Governor DeSantis’s Legislative Affairs Director Stephanie Kopelousos Shares Insights on EFI, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 12, 2020) – When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom-five legal environment by passing meaningful lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom-five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

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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.

Gov. DeSantis’s Legislative Director Gives Insights on Enterprise Florida, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA

When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom five legal environment by passing meaning lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Commerce Secretary Jamal Sowell and EFI’s Economic Plan

We are pleased to welcome Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell as a featured speaker at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2019 Future of Florida Forum.

Secretary Sowell will discuss Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for economic growth in Florida, highlighting the Governor’s recent business development missions, industries that are important to Florida’s economy including aviation/aerospace and financial services, and opportunities for the business community to help expand and diversify Florida’s economy.

Register today to reserve your spot and be a part of this discussion and other important conversations on how we grow Florida’s economy from the 17th largest in the world to the 10th largest on the planet.

2019 Future of Florida Forum

October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
One Grand Cypress Boulevard
Orlando, Florida

Diversifying Florida’s Economy

 

Download One Pager    Learn More About Economic Development

 

Why It Matters to Florida

Diversifying Florida’s economy is key to creating jobs and opportunities. To do so, the Florida Chamber will continue to build our core industries, tourism, agriculture, and construction while diversifying Florida’s economy into next generation targeted industries. We must continue to attract growing and innovative industries and new technologies that will allow Florida to lead the way in high-skill, high-wage job creation. Florida wins when we continue to diversify our base of job creators and work to attract and grow targeted high-wage industries.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

  • Diversifying Our Economy and Creating Jobs through Economic Development
    The Florida Chamber supports the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund and other improvements to EFI, which will ensure we continue to diversify and improve Florida’s business climate by investing in workforce development and infrastructure.
  • Championing Rural Business Opportunities
    In order to double the rural county share of Florida gross domestic product by 2030, Florida must continue to provide resources and assistance to Rural Areas of Opportunity and other rural counties and continue to advance economic development opportunities.
  • Fostering Innovation by Growing Targeted Industries
    The Florida Chamber supports projects that will diversify Florida’s economy and attract businesses through innovations in technology, research, and development and public-private partnerships.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

Florida continues to move in the right direction by growing private-sector jobs, expanding new industries and strengthening international trade and logistics relationships. But our work is far from over. The Florida Chamber believes a globally competitive business climate helps businesses and families succeed.

Act Now

When we stay the course of creating a diverse and globally competitive economy, Florida wins. Join our fight to secure Florida’s future.

2019 Global Trade Outlook

Thank you to those who were able to join us for our recent Florida Chamber Global Florida webinar. We appreciated the opportunity to provide an update on Florida’s 2019 Global Trade Outlook, as well as trends and key factors.

If You Missed the Webinar, Here are Three Big Takeaways:

1. Gonzalo Arance, Deputy Director, Enterprise Florida, Inc. – Spain Office, shared a trade outlook, an update on market strategies in Spain, and discussed various markets of opportunity including pharmaceuticals and banking. Arance also highlighted the strong economic ties between Spain and Florida, noting that Florida is the state with the largest presence of Spanish companies.

2. Hesam Houryaband, Deputy Director, Enterprise Florida, Inc. – Canada Office, discussed the deep economic ties between Florida and Canada, as well as provided an outlook on Canadian Foreign Direct Investment opportunities in Florida, which include Aerospace, Fintech and software design.

3. Alice Ancona, Director, International Strategy & Policy, International Trade and Investment Office, Florida Chamber of Commerce, provided an overview of Florida’s latest trade numbers and trends, which included a lower global trade forecast as trade tensions continue through 2019. Ancona also discussed Florida’s diversified trade ties to Europe, most notably with the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.

Download a Complimentary Presentation Today

Complete the form below to get a complimentary copy of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Global Florida presentation from January 31, 2019.

For more information, please contact Dan Tapia at dtapia@flchamber.com or 850.521.1206.

 

Global Florida Presentation: Jan. 31, 2019
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EFI Partners with Manufacturing Associations to Help Local Companies Grow

Originally Published in Florida Trend

Today, Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) announced two new partnerships to assist small and medium-sized Florida manufacturers. EFI signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Manufacturing Association of Central Florida (MACF) and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast Manufacturing Association (MASC). These partnerships will provide Florida businesses with additional resources and grant opportunities to help develop and expand their international markets.

“Enterprise Florida is thrilled to partner with the Manufacturing Associations of Central Florida and the Space Coast,” said Manny Mencia, senior vice president of international trade and development. “We look forward to helping more Florida manufacturers expand internationally and grow their client base.”

“MACF is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Enterprise Florida to promote, expand, and grow Central Florida manufacturing to markets across the globe,” said Sherry Reeves, Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida. “This strategic partnership will create new opportunities and add value to our manufacturing membership.”

 

Click here to read the complete article.

Ireland & the United Kingdom: Trade Mission & Matchmaking

The Florida Chamber of Commerce will be leading a Business Development and Trade Mission to Dublin, Ireland and London, United Kingdom, December 3-7, 2018. This mission will provide Florida businesses with the opportunity to meet with potential customers and partners.

Florida exporters will have the opportunity to take advantage of matchmaking services in Dublin and London. This opportunity includes:

– Customized market and industry briefings with a qualified trade specialist
– Market Research
– Appointments with prospective trade partners in key industry sectors

Download a Complimentary Presentation Today

Complete the form below to get a complimentary copy of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Global Florida presentation from September 25, 2018.

For more information, please contact Dan Tapia at dtapia@flchamber.com or 850.521.1206.

 

 

 

Global Florida Presentation: Sept. 25, 2018
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Matchmaker Grants Now Available!

 

Register for Trade Mission

 

Enterprise Florida offers Matchmaker Grants to assist Florida small to medium-sized companies generate new sales overseas, increase their sales in existing markets, and expand in new markets. Please note: Qualified applicants must also be registered for the Business Development and Trade Mission to Ireland and the UK

 

Industry Sectors Eligible for Grants –  Manufacturers and Professional Services Providers in:

  • Aviation & Aerospace
  • Clean Energy
  • Homeland Security/Defense
  • Information Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Marine Industry
  • All Other Manufacturing
  • Targeted Professional Services Providers

 

 

Matchmaker Services typically offer:

  • Customized market and industry briefings with qualified trade specialists.
  • Timely and relevant market research.
  • Appointments with prospective trade partners in key industry sectors.
  • Post-meeting debriefing with trade specialists and assistance in developing appropriate follow-up strategies.
  • Help with travel, accommodations, interpreter service, and clerical support.

 

 

Applying for Matchmaker Grant

Qualified Florida small and medium-sized manufacturers and professional services providers in targeted sectors from all regions of the state are eligible to participate in the program. Some of the requirements include:

  • Companies must be located and registered in the state of Florida.
  • Must be in business for a minimum of two years.
  • The product must be produced in the state and services must be provided from within the state.
  • Services providers must be in one of these approved target sectors.
  • Gold Key/Matchmaker Services must be provided by the U.S. Commercial Service; an Enterprise Florida International Office; AmCham, or approved local contractor for similar one-on-one business matchmaker services.
  • Must comply with SBA size standards for a U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key, or have less than 500 employees if the matchmaker service is conducted by another provider.
  • Companies must be at least ONE of the following in order to qualify: New-to-export; New-to-market, or Infrequent exporter to the market.

 

Eligible small and medium-sized manufacturers and professional services providers can apply for a Business Matchmaker Grant from Enterprise Florida, which will reimburse qualified companies $2,500 for matchmaking in a single market, or $2,000 for each market if visiting two.  Once approved for the business matchmaker program, please contact Mr. Chris Munoz, Enterprise Florida Trade Manager at cmunoz@enterpriseflorida.com or 305-808-3386 for an online application.

 

For more information please contact Dan Tapia at dtapia@flchamber.com or 850.521.1206.

Florida’s $10 Billion in Tax Advantages Getting National Attention

As President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been interviewed in the past two months by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and several other news outlets and they all want to know the same thing- what are the significant tax advantages in Florida and what is the Florida Chamber doing to prepare for the expected job growth headed our way?

Thanks in large part to national tax reform, Governor Scott’s leadership and focus on jobs, and thanks to marketing by Pete Antonocci and our teammates at Enterprise Florida, Inc., leaders in other states are realizing the tax advantages of moving their families and businesses to Florida.

Following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employers nationwide announced pay raises, bonuses, lower prices, capital investments and more, due to the resulting benefits from federal tax reform. One would think this push to make America more competitive would be met with significant fanfare from all political stripes, but this has not been the case in certain states.  Here are a few actual examples of what other states are doing:

  • In California, two Assemblymen sought to punish businesses benefiting from federal tax reform by introducing a constitutional amendment that creates a new 10 percent tax on companies that have net earnings of more than one million dollars.
  • A group of Northeastern states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut, are planning to sue the federal government, claiming the federal tax bill “unfairly targets” high-tax states because of caps to state and local deductions, ignoring that their tax codes and economic models are the reason for their significant tax bill.

Unfortunately, politicians in high-tax states also have no issue with taxpayers in Florida and the rest of the nation subsidizing their state’s spending. This “Robin Hood”-type scheme is being exposed for what it really is – a failed tax and spend scheme.

Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish shares in his latest edition of By The Numbers, that $879,000 in income migrates to Florida every hour. Many high-tax states in the northeast are losing residents to Florida. In fact, 88,500 net new people in one year have moved to Florida from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania alone.

Florida’s leaders know that a competitive tax climate increases corporate investment and creates jobs, and with 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, two million net new jobs will need to be created in order to keep unemployment below five percent. This is one reason Forbes has listed Florida as the number one state for growth.

Not only does Florida have no personal state income tax, it has cut taxes and fees by $10 billion since 2010 and has created nearly 1.5 million private sector jobs -outpacing the nation in job growth. Furthermore, Dr. Parrish now predicts Florida will be a $1 trillion economy by the end of 2018.

Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is doing a good job marketing Florida’s friendly business climate and promoting the advantages of Florida. The Florida Chamber was pleased to partner with EFI to highlight why now is the right time for businesses in other states to move to Florida. Click here to see the Wall Street Journal ad campaign.

Yet, despite having the most pro-jobs governor in America, in the recently completed legislative session, lawmakers made Florida a little more expensive for families and Florida a little less competitive for businesses.

I’m so proud of the Florida Chamber’s team of advocates for stopping more than a dozen bad ideas from becoming law this past session. These bills would have increased employer mandates, implemented overreaching regulations and further worsened Florida’s troubling lawsuit abuse climate.

What Others Are Saying

Business leaders across Florida recognize the unique opportunity that Florida has to further grow jobs and create economic prosperity for all.

  • Dr. Jackson Sasser, President of Santa Fe College and the Florida Chamber’s North Central Florida Regional Board Chair recently spoke about the importance of economic development – and the important role education plays – during a recent edition of the Florida Chamber’s Series on Free Enterprise.
  • Representative Clay Ingram discussed how infrastructure and tourism investments play a role in Florida’s economic development, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.
  • Husein Cumber, Executive Vice President of Florida East Coast Industries and Florida Chamber Northeast Regional Board Chair, was featured in the Florida Times Union sharing his support of Florida’s growing economy, and the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund which is helping transform Florida’s economy into next generation targeted industries.

While we’re looking forward to working with future legislative leadership, the Florida Chamber looks forward to ensuring candidates that believe in jobs and growing the economy are elected this fall.

Following a year in which sitting lawmakers earned the lowest grades in the history of the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card, there is simply no time to waste in electing candidates that want to see Florida succeed.

 

Join the Conversation at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity & Economic Opportunity

Thank you for your strong support of the Florida Chamber. I look forward to working with you to ensure we continue to secure Florida’s future. If you have not yet registered for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity on May 3 in Orlando, click here.

We Don’t Like Cold Weather or High Taxes. That’s Why We Live in Florida

If you’ve been thinking about moving your business and your family to Florida, the new federal tax law and our work to make Florida business-friendly has made relocating to Florida a better deal than ever before.

See the below advertisement that appeared in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend.

Did You Know?

The newly-passed federal tax reform bill is making Florida’s already business-friendly climate an even more appealing tax shelter than ever before. See what others are saying.

The Florida Chamber encourages you to join the fight to secure Florida’s future. Consider calling companies looking to expand and grow in all the states Florida is welcoming wealth from. Invite them to look at the additional advantages Florida now has after the new tax package.

Florida Chamber Joins Israel Trade Mission

As part of the Florida Chamber’s continued commitment to connecting Florida businesses to global opportunities, Florida Chamber leaders will travel to Israel December 4-8, 2017 in conjunction with Enterprise Florida’s Export Sales Mission.

The U.S. is Israel’s single largest trading partner. In 2016, Florida’s origin exports to Israel were over $244 million. The Israeli market holds vast opportunities for Florida companies interested in increasing their international footprint.

Your voice matters and we want to hear from you before this important international trade event. Please share your thoughts on these three questions by clicking the button below.

This survey will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 24, 2017.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Florida Legislature Votes to Enhance Florida’s Competitiveness

 

Download Legislative Summary   Read Our Letter to Legislators

 

Thanks to your tireless advocacy, the Florida Legislature today voted to make Florida more competitive and sent a strong signal nationwide that Florida remains open for business.

Prior to the start of this week’s Special Session, Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson urged legislative leaders to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA’s proven, high-yield tourism marketing efforts with at least $76 million, to provide operational funding for Enterprise Florida, Inc., and to invest at least $85 million in targeted economic development efforts such as infrastructure investment and job training.

 

“Florida’s taxpayers were the big winners of Special Session. By passing Florida Chamber-backed pro-jobs, pro-business legislation, lawmakers today made the most of their opportunity to protect and enhance Florida’s competitiveness, and sent a signal to the country that Florida remains open for business. Lawmaking isn’t always pretty, but just as business owners focus on achieving desired outcomes, not inputs, the outcome here was worth the wait,” said Frank Walker, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Florida Chamber.

 

Legislation Passed on June 9 Includes:

  • Economic Development: Creates and funds at $85 million the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund program for targeted economic development investments, and provides base operation funding necessary for Enterprise Florida, Inc. to continue their work creating jobs and diversifying our economy,
  • Tourism Marketing: Allocates $76 million to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA’s proven tourism marketing efforts with necessary accountability to taxpayers,
  • Drug Free Workplace: Includes Florida Chamber-backed language in the medical marijuana implementation bill preserving employers’ right to insist on a Drug Free Workplace,
  • Education: Increases public education funding by $215 million, and
  • Herbert Hoover Dike: Provides $50 million for overdue repair of the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee to enhance water storage and quality.

For a more in-depth look at legislation passed during this week’s Special Legislative Session, as well as a reminder of Florida Chamber-backed legislation that passed during the Regular Legislative Session, click here.

The Florida Chamber looks forward to future opportunities to work with lawmakers to stomp out the ‘Homeowners Fraud Tax’ associated with Assignment of Benefit fraud and abuse, to lower workers’ comp rates facing employers, and continued efforts to fully repeal the Florida-only business rent tax.

We Wouldn’t Have Gotten There Without Enterprise Florida

 

Greater Pompano Beach Chamber Leader Shares Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida Success Stories

SHARE OUR VIDEO: Click on the arrow in the top right corner of the video.

“Why do you quit? You’re ahead of the game. You don’t just stop.”

-Ric Green, President & CEO of the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce

Click the image above to hear Ric Green, President and CEO of the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce talk about the importance of continuing to support Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA. Mr. Green shares local stories about the support for both organizations from Broward County business leaders in this edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

 

Take Action Now

Legislation Eliminating Economic Development Will Make Florida Less Competitive

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 10, 2017) – Today, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson released the following statement on the economic development vote in the Florida House of Representatives:

“Today’s decision by the Florida House of Representatives to dismantle economic incentive initiatives sends the message that Florida isn’t interested in growing jobs and businesses as it once was.

 

“Eliminating Florida’s targeted and proven economic development programs is not the way forward. At the Florida Chamber, we understand incentives are rarely ever used and are usually inappropriate. However, in the 1-5 percent of the cases where incentives matter, site selectors tell us that these incentives are often the difference maker which is why the Florida Chamber continues to support a limited use of targeted incentives.

 

“Until the Florida Legislature makes Florida the most competitive business climate in the world — by continuing to reduce regulation, lowering workers compensation costs, eliminating lawsuit abuse, insurance fraud, and the business rent tax, as well as providing targeted incentives for high-paying, sustainable jobs — the last thing Florida should do is take tools off the table. Today’s move to take economic development strategies that work off the table is frankly, irresponsible and severally damages Florida’s ability to continue to lead the nation in job creation, particularly from small businesses who create most of the new jobs in Florida, and economic opportunities.

 

“If we could compete on our sunshine-soaked beaches and current lack of income tax alone, we would win. But the fact is, at the Florida Chamber we are living in the real world, where our competitors are not giving up these important economic development tools anytime soon.”

 

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BREAKING- Florida House Approves Anti-Economic Development Bill

A few moments ago the Florida House voted by a 87-28 margin to approve HB 7005, a controversial bill that eliminates economic development initiatives and sends the signal that Florida is closed for business.

Click here to find out if your lawmaker supported this legislation that makes Florida less competitive.

Despite overwhelming opposition and more than 40,000 messages from Florida Chamber members opposing the bill, the Florida House voted to eliminate:

  • Enterprise Florida,
  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center,
  • The Office of Film and Entertainment, and
  • Dozens of economic development programs designed to encourage new jobs and a strong economy.

HB 7005 now travels to the Florida Senate. The Florida Senate does not appear to share the Florida House’s appetite to kill Florida’s economic development programs. However, upcoming budget conversations will be very important to the future of economic development initiatives in Florida.

Be on the lookout for future messages encouraging you to communicate with Representatives that voted to kill economic development efforts in the state of Florida.