Florida Chamber Healthcare Partnership Survey


Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees is seeking your input on the CDC’s newest guidelines regarding masks and cloth coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.



Florida Chamber Healthcare Partnership Survey
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Small Business Loan Survey


There are several loan programs to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Senator Marco Rubio worked extensively on the CARES Act, which primarily benefits small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program.  As we continue conversations with Senator Rubio, the congressional delegation, our partners in the banking industry and at the SBA and SBDC, your input will help us guide future changes to these lending program to ensure small businesses are getting the support that they need.



Small Business Loan Survey
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Senate Tax Package Benefits Families and Job Creators

Senate Tax Package Unveiled in Final Days of Session

On March 11, 2020, the Senate released its initial version of the 2020 tax package in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposed Senate tax package mirrors many provisions of the House tax package and is set to be heard on the Senate floor tomorrow, March 12.

The Senate tax package contains the following Florida Chamber-backed provisions:

• A reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent;
• A reduction in the state communication services tax by 0.5 percent;
• Reauthorization of the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund program which was set to expire on June 30th without legislative action; and
• Back-to-school and disaster preparedness sales tax holidays.

Additionally, the original Senate proposal included a simplified version of the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) compared to the House tax package, and would have allowed only certain qualified counties to use TDT revenue for water quality improvement projects. An amendment in committee completely removed the language, ensuring TDT funds are only available for what’s currently allowable under state law, such as tourism marketing.

Finally, the Senate tax package contained a rewrite of the House’s proposal to recalculate the property-tax exemption for non-profit hospitals. The Florida Chamber and its members are still reviewing this language to ensure that hospitals are not needlessly targeted.

Initial negotiations with the House shaped today’s tax package, but several unplanned amendments means more work remains between the two chambers to agree on a final product.

Additionally, Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Rob Bradley warned that the final allocation of money for the tax package may be reduced as budget negotiations continue in the final days of session.

Help Us Make A Difference

How does the Senate tax proposal impact you? Contact Carolyn Johnson and share your thoughts at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

DEO’s Ken Lawson Shares Importance of Investing in VISIT FLORIDA, the QTI Program, and Communities Impacted by Hurricanes

With the Florida Legislature currently putting finishing touches on Florida’s next state budget, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity CEO Ken Lawson tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that Floridians enjoy a friendly tax climate because of Florida’s visitors contributing to the economy.

“By virtue of tourism, we’re not paying a state income tax. Out-of-state tourists are investing in Florida, spending money across the state, that means that’s increasing our tax base. So, it’s very important that VISIT FLORIDA is funded to help market the state across the country and the world.”

-Director Ken Lawson
CEO, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Director Lawson, Florida’s top economic development leader, also shared the importance of not letting the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) program sunset.

“QTI is a great tool for small, medium and large communities across Florida. This tool causes companies to create jobs in aerospace, finance and diversified areas,” he explained about the program that allows job creators who invest in their business, create jobs and pay their taxes, to seek tax refunds based on their investment.

Director Lawson also highlights how DEO is playing a vital role in helping with long-term hurricane disaster recovery.

“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, DEO is fully committed to long-term disaster recovery, ensuring they put funds out across the State of Florida,” Lawson said. “With Hurricane Irma, we awarded $300 million so far, with Hurricane Michael we are working on our state action plan.”

Call, Text, Email Your Lawmaker

Florida’s businesses need your support. Reach out to your lawmakers and encourage them to support continuing Florida’s QTI program and VISIT FLORIDA. Find your Representative HERE. Find your Senator HERE.

The Florida Chamber also has a goal for every community to have resiliency plans in times of natural disaster. Tell us HERE about your community’s resiliency plan.

Florida’s Top Economic Development Leader Pushes for VISIT FLORIDA and Qualified Targeted Industry Investments

Shares How Florida’s DEO is Helping with Long-Term Hurricane Disaster Relief

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (February 25, 2020) – With the Florida Legislature currently putting finishing touches on Florida’s next state budget, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity CEO Ken Lawson tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that Floridians enjoy a friendly tax climate because of Florida’s visitors contributing to the economy.

“By virtue of tourism, we’re not paying a state income tax,” said Lawson. “Out-of-state tourists are investing in Florida, spending money across the state, that means that’s increasing our tax base. So, it’s very important that VISIT FLORIDA is funded to help market the state across the country and the world.”

Director Lawson, Florida’s top economic development leader, also shared the importance of not letting the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) program sunset.

“QTI is a great tool for small, medium and large communities across Florida. This tool causes companies to create jobs in aerospace, finance and diversified areas,” he explained about the program that allows job creators who invest in their business, create jobs and pay their taxes, to seek tax refunds based on their investment.

Director Lawson also highlights how DEO is playing a vital role in helping with long-term hurricane disaster recovery.

“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, DEO is fully committed to long-term disaster recovery, ensuring they put funds out across the State of Florida,” Lawson said. “With Hurricane Irma, we awarded $300 million so far, with Hurricane Michael we are working on our state action plan.”

Click HERE to watch the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program.

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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.

$150 Million in Possible Tax Savings

Initial Florida House Tax Package Offers $150 Million in Savings

Florida families and job creators could see savings on cell phones, the business rent tax, back-to-school shopping and more under the initial tax package the Florida House proposed. In total, the House’s tax package calls for $150 million in savings, and is a starting point as the House and Senate prepare to negotiate the state’s budget in the remaining weeks of the 2020 Legislative Session.

The House’s tax savings package includes Florida Chamber-backed targeted tax savings, including:

• A reduction of the Communications Services Tax by 0.5 percent,
• A reduction of the Business Rent Tax from 5.5 to 5.4 percent, or $30 million,
• A three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday on clothing less than $60, and on the first $1,000 on computers, and
• A seven-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.

The initial House tax package also included other tax policy changes, some that would impact industries differently. These changes include:

• Allowing the use of Tourism Development Tax dollars for water quality improvement projects,
• Changing how the property tax exemption is calculated for non-profit hospitals,
• Increasing the aviation fuel tax refund for certain carriers from 1.41 cents per gallon to 2.38 cents per gallon,
• Allowing the use of the local option food and beverage tax to be used for water quality improvement projects, and
• An increase in the brownfields tax credit.
The Senate will release its tax proposals in the coming weeks. The Florida Chamber will continue to monitor in an effort to advocate for smarter and competitive tax policies. Join us in this effort by signing this petition.

Share the Impact to Your Business

Contact Carolyn Johnson at 850-521-1235 or cjohnson@flchamber.com to share how some of these proposals will impact your business.

Cutting Taxes on Florida Families…

Floridians Pay the Ninth Highest CST in the Country

Did you know that nearly every Floridian pays a communications services tax (CST)? Those are taxes charged on landline and mobile phones, cable television and satellite services, by both your local government and the state.

Worse yet, Floridians are paying the ninth highest CST in the country.

The Florida Chamber is working to reduce the CST by lowering the local CST rate in favor of a more streamlined rate system. Doing so will:

• Lower costs on families and job creators, and
• Make Florida more competitive by increasing predictability for businesses.

Please join us in thanking Senator Travis Hutson for advancing this Florida Chamber-backed bill. Email Senator Hutson at Hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov.

Qualified Targeted Industries Help Create High-Wage Jobs

Did you know that targeting certain industries will help diversify and expand Florida’s economy and create high-wage jobs?

Industries such as aviation and aerospace, informational technology, manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and others help to diversify Florida’s economy, create high paying jobs and increase economic output.

Right now, Florida’s industry diversification ranking is 19th in the U.S. We believe we can and must do better, and we’ve made it our goal to grow Florida’s industry diversification into the top 12.

On January 21, a Florida Senate committee took a step closer to extending the Qualified Targeted Industry (QTI) Tax Refund program for existing and relocating companies that create new, full-time jobs paying at least 115 percent of the private-sector annual average wage in these targeted industries. Additionally, the bill encourages recovery in areas impacted by Hurricane Michael by relaxing certain requirements of the QTI Tax Refund Program.

Thank you, Senator Joe Gruters, for sponsoring SB 922, and for supporting an innovation economy.

Call, Text, Email Your Lawmaker

Senator Gruters needs your support, and that’s why the Florida Chamber encourages members and partners to reach out to your lawmaker and ask them to extend QTI – the Qualified Targeted Industry program. Find your Representative HERE. Find your Senator HERE.

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.

EXCLUSIVE: Your Free 2020 Economic Outlook Awaits

We’re Not Willing to Tax Florida’s Future Away

Florida is fortunate to be home to 19 Fortune 500 companies – employers that are directly producing thousands of private-sector jobs, playing a strong role in Florida’s vibrant economy, paying and collecting billions in taxes and contributing their time, talents and resources to many of Florida’s philanthropic organizations who then put hundreds of millions of dollars into helping those who can’t help themselves.

Yet once again, these job creators are under attack. They are the “boogie man” for activist journalism which, far too often, seeks to advance socialism over free enterprise – apparently for more clicks, likes and retweets.

Only in America could the distorted tax policy theory espoused by some at the Orlando Sentinel become a headline. And in a news cycle that rarely provides transparency for both sides of an issue, it’s forcing more and more job creators like FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith to take a more challenging approach to respond when the facts don’t fit a newspapers planned narrative.

As the late great Paul Harvey would say, “Now here’s the rest of the story.”

In uniting the business community for good, the Florida Chamber is shining a light on bogus, socialist-style reports that use half-truths and innuendoes in an attempt to somehow tarnish leading job creators (a system that has Florida creating one out of 13 new U.S. jobs).

Thanks to Florida job creators, Florida’s unemployment levels are lower than the national average.

Families and businesses in high tax states like New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, and California are fleeing their states for lower tax climates that allow families to save for a rainy day, businesses to hire more employees or reinvest in their facilities, and to create an overall better quality of life. These high-tax states apparently believe government creates jobs, when we all know that the private sector creates the jobs and the paychecks that are used to buy things that, in turn, create taxes that fund our government.

It’s true that Florida has the fourth best tax climate in the country. That’s because, unlike in high-tax states, Florida’s corporate income tax reporting doesn’t mandate “combined reporting.” While that reporting style is favored by those that want to see Florida fail, it has not been roundly supported by Florida’s own economists. In fact, Florida’s own economic forecasters have said combined reporting won’t increase tax revenue, and in fact, have gone on record to say it could actually decrease revenue collections during the next economic downturn – something Florida’s education system, environment and transportation systems can’t afford.

That’s not an economic forecast we’re willing to stake Florida’s future on.

Growing Florida’s economy from the 17th in the world to the 10th largest on the planet means ensuring global competitiveness, prosperity and high paying jobs, and vibrant and resilient communities. A competitive and equitable tax system that encourages job growth and strengthens our economy will be essential in achieving this goal.

That means the Florida Chamber will once again unite businesses in Florida’s Capitol and fight for further reducing the corporate income tax, phasing out the business rent tax, leveling the online sales tax playing field, increasing the R&D tax credit to spur innovation, reducing the communications services tax and fixing Florida’s lawsuit abuse tax.

With 4.5 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, we will continue to ensure Florida is a state where jobs provide Floridians an opportunity to prosper. And we will fight for free enterprise to lead the way.

For the last decade, lawmakers have been returning hard earned tax dollars back to Floridians – through targeted tax savings like back-to-school sales tax holidays and reductions in the corporate income tax. Yet, Florida’s tax receipts continue to grow.

As Ronald Reagan used to say, if you want less of something, tax it. With all due respect to the Orlando Sentinel, we’re not willing to tax Florida’s future away.

Two Ways You Can Help:

  1. Sign the Petition to create a competitive and equitable tax system.
  2. Join us for the Florida Chamber’s premier legislative event, our 2020 Legislative Fly-In, and connect with legislators, state leaders and Florida’s top business leaders who want free enterprise to succeed.

November 20, 2019

Florida Chamber Leading the Fight to Increase R&D Tax Credits

We know research and development (R&D) tax credits are vital for companies like yours.

That’s why the Florida Chamber is uniting Florida’s business community and leading the fight in the state Capitol to increase Florida’s investment in R&D tax credits from $9 million to $50 million. In fact, we want to ensure that Florida doesn’t fall behind other states. At the Florida Chamber, we know the importance of the quality, high-wage jobs that result from R&D tax credits.

With bill sponsor Senator Joe Gruters‘ leadership, together, we can make a difference. The bill (SB 576) still has two committee stops before the real battle begins in early January, when the 2020 Legislative Session begins.

Your Voice is Needed

Make plans now and be part of the difference in helping secure R&D tax credit increases. REGISTER TO ATTEND the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Fly-In on January 14-15 in Tallahassee.

Together, we can create quality jobs by diversifying Florida’s economy.

Indexing Capital Gains Basis for Inflation

Dear Mr. President,

The Florida Chamber of Commerce strongly supports a pro-growth tax agenda and Florida’s businesses, families and economy have benefited from the monumental reforms in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. As you continue to build on these successes, I urge you to act within your executive authority to index capital gains for inflation.

Indexing capital gains for inflation ensures that taxes are only paid on the value of the real gain. Capital assets, such as stock or real estate, are generally held for long periods of time and over time the value of that asset grows. Inflation during this period makes up a portion of that gain, creating a phantom gain where the value increases but the spending power related to that asset does not.

Indexing to inflation is not a new tax policy and other portions of the federal income tax are already indexed for inflation. Indexing capital gains for inflation would encourage economic growth and could lead to additional capital investment in real estate and the financial markets. It would also result in additional spending power in the form of lower, or more accurate, taxes on the gain.

In Florida alone, nearly 1.5 million households had a capital gains filing on their income tax return and over 60 percent of these households made less than $100,000 annually. The impact of a capital gains tax is significant to middle-class Floridians and Americans, as well as the job creators that continue to make our state and national economies grow. You have the opportunity to lower that burden.

Under your leadership, the most significant tax reform in over three decades has already occurred and the United States economy has soared to new heights. Indexing of capital gains is not only smart public policy, but a chance to inject additional growth into the economy and further your legacy as President. It is within your authority to index capital gains, and we encourage you to direct the Department of Treasury to move forward on adopting these new changes to the tax code.

Sincerely,

David A. Hart
Executive Vice President
Florida Chamber of Commerce

Thank Representative Clemons for Looking Out for Small Businesses

Please join the Florida Chamber in thanking Representative Chuck Clemons for standing up for Florida businesses, protecting job creators and consumers, and taking steps to build the perfect climate for business in Florida.                    

Representative Clemons has filed a bill to level the playing field between main street local businesses and their online counterparts. Passage of HB 159 will help stop the current six percent disadvantage small businesses face compared to online businesses.
 
CLICK TO THANK REPRESENTATIVE CLEMONS.

Sales tax on goods and services is already required by both brick and mortar stores as well as online stores. Passage of HB 159 is not a tax increase. In fact, 43 of 45 states have streamlined the sales tax remittance process making it easier for online retailers to remit sales taxes. Thank you Representative Clemons for standing up for main street businesses.

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.