Florida Chamber President Provides Hurricane Irma Economic Outlook During Testimony Before Senate Commerce Committee


Read Testimony   Fight AOB Fraud    Local Chamber Relief Fund


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


Call on the Legislature to Fight AOB Fraud

Fight back against the growing storm of assignment of benefits fraud. Sign the petition and call on the Legislature to stop this “Category 5 hurricane.”


Support Local Chambers in Need

Support local chambers in need of relief following Hurricane Irma by contributing to the Florida Chamber Local Chamber Relief Fund.

CareerSource Florida President: Right Skills at the Right Time Matter

As the Florida Jobs 2030 report points out, industry input is key to Florida’s success. CareerSource Florida is holding workshops and has established leadership councils based around this report to “think about what the talent needs are for those industries that are so important to Florida’s economy.”

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, estimates that nearly 2 million net new jobs will need to be created between now and 2030. Florida’s workforce is key to ensuring a future that can create economic opportunities and jobs for all Floridians. That’s why a long-term lens on what workforce means to businesses in Florida is important.

As Dennard explains:

The CareerSource Florida network served over 80,000 businesses last year in recruiting, training and hiring needs. What we found, was that the need for businesses to have the right skills at the right time available to support their business is critical to moving Florida’s economy forward. Creating a long-term sustainable talent pipeline can move these opportunities from being transactional – or meeting the needs of an individual business— to transformational, changing the lives of Florida families and ensuring that sustainable talent pipeline for businesses.

You can be part of this conversation.

Register today to attend the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Learners to Earners Education Summit.

Future Workforce Needs To Remain a Florida Focus

Earlier this week, I spoke to the Florida State Board of Education Workforce Workshop on Florida’s workforce trends, and current and future job demand. Joined by representatives from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity as well as CareerSource Florida, I used TheFloridaScorecard.org to show what metrics Florida’s business leaders are tracking at the state and county levels.

By 2030, Florida will need two million net new jobs. Will our state be ready to fill those jobs? According to data shown on TheFloridaScorecard.org, high school graduation rates, college affordability and educational attainment are improving, but are they improving fast enough to meet the growing needs of Florida businesses?

For a county-by-county view of how your community is performing, check out TheFloridaScorecard.org and let us know what you think and share your ideas on how we can improve Florida’s talent pipeline.

Learn More:

Watch our recently released Florida Wins education video that shows how we can help turn today’s learners, into tomorrow’s earners.

2 out of 3 Jobs in Florida Come from Small Business

What do Publix Supermarkets, AutoNation and Darden Restaurants have in common? They’re all Fortune 500 companies that started as Florida small businesses.

As we celebrate National Small Business Week, we cannot deny the impact that small businesses have to Florida’s economy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 99 percent of Florida companies are small businesses. Since the end of the recession, small businesses are responsible for the majority of job growth and are the state’s largest participants in international trade, producing 65 percent of Florida-origin exports. Yet small businesses are often hindered by lack of capital financing, rising healthcare costs and workforce challenges.

“Small businesses are the foundation of our communities,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and State Director of the Florida SBDC Network. “Small businesses help create new markets, transform communities, and stimulate economic growth. National Small Business Week is a great opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate their impact and the valuable employment opportunities that they provide for Floridians.”

But to continue leading as a small business state, Florida must continue to support funding, training and development for Florida’s small businesses. To help in this arena, the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council works directly with state and national leaders to pass important small business legislation such as the elimination of the manufacturing sales tax in Florida and reducing sales tax on business rentals.

Additional resources for small businesses include access to consulting and training and export counseling services through the Florida SBDC Network; grant funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA); capital programs administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and workforce assistance through CareerSource Florida.

Share Your Story:

What does your business need to succeed? Email jparrish@flfoundation.org and share your story. If you would like to provide feedback in the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey, click here.

Get Involved:

If you would like to be part of the Florida Chamber Small Business Council’s unified voice in the mission to secure Florida’s future, sign up today.

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.