House Committee Advances Anti-Economic Development & Tourism Bill

Next Stop, House Floor Vote

On February 21, the Florida House Appropriations Committee voted by a 18-12 margin to advance HB 7005, a bill that would end economic diversification efforts in Florida, including eliminating the economic development toolkit, international programs, marketing and small business assistance. Additionally, this bill cuts tourism marketing funding by 67 percent.

Despite overwhelming opposition from citizens in attendance and over 20,000 emails sent to lawmakers by Florida Chamber members opposing the bill, the conversation of eliminating Enterprise Florida and two dozen important programs will now move to the Florida House Floor.

The Florida Chamber believes the state must continue to fund initiatives that support diversifying the economy and attracting visitors and businesses to our state. HB 7005 has already generated national media attention and sends a signal that Florida’s state legislature is no longer an active partner in‎ job creation, diversifying our economy, ‎or supporting our important tourism sector.

Looking ahead, your efforts and comments will continue to be needed. So please, “stay tuned” for additional announcements on how you can help. We hope you will continue to join our fight to oppose any efforts to dismantle the state’s necessary and results-proven role in economic development and tourism marketing.

Thank These Legislators Who Supported Our Tourism Industry and Economic Diversification With Their Votes AGAINST HB 7005 Today:

  • Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs),, (954) 346-2848
  • Rep. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach),, (561) 374-7850
  • Rep. Bobby DuBose (D-Fort Lauderdale),, (954) 467-4206
  • Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise),, (954) 838-1372
  • Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton),, (561) 470-6607
  • Rep. Shev Jones (D-West Park),, (954) 893-5010
  • Rep. Kionne McGhee (D-Cutler Bay),, (305) 256-6301
  • Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo),, (305) 453-1202
  • Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach),, (305) 535-5426
  • Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka),, (305) 953-3086
  • Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston),, (954) 217-0287
  • Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala),, (352) 291-4436


Send Your Concerns to These Legislators Who Opposed Our Tourism Industry and Economic Diversification With Their Votes FOR HB 7005 Today:

  • Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Doral), or (305) 470-5070
  • Rep. George Moraitis (R-Ft. Lauderdale), or (954) 762-3757
  • Rep. Larry Ahern (R-Seminole),, (727) 395-2512
  • Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow),, (863) 534-0073
  • Rep. Michael Bileca (R-Miami),, (305) 273-3235
  • Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford),, (407) 302-4800
  • Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa),, (813) 673-4673
  • Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park),, (904) 278-5761
  • Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz (R-Miami),, (305) 442-6800
  • Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens),, (305) 364-3072
  • Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill),, (352) 688-5004
  • Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola),, (850) 494-7330
  • Rep. Larry Metz (R-Groveland),, (352) 989-9134
  • Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami),, (305) 227-7630
  • Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Hialeah),, (305) 364-3114
  • Rep. Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City),, (386) 719-4600
  • Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers),, (239) 433-6501
  • Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater),, (727) 793-2810

What’s Next?

As indicated below, HB 7005 goes to the House Floor for it’s next vote.

Thank Sen. Jack Latvala for Supporting Economic Diversification and Tourism

During the February 9 committee meeting, Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) continued to be outspoken in his support of state programs that provide economic diversification, job creation and tourism marketing. Please take one minute, right now, to thank Sen. Latvala for his support of Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.

Is Florida Closing For Business?


On Wednesday, February 8 at 1 p.m., the Florida House Careers & Competition Subcommittee will take up proposed legislation that will completely eliminate Florida’s economic development and tourism agencies. PCB CCS 17-01 will eliminate Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA, as well as several dozen programs and organizations that have helped make Florida a leader in job growth and economic diversification.

This legislation sends a signal that Florida’s state government is no longer an active partner in‎ job creation, diversifying our economy, ‎or supporting our important tourism sector. Additionally, the bill does the following:

  • Ends economic diversification and tourism marketing efforts in Florida, including eliminating the economic development toolkit, international programs, marketing, and small business assistance;
  • Raises Taxes– Early estimates show that this legislation could increase taxes by $89.1 million. In addition, on average, Florida households save $1,535 a year as a result of visitor activity driving increased revenue to the state;
  • Hurts Jobs– Every 85 visitors account for 1 job in Florida. Enterprise Florida is in the business of attracting high-wage jobs and high-growth industries; and
  • Makes Florida Uncompetitive– Nearly every state has similar programs, and this legislation will put Florida at a competitive disadvantage in attracting businesses and visitors. If we could compete on our sunshine-soaked beaches and lack of income tax alone, we would win. But the fact is, our competitors are not giving up this important economic development tool anytime soon.

Wednesday’s hearing will be important to save Florida’s economic development and tourism efforts. Come to Tallahassee to share how these organizations benefit your business. The Florida Chamber will assist with registering visitors for the committee meeting, and supplying you with any additional information you might need. If you plan to attend Wednesday’s hearing, email Carolyn Johnson the following information:

  • Name and title
  • Company name:
  • Cell phone and email address:
  • Are you willing to speak to the press?
  • Are you willing to meet with legislators?

If you are unable to attend, you can still make your voice heard. Contact committee members on the importance of VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida.

The Treasure Coast Remains Open For Business

By: Joe Catrambone, Stuart-Martin Chamber of Commerce

While our estuary and waterways are under attack from the billions of gallons of releases from Lake Okeechobee, we continue to be concerned about the conditions it’s created for us on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Our naturally beautiful and pristine landscape has, at times, been turned into an ugly mass of blue-green growth, restricting most water-related activities for our citizens. Certainly it has affected many of us that enjoy fishing, paddle boarding, diving and even bathing in the waters surrounding our community. We have been inundated with negative publicity from coast to coast, receiving calls from many newspapers asking “are your beaches really closed?” or “do your residents have to wear respirators/masks to avoid toxic fumes,” “have all of your winter residents cancelled their reservations for the winter months?”

In spite of hardships, the treasure coast is still strong, beautiful and prosperous. Our hotels have experienced a bit of a setback, however reservations for our November – April season remain strong as do our seasonal condo rentals- our realtors tell us we are booked for the season.

Our community is diversified and offers many non-water related activities. Business in general remains robust, nothing more than a normal drop-off during our summer months. We are a golfer’s paradise, home of more than 35 golf courses. Palm City and western Martin County house an enormous equestrian experience with pristine trails to enjoy. Downtown Stuart is a mecca for fine dining and one of a kind shopping all in walking distance of each other. We have museums, art galleries and theaters for enjoyment of all ages.

When blue-green algae impacts our waterways, yes, we feel it. However, we have not shut and locked the doors, we remain open for business!

By building a community that is diverse and rich in all that Florida has to offer, Stuart-Martin County is proving that Florida really is the best place to visit, live, work and play.

Joe Catrambone is the President and CEO of the Stuart-Martin Chamber of Commerce.

Chancellor Criser Discusses Role of State Universities in Florida’s Innovation Economy

To help meet Florida’s future workforce needs, state universities are increasing their efforts to communicate with the business community to prepare students to enter high-wage, high skills jobs after graduation. Building these partnerships becomes increasingly important considering Florida’s labor demand in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields has increased by more than 63 percent since 2010. Currently, there are more than 55,000 unfilled STEM jobs in Florida.

Former Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and current State University System of Florida Chancellor Marshall Criser, III recently shared his thoughts on the benefits of state universities working with one another to drive innovation, increase accountability measures, and ensure students are informed before making crucial higher education decisions.

“We have begun a lot of great work in Florida…to become more competitive on a national basis in terms of attracting the kinds of research grants and the funding that will come to those projects so we’re able to grow those programs,” said Chancellor Criser.

Chancellor Criser has been recognized by the Florida Chamber Foundations and other organizations for his efforts to support of Florida’s innovation economy. During the interview, Chancellor Criser also emphasized the connection between a quality education and career opportunities by discussing the new and innovative ways state university students are receiving hands-on workforce experience.

“What we’re seeing as a result of this focus on accountability is a greater use of mentorships, a greater use of internships, and more partnerships with businesses in our communities,” explained Chancellor Criser. “So that our students have a hands-on, face-to-face opportunity to work with businesses.”

“We need to build a greater awareness of what the talent resource is that is coming out of our universities,” said Chancellor Criser. “At the same time, our universities need to continue to listen to the business community in terms of what they expect for the workforce in the future.”

Join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Innovation Caucus by emailing and let us know what areas interest you the most, from economic diversification, entrepreneurship, and innovation to capital investments, international trade and more.

Get Involved:

Join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Innovation and Economic Development Caucus by emailing and let us know what areas interest you the most, from economic diversification, entrepreneurism, innovation to capital investments, international trade and more.