Florida Chamber of Commerce Agrees with Attorney General Ashley Moody

Florida Supreme Court Should Strike Down Unconstitutional Proposal That Would Raise Electricity Prices

Florida Chamber Files Legal Brief With Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE, FL (April 18, 2019) – Today the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in its ongoing efforts to ensure policies aren’t put in place that would make Florida less competitive and electricity more expensive, filed a legal brief opposing a proposed energy regulation amendment.

“We cannot secure Florida’s future with regulatory policies that will make Florida less competitive and electricity more expensive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Voters deserve to know the facts – this price-hiking electricity related amendment is a drastic and costly proposal that will drive up costs on Florida’s families, consumers and local businesses.”

The Florida Chamber was joined in the legal brief (amicus curiae) by the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC).

“For over 50 years, the Florida Economic Development Council has promoted economic development throughout the state,” said Beth Cicchetti, Executive Director, FEDC.

“Not only does the ballot initiative violate a number of laws, it could cause great harm to our more than half-century of work to build Florida’s economy and attract new businesses to our state.”

The brief outlines in detail how the energy regulation amendment violates Florida’s single-subject rule which requires that an amendment must not engage in logrolling, and must not substantially alter or perform the functions of multiple aspects of government. Specifically, the brief says:

  • The ballot summary includes two subjects:
    • 1: A competitive market that,
    • 2: Would exclude established market participants from competing
  • The ballot initiative would force voters who may favor competition, but not want to put their current energy provider out of business to vote either yes or not to both. That is classic logrolling.
  • The proposal substantially alters and performs the functions of multiple branches of government.

In previous statements opposing this proposal, the Florida Chamber outlined that studies conducted by Charles River Associates show that the proposed changes to Florida’s electricity market would have the very damaging financial impact on state and local governments of more than $1.2 billion per year in increased costs and reduced revenues. That means less funding for vital local services, including fire departments and first responders, and higher taxes for consumers and small businesses.

The Florida Chamber has a long history of opposing constitutional amendments that can be achieved through the legislative process. The energy regulation amendment can be achieved through the legislative process, and therefore should not be permanently enshrined into Florida’s foundational document.

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Florida Chamber of Commerce Opposes Effort to Increase Energy Prices in Florida

 

“This proposal is a false promise wrapped in a too-good-to-be-true wrapper that has no place in our state’s constitution. Floridians would be wise to reject it if its financial backers spend enough to put it on the ballot.”

– Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

 

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 24, 2019) — With media reporting that enough signatures have been acquired to trigger a Supreme Court review, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson, today released the following statement on an effort to change energy regulations in Florida.

 

“This proposal is a false promise wrapped in a too-good-to-be-true wrapper that has no place in our state’s constitution. Despite claiming to promote choice, it would prohibit Floridians from choosing the very Florida companies that currently serve them.”

 

With an increasingly fragile economic outlook, now isn’t the time to create unnecessary uncertainty and risk raising Floridians’ cost of living even further. Whether a senior on a fixed income, a college student working part time in order to keep going to class, or a local business struggling to make payroll, Floridians deserve affordable and reliable electricity.

 

“Florida has a long history of low electricity rates, and in fact, Florida’s 2018 electric rates were 25 percent lower than the average rate in deregulated states. Far too many states have experienced electricity deregulation buyer’s remorse – higher power prices, compromised reliability and customer service and price volatility.

 

“Unfortunately, that buyer’s remorse would be nearly permanent if this experiment was ensconced in our foundational document rather than having the consequences – both intended and unintended – openly and deliberately debated in the sunshine by our democratically elected officials. Florida’s Constitution is a set of principles that include our fundamental rights and the obligations of the state. The bedrock of our system of government should not be changed without serious consideration, because those amendments are effectively permanent.

 

“Floridians would be wise to reject this misleading proposal if its financial backers spend enough to put it on the ballot.”

 

 

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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.