

Swager said projects like Goals for Food are a core part of what Mosaic wants to be as a company. She added that a free market economy gives Mosaic and other companies the best opportunity to do so.

“People don’t just move here for beaches and warm weather. They move here because Florida has a vibrant economy where they can start a business and be successful,” Swager said. “That growth is enabled by Florida’s approach to free enterprise. Our property taxes are lower than most states and we have no income tax because the state is able to fund its obligations by revenues generated by this business activity.

Weyerhaeuser Wants Better Economic Development in Florida

 

Help Florida’s Economy Continue to Grow- Sign the Petition

For more than 100 years, Weyerhaeuser has worked to become the world’s premier timber, land and forest products company. Following that road has led them to become a significant presence in economic development in Florida and in the United States.

Rosemary Fagler, Manager of Economic Development with Weyerhaeuser, markets development properties ranging from residential to industrial across the company’s portfolio. She said Florida needs to improve its ability to attract new businesses through incentives.

“You have to want to be in Florida in order to come to Florida. It is not a state that knows how to recruit the larger companies here if they are competing against other states or other countries,” Fagler said. “If you’ve got a company that is coming to the state of Florida, it needs to be here for one reason or another. Its customer base is here, it has a supplier that is here or maybe they want to take advantage of the ports.”

Fagler said compared to other states, Florida is behind in terms of economic development because it doesn’t maximize the amenities that it offers. She listed Florida’s 14 deep-water ports, rail infrastructure, roadway infrastructure and lack of state income tax as potential sellers to businesses considering relocating to Florida.

“You think about the access that our state provides and yet we’re not utilizing the ability to capitalize on our rural proximity to urban and our rural proximity to amazing infrastructure. We’re just not leveraging that like other states are,” Fagler said. “It’s a shame because Florida, just by its shape, its climate, its rate of growth and all of the infrastructure that it has, should be leading in economic development as well as exporting.”

Weyerhaeuser has two projects underway in Florida, the North Florida Mega Industrial Park in Lake City and Hawthorne Industry Park in Hawthorne. These projects will create economic opportunity for the residents of the two cities and its surrounding areas.

“We have a heart for rural economic development. Part of that is because we are the largest private landowner in the world, so we own a lot of rural [properties]. We have 13 million acres in 20 states,” Fagler said. “A lot of times, rural communities don’t have an opportunity to participate in economic development because a large portion of their community is in agriculture.”

According to Weyerhaeuser, the 500-acre core of the Lake City site is designated as a 14-county catalyst site and is certified as a CSX Select Site. From both locations, a company can access Interstates 10 and 75, and all of Florida’s 14 deep-water ports. CSX’s main north/south freight line through Florida borders the eastern portion of the Hawthorne site. The site is also bordered by U.S. 301 which is Florida’s internal highway connecting Jacksonville to Tampa.

“I’m excited that the state is focusing on the attention that rural Florida needs,” Fagler said. “There has been so much investment into our ports and in order to get a return on investment, you need to have major employers that are willing to produce something that will be exported out of those ports and not just use those ports as an import.”

Since 2010, Florida has created more than 1.4 million private sector jobs and 1 in every 10 jobs in the U.S. In 2018, the Florida Chamber’s Chief Economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, predicts Florida will become a $1 trillion economy. While Florida has an economic outlook with much to look forward to, the fact is that several states and nations are targeting the same high-wage industries. We must continue to signal that Florida is open for business and ready for economic development.

“I think we are at a crossroad in Florida. Our state is growing. You look at that and people are coming here right now because they like the Florida lifestyle,” Fagler said. “If we can’t take advantage of who we are as a state and the international access that we have and then diversify that employment base, then we are going to be a service-based state. A service-based state won’t be able to survive.”

 

Help Florida’s Economy Continue to Grow

Growing and diversifying Florida’s economy is essential to creating jobs and opportunities for Floridians. Sign the petition today and help us continue to signal that Florida is open for business and ready for economic development.

Florida Chamber Urges Senate to Support HB 405, Linear Facilities

 

Download Letter     Energy Solutions

 

To: Florida Senate

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson will be heard on Wednesday, February 21th, on the Senate Special Order Calendar.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Senate Committee Passes Rural Development Bill

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee passed a bill today that champions rural business opportunities by providing additional resources for rural economic development.

SB 1646, sponsored by Senator Bill Montford would increase funding and decrease matching requirements for Rural Areas of Opportunity to use for economic development.  Additionally, the bill allows the Rural Infrastructure Fund to be used for access and availability of broadband internet.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has long supported Florida’s rural communities, and in particular, believes diversifying Florida’s economy will help grow jobs and economic growth in underserved communities.

This bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.

Get Involved

Learn more about diversifying Florida’s economy by downloading our Economic Development one-pager today.

The Future of Florida’s Rural Communities

Addressing Workforce Training, Increasing Connectivity to the Internet, Ensuring Economic Prosperity Will Help Create Economic Growth

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2017) – The Florida Chamber Foundation today joined leaders at the Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee to discuss job creation and economic development in Florida’s rural communities.

“When the recession hit, Florida was one of the states hit the hardest and the longest,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “What our Florida 2030 research continues to show us is that jobs and economic opportunity matter.”

Dr. Jerry Parrish presented research findings during a panel focused on rural economic development. Other panelist included: Amy Baker of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Laura Youmans, Associate Director with the Florida Association of Counties, and Antonio Jefferson, the City Manager of Gretna, Gadsden County.

 

Research compiled by the Florida Chamber Foundation and presented today shows major trends in Florida’s rural communities:

  • While recovery from the great recession has been uneven, Florida is better than the national average: From 2007 to December 2016, 46.3% of Florida’s counties have more jobs now, compared to the U.S. average of 37.5%.
  • Some Florida counties, particularly rural counties, are losing population, meaning that those left in a community will be faced with paying higher taxes. One solution to this is to expand jobs and a community’s tax base through job creation, entrepreneurship training, and opportunities for growth
  • Increasing connectivity, from transportation to access to internet, could be one key to furthering rural economic development efforts and could help diversify Florida’s workforce.
  • Research found in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Less Poverty, Through More Prosperity Report shows that some of Florida’s rural areas are highly correlated with high poverty rates. The report also highlights the dual-causality between poverty and disability, meaning those living in poverty are often disabled, and those who have a disability are more likely to live in poverty.

Click here to download the full presentation or to request more data from Dr. Jerry Parrish.

The Florida Chamber Foundation traveled to each of Florida’s 67 counties and heard from more than 10,000 Floridians as part of its Florida 2030 initiative. As we prepare for 2030, Florida is estimated to have 26 million residents and we will need 2 million net new jobs. Focusing on economic prosperity for both individuals and businesses will ensure Florida can prepare for 2030 and beyond.

“By working on this issue, you aren’t just working on rural prosperity,” said Dr. Parrish. “You’re actually working on economic prosperity for all Floridians.”

 

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