Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish Details The Coronavirus’ Threats on Florida’s Economy

“With companies cutting their GDP forecasts, 30-year mortgages at an eight-year low, and manufacturers idling their factories because of supply-chain issues, all of this is having an effect on Florida’s economy.”

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (February 25, 2020) – Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish says Florida should be “concerned, but not panicked” about the coronavirus’s threats on Florida’s economy.

“Yesterday the Dow dropped by more than 1,000 points, companies are cutting their GDP forecasts, 30-year mortgages are at an eight-year low, manufacturers are idling their factories because of supply chain issues. All of this is having an effect on Florida’s economy, and it could continue. This is certainly a concern, but it’s not anything to panic about,” Dr. Parrish explained in his latest Florida By The Numbers report.

According to Dr. Parrish, Florida’s most vulnerable industries include:

• International Visitors
• Cruise Passengers
• Imports/Exports
• Manufacturing Jobs

The 10-year government bond, and the three-month T-bill are now showing an inversion.

“An inversion of the yield curve has been a reliable, but not perfect signal, of a future recession. This is one of the metrics that goes into the calculation of the probability of a Florida recession which is on TheFloridaScorecard.org,” Dr. Parrish explained. “The probability of Florida being in a recession over the next nine months has now increased to 24.1 percent.”

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Florida’s Competitiveness in the New Economy

One of the most interesting national news stories over the past year has been Amazon’s quest to identify a location for its second corporate headquarters. Dozens of American cities and regions, as well parts of Canada, entered the sweepstakes to land the big prize. Recently, Amazon pared the list down to 20 “finalists.”

As one might expect, the list of finalists is quite diverse. All parts of the country are represented, as well as all types of climates – not just Mother Nature, but political, tax, and regulatory climates. However, there is one thought-provoking factor that all finalist cities have in common, which is a clear commitment to infrastructure development. More than tax levels and regulatory environments, it appears that a community’s investment in infrastructure is what truly coalesces the 20 finalists.

Many of the finalist cities have, for generations, made wholesale infrastructure investments in the foundational building blocks of the old economy. As a result, most have world-class highway systems, expansive commuter and commercial rail networks, and airports and seaports that support the movement of goods and services throughout their regions and underpin their local economies. But, it’s their investment in the modern economy (whether it’s the workforce of the future or the commercial highways of the future) that sets them apart. They are investing in the communications infrastructure that powers the digital economy, which is paramount for 21st century companies like Amazon who demand access to the best available services.

It is undeniable that the marketplace of the future lives online and will be driven by wireless connectivity. We are entering a world where almost everything imaginable, from retail to investing to healthcare delivery, will be dependent on the internet. In the past, consumers and commerce were connected by arteries of steel and concrete; now we are connected digitally through communications infrastructure systems consisting of fiber optic cables, towers, DAS networks, and small cell nodes which power our devices. Crown Castle is at the forefront of leading that change.

Our communications infrastructure will be critical to Florida’s efforts to lead in the new economy. We are working with state and local leaders and encouraging them to work together in concert with the builders of wireless networks like ours to streamline and expedite the deployment of next generation infrastructure that will serve to as the backbone for what’s known as the 5G network. We know that forward thinking in our approach to connectivity protects our future economic competitiveness.

The conversation at the local, state, and national level about communications infrastructure demonstrates how important it is to our economy, and even our national security. Crown Castle is partnering with communities across the state to build the 5G infrastructure that will help us compete in the economy of today and tomorrow.

 

Written by Crown Castle

Overall Voters Feeling Good About Florida’s Direction, But Undecided In 2018 Governor’s Race

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 11, 2018) – A majority of Florida voters believe Florida is headed in the right direction, according to the latest statewide political poll released by the Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI).

In its first statewide poll of the New Year, 56 percent of likely voters believe Florida is headed in the right direction. Although the majority of voters approve of Florida’s direction, the views differ based on party. Republicans are especially optimistic at 76 percent, more than half of NPA’s (56 percent) believe Florida is moving in the right direction, while less than half of Democrats (34 percent) believe Florida is headed in the right direction.

More than half (57 percent) of all registered voters approve of Governor Rick Scott’s job performance. Among parties, Republicans overwhelmingly approve of his performance by 82 percent, while 30 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of NPA’s approve.

Ten months before electing a new Governor, voters from both parties are beginning to consider which candidates they will support, although there are more undecided than decided candidates.

Among candidates on the Democrat ticket, Gwen Graham leads with 14 percent, however 64 percent of voters remain undecided. Philip Levine garners 7 percent, Andrew Gillum garners 6 percent and Chris King garners 1 percent.

On the Republican ticket for candidates, 23 percent support Adam Putnam and 18 percent support Ron DeSantis, while 50 percent are undecided.

 

“Voters will elect a new Governor, all new members of the Florida Cabinet and 140 members to the Florida House and Senate. It’s still very early in what will be a busy 2018 election cycle. In the coming months, voters will begin to take a much closer look at the candidates for office,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President, Political Operations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

On the issues that matter to voters, education tops the list at 17 percent, followed by jobs and the economy at 13 percent and healthcare at 12 percent. Immigration and global warming remain a concern – garnering 5 percentage points each. While issues like guns, terrorism and marijuana barely register among voters.

When considering constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot, Amendment 1 would pass if voted on today, while Amendment 2 is inching closer to the 60 percent threshold for passage.

Amendment 1 calls for increasing the homestead exemption:

  • 61 percent of voters support increasing the homestead exemption for homeowners.
  • 69 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of NPA’s and 52 percent of Democrats support increasing the homestead exemption for homeowners.

Amendment 2 would make a 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent:

  • 54 percent of likely voters support making the 10 percent cap on annual non-homesteaded property tax permanent.
  • 58 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of NPA’s and 50 percent of Democrats support making the 10 percent cap on annual non-homesteaded property tax permanent.

Beyond the Florid Chamber’s political polling, voter registration indicates interesting trends:

  • 42 percent of all new voters registered since January 1, 2018 are registering as NPA’s
    • 27 percent are registering as Democrats
    • 27 percent are registering as Republicans
  • 54 percent of new Hispanic voters are registering as NPA’s
    • 32 percent are registering as Democrats
    • 14 percent are registering as Republicans

 

ABOUT THIS POLL:  The Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted on January 2-5, 2018 by Voter Opinions during live telephone interviews of likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent. The sample size included 235 Democrats, 259 Republicans and 106 Others for a total of 600 respondents statewide. The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber are consistently drawn from likely voters and newly registered voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

 

 

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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.

 

 

14 Percent of Florida Jobs Are Connected to the Agriculture Industry

Agriculture plays a vital role in Florida’s economy, with more than 1.5 million jobs connected to agriculture, natural resources and food industries and 15.4 percent of our gross state product tied to the industry. Agriculture production has improved with advanced technology, relying on the latest innovations like drones and automation to streamline the process of producing food supplies and crops for not only Floridians, but for consumers all over the world. With 50 percent more food needed worldwide by 2030, what can Florida do to improve the production of fresh from Florida goods?

Get Involved

To learn more about Florida’s agriculture industry and its impact on the state economy and the world’s food supply, join us at the Palm Beach International Agricultural Summit on May 4, in West Palm Beach.

Military & Defense Industry Contributes Nearly $80 Billion to Florida’s Economy

Florida’s military and defense industry not only keeps us safe, it also drives the state’s economic growth by contributing an estimated $79.8 billion to the economy and providing nearly 775,000 jobs for Floridians each year. Every business in Florida is within 100 miles of a military installation, providing growth opportunities for defense companies and creating a robust network of businesses in the military and defense supply chain. Is your job tied to the military economy?

As highlighted in a recent Florida Wins video, Florida’s military and defense industry not only creates high-wage, high skill jobs, it attracts some of the world’s leading innovators to create new products that improve our daily lives and advance the state’s innovation economy. With the industry’s total economic impact expected to grow to $100 billion a year by 2030, how will we ensure continued support of this vital sector?

Lower Oil Prices Impact Florida’s Economy

Florida’s GDP is expected to reach $1 trillion per year by 2020. However, there are challenges and disruptions on the horizon. Gas prices are at their lowest level since 2008, which is great for consumers but not so great for international trade. A sudden drop in oil prices can dramatically affect the currencies of some of Florida’s largest trading partners like Canada, Brazil and Venezuela, whose economies rely on petroleum exports.

When our trade partners do not have the purchasing power to buy as many Florida-origin exports, slowdowns of international trade and lower job creation could result. With international trade accounting for one-sixth of Florida’s economy and supporting one million jobs, how will decreases in Florida-origin exports affect the long-term health of our state economy?

Get Involved

To learn more about energy and international trade in Florida, save the date to attend the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2016 Future of Florida Forum on September 28-30 in Orlando.

 

Did You Know Florida Has One of the Top Job Growth Rates in the Nation?

According to recent Bureau of Labor & Statistics data, Florida’s year over job growth rate of 3.0 percent was the fastest growth rate in the nation among the 10 largest states. Florida beat out California, Texas, New York and the national average of 2.0 percent, which is a good indicator of economic growth.

With 27 other states experiencing job losses for the month, Florida’s focus on job creation, regulatory reform and business climate continues to be a model for economic recovery. But with an estimated 2 million additional jobs needed by 2030, how will Florida maintain positive job growth to meet the workforce demand of the future?

Get Involved:

To be part of the conversation on job growth and diversifying Florida’s economy, join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Innovation Caucus.

China’s Troubles Are the World’s Troubles

China’s troubles are the world’s troubles.  Its bandwidth cannot be underscored – in 2014 it accounted for 38 percent of global growth. Its reach goes even further as China has invested in many emerging markets and fragile economies around the world that have become dependent on it for growth.  Downturn in China will have far reaching implications.  There are growing concerns that China could very well trigger the next global recession.

 China’s economy is facing a variety of challenges:

  • By providing short term solutions to stabilize its economy it’s also putting pressure on and increasing its debt bubble
  • Diminishing returns on its stimulus efforts
  • Bailouts and plunging shares in the stock market- efforts to ease the fallout from many years of borrowing are all taking its toll
  • Putting a floor on plummeting shares is essentially another bailout on top of a previous one

A significant indicator of the widespread effect of China’s financial situation is the impact China’s slowdown is having on Singapore, an open and trade dependent economy. Singapore experienced a GDP drop of 4.6 percent last quarter, a decrease most likely linked to China. Singapore also experienced a 14 percent decrease in manufacturing from the previous three months; non-oil exports to China fell 4.3 percent in May, 5.1 percent in April and plunged 22.7 percent in February.

China’s impact on Singapore are certainly concerning as are the impacts on its other neighbors in the region which are reliant on a strong Chinese growth engine.  Several countries in Asia have experienced economic slowdowns and decreased exports which have exposed them to risk thus making them vulnerable. With more than 40 percent of global growth coming from Asia (according to Deutsche Bank AG), further slowdowns in China’s economy would certainly have implications on global economic growth.

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Poll Shows Floridians Overwhelmingly Support Cell Phone/Cable TV Tax Cut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (June 1 , 2015) – By a margin of nearly five to one, Floridians support cutting taxes on cell phones and cable television, according to the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll released today.

“Lowering the cost of living and the cost of doing business through targeted tax reforms is a top priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce,”  said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of the Florida Chamber Political Institute. “Clearly, voters agree with Governor Scott and the Florida Chamber that lowering cell phone and cable TV taxes will put money back into the pockets of Floridians and help make Florida more competitive.”

Of the 605 Florida likely voters polled, more than 70 percent support a reduction in the Communications Service Tax (CST), while 15 percent oppose and only 12 percent were unsure. The CST tax cut is among proposals lawmakers are expected to consider during the June 1-20, 2015 Special Legislative Session.

Right/Wrong Direction and Financial Situation:

With more than 865,000 private-sector jobs created in the last five years, and an unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, the Florida Chamber’s poll also shows Florida voters still believe Florida is headed in the right direction, and that they are financially better off today than a year ago.

  • Right/Wrong Direction: 
    42 percent agree Florida is headed in the right direction. This number remains about the same as 2014 when 43 percent said Florida is headed in the right direction and 41 percent saying wrong direction. (Cross-tabs included)
  • Financial Situation: 
    40 percent of voters believe their financial situation is better today than a year ago – an eight percent jump from this time last year. (Cross-tabs included).

    • Feb/March, 2015– 36 percent better off; 25 percent worse off.
    • Feb/March, 2014 – 28 percent better off; 36 percent worse off.

Top Issues on the Minds of Florida Voters:

While the top three issues continue to be jobs/economy, education and healthcare, there has been significant changes in the numbers.

  • Jobs/Economy
    19 percent of Florida voters cite this as their number one issue – down 10 percent from May 2014.
  • Healthcare
    17 percent of the voters rank this as their number one issue – slightly up from 13 percent in May 2014.
  • Education
    16 percent of likely voters rank education as their top priority – remaining steady from previous polls.
  • Balance the State Budget, Crime and Immigration
    were the other issues selected by Florida voters.

The poll of 605 respondents, conducted on May 14-20, 2015 during live telephone interviews of likely voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The sample was drawn from frequent voters and respondents were again screened for voter registration during the interview. The sample was balanced according to all known demographic factors. Sixty-four percent of the respondents were interviewed via landlines and 35 percent via cell numbers. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.5 percent, with a 95 percent confidence level.  This poll was conducted by Florida Chamber Political Institute, a research arm of the Florida Chamber.

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Global Markets Create New Opportunities for Florida’s Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Trade with Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa
Accounts for 19 Percent of Florida-Origin Exports

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 20, 2015) – Emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa provide Florida with incredible opportunity, with 19 percent of Florida origin exports shipped to these regions, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced today.

“Florida is the gateway to international trade and our state is in a position where we can really take advantage of strong international relationships,” said John Walsh, CEO and Port Director of Canaveral Port Authority. “Emerging economies such as those in Asia, the Middle East and Africa really provide a unique opportunity for Florida to lead the nation in trade and logistics, manufacturing and more. At Port Canaveral, our ability to use highway, rail and air resources for distribution and logistics helps keep Florida a leader in international trade and logistics efforts.”

It’s these resources that allow Florida to take advantage of the opportunities emerging markets represent. Middle Eastern and North African economies (known as the MENA region) are one of the largest emerging market economic blocs. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that it will be the third fastest-growing region in the world over the next five years. The MENA region has one of the youngest populations in the world, helping to create a vibrant and energetic start-up culture. In Africa, this younger generation is also better educated and ready to meet the demands of global business.

The Middle East will be one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets during the next 20 years with an extra 237 million passengers flying to, from and within the region. A report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts the UAE aviation market will lead the region with average annual growth of 5.6 percent.

The impact of international trade to Florida’s economy cannot be denied.

  • International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and
  • Directly supports more than 1 million Florida jobs.
  • Florida is the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products with Florida-origin exports totaling more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supporting 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013.

“Florida is in a unique position to take advantage of growing global economies,” said Alice Ancona, Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Japan is one of Florida’s leading investors. Hong Kong alone represents $2.4 billion in Florida origin exports, with more than $653 million in high tech exports. Florida has a once in a lifetime opportunity to capitalize on the Panama Canal expansion and changing trade become the global hub for international trade.”

The Florida Chamber’s Global Florida Program’s mission is to educate and promote business opportunities, collaborate and advance policy initiatives in each of the four major geographic regions:  Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Africa. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam recently sponsored the Florida World Trade Month resolution, which was signed by Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and CFO Jeff Atwater.

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Governor and Cabinet Proclaim May as Florida World Trade Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 

 

Florida Chamber, Trade Partners
Champion Trade’s Role in Florida’s Economy

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 5, 2015) – Governor Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet today declared May as Florida World Trade Month, presenting a proclamation to the Florida Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the agriculture, manufacturing and ports communities.

“Global trade means high-wage jobs and economic prosperity,” Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber shared with members of the Florida Cabinet, including Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater during the proclamation presentation. “Increasingly, international trade is one of Florida’s top strategies for economic diversification and long-term growth.”

Florida ranks eighth in the United States for “Fresh from Florida” exports of agricultural commodities, valued at an all-time record of $4.2 billion, supporting more than 109,000 jobs and representing an economic value of more than $13 billion. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam sponsored the Florida World Trade Month proclamation.

Economic Impact of Trade:

According to research from the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics Study 2.0 (TL2), the importance of international trade cannot be denied:

  • International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and directly supports more than 1 million Florida jobs,
  • Florida is the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products with Florida-origin exports totaling more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supporting 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013,
  • VISIT FLORIDA numbers show more than 98 million visitors came to Florida in 2014,including more than 11 million overseas visitors  and nearly four million Canadian visitors,
  • Florida has more than 60,000 companies registered to export – more than 95 percent of them  are small-to-medium-sized businesses that produce two-thirds of Florida’s average of $64 billion in goods, and
  • Florida has more than 500,000 jobs in transportation, trade, and logistics – which pay 30 percent more than the statewide average!
  • Since December 2010, more than 21,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in Florida,
  • Florida is the leading U.S. state for trade with Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Here’s What Others Are Saying
About Florida World Trade Month:

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

“Our exports have recently reached an all-time high of $4.2 billion, supporting more than 109,000 Florida jobs and contributing more than $13 billion to our state’s economy. International demand for our ‘Fresh From Florida’ products continues to rise, proving that there is nothing better than what we grow right here in Florida.”

Secretary of Transportation Jim Boxold

“The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) joins Governor Scott and our partners in continuing our united efforts to make Florida the global center for freight movement and create jobs and opportunities for Florida families. FDOT will continue to invest in strategic assets that make our state the most competitive in the nation for the movement of people and goods.”

U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan

“The impact of international trade to Florida is undeniable – it’s one of the surest ways to turbo-charge long-term economic development and growth. I am proud to celebrate World Trade Month with the Florida Chamber, whose support of these important partnerships and trade agreements help make the Sunshine State the leader in this effort.”

Doug Wheeler, President and CEO, Florida Ports Council

“International trade is critical not only for Florida’s overall economy but for individual families and communities across the state, as well as visiting consumers. Increasing trade creates jobs and brings a better quality of life to our state.”

Nancy Stephens, Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Florida

“During World Trade Month, the Manufacturers Association of Florida (MAF) recognizes the critical role international trade plays in boosting our economic growth. We support international trade as an essential part of our business plan ensuring job creation, business growth, and competitive advantages in the global market. In Florida, 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs depend on exports, so MAF works hard to promote trade opportunities with manufacturers to help them export to the 95% of consumers who live outside the United States. Florida has some of the most skilled manufacturers in the country and we look forward to utilizing every trade opportunity available.”

Charlotte Gallogly, World Trade Center Miami

“Our celebration of World Trade Month is targeted at assisting small- to mid-sized companies in Florida to identify new global markets for the sale of their products and services.”

John Hartnett, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc.

“Leveraging and growing trade and logistics opportunities for Florida companies opens many markets for Made in Florida products and services. Committing to Made in Florida business and targeting worldwide expansion strengthens our long-term economic foundation and global brand.”

 

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Future of Innovation Economy the Focus of Caucus Meeting

Recently the Florida Chamber Foundation hosted its Innovation Caucus meeting in Tallahassee, where Innovation Caucus members met to discuss how strategic investment, talent supply and research collaboration will propel Florida’s innovation and entrepreneurial economy.

 “Through innovation, we can drive our economy to what we all aspire for –
high wage, high skill jobs and competitiveness in a global economy.”

-JACK SULLIVAN
Florida Research Consortium and Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee

During the meeting, leaders from various industries of the innovation economy led discussions on their future development plans. Policy discussion by legislative leaders included Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando), and Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate).

The Florida Chamber Foundation and the Florida Research Consortium are leading the effort to produce an important research report that will be published this fall. This Blueprint for Florida’s Innovation Economy will assess the impact of expanding innovation activity on Florida’s economy and create a roadmap for state-level policy and investments.

Innovation Caucus meetings are held quarterly throughout the rest of the year. Upcoming meetings will include leaders from various components of the innovation economy who will discuss future plans. To view additional interview video clips, click here.

If you are interested in participating in our Innovation Caucus or you would like more information on how you can get involved with Blueprint for Florida’s Innovation Economy research, please contact Dr. Jerry D. Parrish at JParrish@FLFoundation.org.

Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line: Sen. Tom Lee Discusses Florida’s Budget, Tax Cuts and More

“We are really fortunate here in Florida that thanks to the [Florida] Chamber of Commerce and a lot of other people who are moving a pro-business agenda forward, our Governor, we are growing revenues here in our state,” said  Senator Tom Lee, Senate Appropriations Chair. “Asset values are up, unemployment is down, things are moving in the right direction- we have an additional billion dollars this year.”

But while Florida is moving in the right direction, our work is far from over.

“There are a lot of opportunities on how we allocate those resources,” said Sen. Lee. “But we have some challenges in the implementation of Amendment 1, and we have teaching hospitals and hospitals that do a lot of unreimbursed care that are being hit by the decision by the CMS on funding out of Washington, so we have to deal with some of those things.”

While the voters spoke on Amendment 1, concerns still remain on the impact of setting a  budget through constitutional mandates, particularly to programs that also used portions of the document stamps tax, such as Affordable Housing and transportation.

“Some of that money was going somewhere else beforehand so we have to find some way to backfill those programs like Affordable Housing and transportation, both of them have a huge multiplier effect on our economy, they create jobs,” explained Sen. Lee. “As we look to solutions to the problems that we are facing with the low income pool going away in our state, trying to find a way to hold transportation and affordable housing harmless is going to be a huge priority.”

At the Florida Chamber, we believe the Governor’s plan for targeted tax reform is good for our economy and is one solution to budgeting challenges- particularly when it comes to communications services tax and the tax on commercial sales leases. In fact, Florida is currently the only state in the nation that charges a communications services tax.

“There are proposals moving through the legislature on a communications services tax and one related to reducing the tax on commercial leases,” said Sen. Lee. “As a landlord in the commercial real estate businesses, that one has particular affinity to me. Both of them are very broad based, both of them will have sweeping impacts across the spectrum of small business and individuals who pay those taxes, whether they are passed down through businesses or directly on their cell phone bills. The question is really going to become- how much money do we have to spend, so how far down that list of priorities that have been set are we going to be able to buy these tax cuts?”

As Florida’s Legislative Session undergoes its third week, Sen. Lee remains hopeful on Florida’s direction.

“Aren’t we fortunate to be in a state where we are talking about cutting taxes in the context of the national government, that’s talking about raising them?”