Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils 2015 Competitiveness Agenda
By: Edie Ousley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
Jobs, Growth and Opportunity Are Top
Priorities for Florida’s Business Community
TALLAHASSEE, FL. (January 30, 2014) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its 2015 Competitiveness Agenda and announced it will focus its resources and expertise to advance a jobs, growth and opportunity agenda. The Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda is Florida’s business agenda to build on securing Florida’s future through private-sector job creation, economic growth and greater opportunities for all Floridians.
Chief among the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda are:
- Lowering the cost of living and the cost of doing business through targeted tax reforms,
- Launching a major regulatory reform initiative,
- Securing long-term, sustainable solutions for Florida’s water needs, and
- Championing additional education reforms for a globally competitive workforce.
Looking at Florida’s economic horizon, it’s clear Florida is making positive strides. More than 725,000 private-sector jobs have been created since Governor Rick Scott was first elected, nearly 3,000 regulations have been eliminated or improved, taxes have been cut and Florida is now the third most populous state in the nation. Looking forward, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish projects that Florida will add approximately 250,000 new private-sector jobs in 2015 and grow by approximately 280,000 new residents.
However, while Florida is moving in the right direction, now is not the time to become complacent.
“The Florida Chamber encourages our state’s leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause – and that cause is stronger and sustainable economic growth in order to expand opportunities for all Floridians,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida is in competition for private-sector jobs with other states, and therefore we must ensure a tax, regulatory and litigation climate that is welcoming to job growth, ensure that we have a talented workforce to fill those jobs and ensure that Florida’s water and transportation resources are sustainable to meet the long-term needs of our growing population.”
Based on input from the Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business from 2014, the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda is a blueprint of legislative priorities that move Florida toward an innovation-based economy and put long-term economic policy decisions ahead of short-term political fixes.
Lowering the Cost of Living on Florida Families
To lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business, the Florida Chamber recommends:
- Reducing cell phone taxes (communication services tax),
- Reducing taxes on commercial leases,
- Preventing “hurricane taxes” through property insurance reforms,
- Eliminating the $1.4 billion “hidden healthcare tax” on insured Floridians,
- Reducing the $3,400 per family “lawsuit abuse tax,”
- Further reducing the corporate income tax, and
Vigorously Pursuing Additional Regulatory Reform
With nearly 3,000 state level regulations eliminated by Governor Scott and the legislature, Florida’s regulatory climate is improving. However, burdensome local and federal regulations continue to impede job creation. To further improve Florida’s business climate, the Florida Chamber recommends:
- Aligning local regulations to more closely mirror Florida’s regulatory framework – especially in the area of multi-jurisdictional permitting processes and workplace regulations, and
- Continue pushing back on burdensome federal regulations that kill jobs and stifle innovation.
Securing Florida’s Water Future
To secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber recommends:
- Identifying and investing in cost-effective water projects,
- Identifying and developing sustainable water resources,
- Promoting private investments in surface water storage and water quality improvement,
- Promoting regional water supply solutions, and
- Prioritizing the use of science-based regulatory programs.
Championing Education Reform for
a Globally Competitive Workforce
Talent is the new economic development currency. A quality education is the best way to ensure students can compete in a global economy, and therefore the Florida Chamber recommends:
- Championing school choice,
- Supporting global standards for college and career readiness,
- Leveraging innovation via digital and virtual education,
- Supporting global standards for college and career readiness, and
- Empowering teachers through professional development and benefit options.
A complete listing of the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda which outlines more than 30 priorities the Florida Chamber will be lobbying, tracking and scoring this legislative session, is outlined in Where We Stand and available at www.FloridaChamber.com.
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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.