In a testimony before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson told lawmakers that Florida will rebound from Irma.
During his remarks to the committee, which is chaired by Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), Wilson encouraged lawmakers to focus on continuous improvement and to join forces with the private sector to help secure Florida’s future. Click here to read Wilson’s testimony.
Irma yielded the largest evacuation in U.S. history, and as Wilson explained, there’s no question we’ll learn lessons from this storm. From an economic outlook perspective, Wilson testified that:
- Tax revenue likely won’t keep up with storm expenses,
- Job growth will continue to slow,
- A gap in skilled labor – particularly for home repairs and rebuilding – will hurt in the short-term, and
- Lawsuit chasers, as highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, “are trying to milk the public’s pain for their own gain.” Wilson encouraged lawmakers to side with consumers in frivolous class action claims.
Looking forward, he applauded state leaders for making smart public policy decisions to reduce exposure and spread risk in Citizens Property Insurance and Florida’s CAT Fund. However, he warned that the tsunami of assignment of benefit-related claims that have flooded the market – unrelated to Hurricane Irma – are causing property insurance rates to skyrocket. He encouraged lawmakers to make meaningful reforms this session.
Wilson was joined on the panel by partners in Florida’s business community, including:
- Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
- Ken Lawson, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
- Michelle Dennard, President and CEO, CareerSource Florida
- Cheryl Kirby, Associate State Director, Florida SBDC
- Lance Lozano, Chief Operating Officer, Florida United Business Association
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Support local chambers in need of relief following Hurricane Irma by contributing to the Florida Chamber Local Chamber Relief Fund.