Moving Florida Forward

 

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Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates more than 26 million residents are expected to call Florida home by 2030. In fact, Florida is the third most populous state in the nation. That means there will be approximately three million new Florida drivers commuting on our roads. Along with the more than 126 million visitors that came to Florida last year, it’s estimated that there will be more than three million daily vehicle miles added to Florida roads by 2030.

In addition to highways, Florida also moves people and goods along a complex system of railways, seaports, airports and space ports, all interconnected to provide services and goods that grow our economy. Whether it’s the more than 1,000 miles of coastlines and more than 3,000 miles of highways, Florida’s transportation infrastructure relies on capable investments in order to keep our economy flowing and keep Floridians safe.

State and private-sector investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure are vital for future economic growth in the global trade sector. Transportation and infrastructure needs also require special training for intermodal transportation and logistics jobs so Florida’s workforce is prepared to accommodate Florida’s growing population.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

Public-private partnerships ensure our state can invest in addressing the infrastructure needs key to meeting the demands of a growing population.

The Florida Chamber will keep fighting to prevent attempting raids to the State Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.

We also believe that supporting innovative business sectors like ridesharing and autonomous vehicles with consistent regulatory frameworks will help to diversity Florida’s economy and help our state’s growing transportation needs while also ensuring public safety.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

While several updates to Florida’s transportation system are currently underway in Florida’s major cities, we must continue to stay focused on creating transportation systems and infrastructure that safely transport valuable cargo, from our Florida grown crops to our children and families.

Act Now

Join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition‘s efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities and double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

President Bill Galvano’s Smart Infrastructure Proposal Gets a Hearing

 

Download the Infrastructure Report      Join the Infrastructure Coalition

 

Florida Chamber Supports President’s ‘Innovation in Infrastructure’ Plan

With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, and already more than 118 million people visiting Florida annually, smart infrastructure investments for the coming growth is more important than ever.

As the Florida Chamber announced last year, we are doubling down on our efforts to accelerate Florida forward. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recently released its Infrastructure Report, which outlines key goals and strategies to ensure infrastructure systems respond to Florida’s changing needs.

Senate President Bill Galvano is championing “Innovation in Infrastructure” during the 2019 Legislative Session, and in fact, is using much of the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Report as the baseline for his efforts.

“We have a responsibility to not only meet today’s needs, but also to anticipate tomorrow’s demands, including a focus on revitalizing historic rural Florida communities,” President Galvano said recently.

Today, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee held a workshop to discuss President Galvano’s infrastructure plans as they relate to multi-use corridors. These multi-use corridors, Polk County to Collier County, Suncoast Parkway Extension to Georgia, and Northern Turnpike Connector (Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway), are part of a larger plan that includes not only traditional transportation elements like roads, bridges and sea/airports, it also includes utility and communication resources, clean water and reliable broadband connectivity.

 “The Florida Chamber is pleased to work side-by-side with President Galvano to help ensure Florida’s infrastructure systems are prepared to meet our future population demand and support the continued economic growth of our state,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Thank President Bill Galvano

Please take a moment to send a quick email thanking President Galvano for putting the needs of Florida’s infrastructure systems on top of his 2019 legislative priority list. Contact Senate President Galvano at galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov.

Join The Infrastructure Coalition

Click here to learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition.Contact Alice Ancona at aancona@flchamber.com to learn how you can you can join this effort.

Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development

Think about it. Florida is already the third largest state in America and we’re growing by over 1,000 new residents every day. We have 21 million residents and we’ll grow by five million more by 2030. By then, we’ll have three million more drivers on our roads, 50 million more visitors and we’ll need 20 percent more water. The good news is that Florida’s business leaders have a plan and it’s getting traction. This is good for Florida, good for job creation and it’s a great way to Secure Florida’s Future.

While we’re growing, Florida is also becoming more diverse. Aging Baby Boomers will continue to swell Florida’s elder population and at the same time, the Millennial and GenX generations are growing as a share of Florida’s total population. As Florida’s population changes, it is important that our infrastructure systems respond to their changing needs. Creating long-term investments in Florida’s transportation, energy, water, telecommunications and agriculture infrastructure is essential. Our infrastructure needs to support growing demand as well as a wide range of options – from sustainable water solutions to autonomous transportation systems.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research outlines where Florida needs to be by 2030 to remain globally competitive. To secure Florida’s future, we must consider the water and energy needs for nearly five million more residents, be ready for the hard and soft infrastructure needs like broader telecommunications, improved roadways and railways, air, space and sea ports, ensure Floridians can connect to job opportunities, education, healthcare options, each other and the world, as well as support continued economic growth while preserving Florida’s essential environment and community assets.

 

How Do We Make Sure Florida Is Prepared for Smarter Growth?

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, chaired by former Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s likely focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And, here at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments. As part of the Florida Chamber’s continuing efforts, we are working closely with state leaders like Senate President Bill Galvano to enact smarter growth policies that meet Florida’s long-term needs and will, this week, present recommendations the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition has prepared for Florida’s elected officials to consider.

The Florida Chamber understands the importance innovation and technology play in Florida’s future- specifically as they relate to Florida’s infrastructure future. Florida 2030 research estimates that by 2030, more than 25 percent of all miles driven (including freight) could be by autonomous vehicles. With guidance and leadership from state leaders like Senator Jeff Brandes, Syd Kitson of Babcock Ranch and Grayson Brulte of Brulte & Company, the Florida Chamber created Autonomous Florida, a statewide initiative that works to ensure Florida continues leading the way in autonomous transportation. Our vision? To make Florida the autonomous capital of “all things autonomous” in North America.

I believe Florida will continue to grow and we can remain competitive if we plan better for the next five million residents than we did for the last five million.

 

This week, leaders from around Florida and the nation will gather at American’s first solar powered town, Babcock Ranch for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit, to discuss the future of Florida’s transportation and infrastructure systems, as well as outline the strategies needed to grow smarter. Governor-elect DeSantis, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva have all signaled an interest in keeping innovation and infrastructure at the core of Florida’s economic development future. This is great news as we fight to Secure Florida’s Future.

December 10, 2018

Infrastructure and Tourism Funding Key to Florida’s Competitiveness

 

Take Our Economic Development Survey   Transportation Investments   Record-Breaking Tourism

 

Representative Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola) discusses how infrastructure and tourism investments effect Florida’s economic development, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program.

With the third year of funding for the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) five-year plan underway, Representative Ingram believes the FDOT and its many projects are running smoothly.

“The plan as of now, at least from the House, is to fund that work program at the full level once again. The FDOT does such a wonderful job. They do a very good job of making sure projects are run well and run on time,” Representative Ingram said.

And when it comes to renewing VISIT FLORIDA’s $76 million budget, Representative Ingram believes it’s a program that benefits Florida.

“We had a report come out and it showed the return on investment that VISIT FLORIDA brings back to the state. Obviously, it is one of the highest returns on investment of any of the economic development programs that we fund,” Representative Ingram said.

                                      

Help Secure Florida’s Future

Learn more about diversifying Florida’s economy by downloading our Economic Development one-pager here.

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

Building the Future of Energy

With a goal of building a smarter energy infrastructure that is more flexible, reliable and resilient than ever, Gulf Power has invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the last several years in infrastructure upgrades across Northwest Florida.

“The key to keeping reliability high and ensuring the grid is prepared for our customers’ future is investing in technology, maintenance and upgrades,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power chairman, president and CEO.

Some of the upgrades across the service footprint have included the installation of the latest technology such as smart, self-healing equipment, substation upgrades and replacing most wooden transmission structures with concrete poles and wooden cross arms with steel arms.

“These investments help improve our ability to withstand the rigors of our coastal environment, better secure the energy grid and prepare for future growth,” added Connally. “Making sure our customers can count on us for reliable energy is critical, and the investments we continue to make in our system are paying off.”

With recent and ongoing infrastructure upgrades to make the energy grid stronger, Gulf Power customers are also enjoying fewer outages than in any time in recent history. In fact, investments in the energy grid have improved reliability for the utility’s 460,000 customers by almost 20 percent since 2010.

“This work is just a part of many investments we’re making to ensure we continue to deliver the best value to our customers,” said Connally. “From investing in technologies and upgrades, to adding renewables to our portfolio, our team is working hard to make sure we can provide the safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy our customers need today, and in the future.”

Let’s Invest in U.S. Future — Transportation Secretary Chao

 

Take Our Survey   Federal Issues   Transportation Investments

 

By Elaine L. Chao, Guest Columnist, Orlando Sentinel

 

President Donald Trump has announced a bold, innovative plan for improving and investing in America’s infrastructure. The proposal is the culmination of a year-long effort between Cabinet agencies, including the Department of Transportation, with significant input from state, local, and private sector leaders. It is designed to change how infrastructure is built, financed and maintained in communities across the country.

A national discussion on how we build and fund our roads, bridges, tunnels, seaports, airports, rural infrastructure and transit systems is long overdue. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, I’ve had countless conversations with governors and local officials across the country — including Florida Gov. Rick Scott — about strengthening America’s critical infrastructure. Florida is doing it the right way.

One project in particular is the I-4 Ultimate Project. I-4 Ultimate will help transform Central Florida by rebuilding 21 miles of interstate. From its inception in 1965, I-4 has been a vital east-west connector that cuts through Central Florida, serving as the main transportation corridor from Daytona Beach to Tampa.

I-4 Ultimate includes the addition of two new dynamic tolled Express Lanes in each direction, replacing more than 140 bridges, reconfiguring 15 major interchanges, and reconstructing the entire existing roadway. By utilizing a public-private partnership procurement method, the Florida Department of Transportation will deliver the project in seven years where standard funding options projected it would take 27 years to complete. When finished, the project is expected to decrease travel times by increasing options for commuters and visitors in central Florida.

The $2.3 billion construction project is benefiting from more than $1 billion in private financing from the concessionaire, I-4 Mobility Partners, including private bank loans, Federal TIFIA loans, and private investment. As such, the project also needs a workforce, including engineers, designers, skilled workers, as well as all that goes into supplying product and equipment along the way. This means jobs for Central Florida.

Unfortunately, Florida is the exception, not the norm. One out of every five miles of U.S. highway pavement is in poor condition. Americans spent an estimated 6.9 billion hours delayed in traffic in 2014, or 42 hours per driver. Almost 40 percent of America’s bridges are more than 50 years old.

Click here to read the complete article in the Orlando Sentinel

Florida Secretary of Transportation: “Your Voices Are Strong.”

 

Register Today   Visit Our Transportation Investments Page

 

Yesterday, Mike Dew, Florida Secretary of Transportation and key note speaker at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Transportation Summit, spoke to Florida’s leading business and industry experts on the future of Florida’s transportation. As we plan for a future with 26 million Floridians and 4-5 million new drivers, Sec. Dew shared his thoughts on how Florida can continue to succeed:

“Making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep up with the current growth and anticipate future need is of critical importance…Across the board there is a recognition in the importance of investment in transportation  infrastructure.”

 

-Mike Dew, Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation

 

Join The Conversation

Register today to hear from Sec. Mike Dew live on December 12 in Port Canaveral as we continue these conversations and take an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities facing Florida’s transportation systems today and throughout the next 20 years. Topics will include connectivity, innovations and technology, how Florida can leverage its infrastructure, how Florida can move and make more product to help multiply economic impact to our state, and more.

Join Transportation Sec. Mike Dew for a Discussion About the Future of Florida’s Infrastructure

What Does the Future of Florida’s Infrastructure Look Like?

Please join the Florida Chamber of Commerce as we continue the discussion about Florida’s future during our Statewide Board of Governors webinar on Monday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. Joining us for this month’s webinar is:

  • Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Dew, who will share what FDOT is focusing on, the upcoming legislative session and provide his insight on Florida’s continuing preparation with Autonomous Vehicles,
  • Rob Palmer, RS&H, lead researcher on the Infrastructure and Growth Leadership pillar for the Florida 2030 project, who will provide an update on their research, and
  • Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, who will review the most recent job numbers and provide an update on the state of the economy.

The Florida Chamber is committed to leading the charge to unite Florida’s business community to improve our state’s infrastructure and prepare for future growth. Do not miss this opportunity to LEARN, ENGAGE, and be a part of the SOLUTION. To register today – contact Greg Blose at (850) 521-1243.

The Florida Chamber Foundation has moved into “Phase 2” of Florida 2030, our two-year, $1.5 million research initiative to write Florida’s next strategic plan, and we’re inviting your management team to help us write it. We encourage you to invite members of your management team, Board of Directors, local chambers of commerce and Economic Development Councils who would benefit from this valuable discussion.

Drive the Discussion:

Do you have a question for FDOT Secretary Mike Dew? Email your questions to Greg Blose and we will work them in to our conversation.

Transportation & Infrastructure Investments

 

Moving Florida Forward

 

Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates more than six million new residents will call Florida home by 2030. In fact, Florida has officially surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the nation. That means there will be approximately four to five million new Florida drivers commuting on our roads. Along with the 107 million visitors that come to our state each year, it’s estimated that there will be more than 150 million daily vehicle miles added to Florida roads by 2030.

In addition to highways, Florida also moves people and goods along a complex system of railways, seaports, airports and space ports, all interconnected to provide services and goods that grow our economy. Whether it’s the more than 1,000 miles of coastlines and more than 3,000 miles of highways, Florida’s transportation infrastructure relies on capable investments in order to keep our economy flowing and keep Floridians safe.

State and private-sector investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure are vital for future economic growth in the global trade sector. Transportation and infrastructure needs also require special training for intermodal transportation and logistics jobs so Florida’s workforce is prepared to accommodate Florida’s growing population.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

Public-private partnerships ensure our state can invest in addressing the infrastructure needs key to meeting the demands of a growing population.
The Florida Chamber will keep fighting to prevent attempting raids to the State Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.

We also believe that supporting innovative business sectors like ridesharing and autonomous vehicles with consistent regulatory frameworks will help to diversity Florida’s economy and help our state’s growing transportation needs while also ensuring public safety.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

While several updates to Florida’s transportation system are currently underway in Florida’s major cities, we must continue to stay focused on creating transportation systems and infrastructure that safely transport valuable cargo, from our Florida grown crops to our children and families.

Act Now

Florida’s focus on long-term transportation initiatives are steps in the right direction to ensure our rising population and growing economy have adequate resources. Join us as we fight for strategies that will make Florida more competitive.

Long-Term Energy Strategies

 

Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smarter Growth

 

Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber estimates between now and 2030, 6 million more people will call Florida home. As the third most populous state in the nation and growing, it is crucial we get infrastructure policies right and focus on long-term strategies. This means more than ensuring there are roads to travel — this means supporting investments in hard and soft infrastructure such as energy, water, telecommunications and more.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

The Florida Chamber will continue to advocate for long-term, comprehensive energy policy that brings efficient, modern and cost-effective sources of energy to all Floridians that focus on the long-term needs of our state will help meet the needs of Florida’s growing population. By 2030, Florida will demand 76 percent more energy.
This requires increasing Florida’s energy independence while expanding the use of alternative fuels like LNG and CNG.

 

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

Streamlining state, regional and local processes by embracing proactive growth leadership initiatives is important to support the next generation of vibrant communities in Florida. The Florida Chamber will continue to champion the streamlining of permitting processes and reducing bureaucratic barriers toward growth.

Act Now

Florida’s focus on comprehensive clean energy initiatives are steps in the right direction to ensure our rising population has adequate resources. Join us as we fight for long-term energy strategies that will make Florida more competitive.

More Than 100 Million Tons of Cargo Move Through Florida Each Year

The holiday season is under way and consumers everywhere are busy shopping for gifts. Whether purchased online or in person at a local retailer, the process of getting goods from manufacturing facilities around the world into our homes each and every day is an impressive synergy of free market enterprise, logistics planning and transportation infrastructure.

More than 100 million tons of cargo are shipped through Florida’s air and seaports each year. Once the products reach land, Florida’s top-ranked multimodal infrastructure provides the perfect support for goods movement, with 267,000 miles of road, 3,000 miles of rail and 15 cargo handling airports that ensure every single purchase reaches its ultimate destination. With more than 1 billion new consumers expected worldwide by 2020, how can Florida capitalize on its transportation networks to meet the increased global demand for products?

Get Involved

To learn more about transportation and logistics and its impact on Florida’s economy, register for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2015 Transportation Summit on December 10, in Jacksonville.

 

Statement On Solar Choice Amendment

TALLAHASSEE (October 22, 2015) – Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson today released the below statement on the Florida Supreme Court’s approval of a solar choice amendment.

“With Florida’s population expected to increase by six million people by the year 2030, the Florida Chamber of Commerce believes we must prepare Florida’s infrastructure for smart growth and development.

“To provide Florida families with reliable and cost-effective energy options, including solar, the Florida Chamber supports energy policies that focus on the long-term demands of our state that will help meet the needs of Florida’s growing population. Reliable and sustainable infrastructure is important to the prosperity of all Floridians, as well as Florida’s competitiveness.

“The Florida Chamber has a long-standing history of opposing constitutional amendments that can be achieved through the legislative or budget process, and therefore opposes the solar choice amendment. Additionally, the Florida Chamber has a strong history of advocating for a comprehensive state energy portfolio, including solar energy.

“The solar choice amendment is driven by special interest who seek to raise electricity prices on Florida families and make Florida less competitive. There’s a right way to do solar, but Florida’s Constitution isn’t it.

“The Florida Chamber will continue to encourage voters to protect our constitution by opposing this amendment that provides protections and unrestricted and unregulated growth for a specific industry.”

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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.

Florida Road Conditions Rank Best in the Country

In a recent study, national transportation research group TRIP named Florida the top state for road conditions in the U.S. While Florida’s high ranking means that roadways are currently being maintained and improved, funding for future transportation projects is a growing concern.

“Florida roadways are some of the most traveled in the nation so it is imperative that we provide a high quality transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods throughout the state,” said Florida DOT Secretary Jim Boxold. “Through continued strategic investment in Florida transportation improvements, we can enhance our state’s economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for Floridians.”

Fuel efficiency and technology improvements will significantly impact a major source of Florida’s transportation dollars, the Federal Highway Trust Fund. In order to keep Florida’s roadways in good condition, alternative solutions to transportation funding will be needed.

Get Involved

If your business relies on Florida’s transportation system, please join us at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum on September 28-30 in Orlando and the Transportation Summit on December 10 in Jacksonville.

When Florida’s transportation network improves, Florida wins. Share this email with your employees to ensure that Florida remains the best location for travel and commerce. Learn more at FloridaWins.Org.

Florida Chamber Unveils 2015 Legislative Report Card

Missed Opportunities and Philosophical Differences Lead to Fewer Votes
Cast On Issues That Could Have Made Florida More Competitive

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (July 7 , 2015) – Following the 2015 regular and special legislative sessions, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today is releasing actual grades earned by all members of the House and Senate on the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Report Card. The grades reflect fewer scored votes cast than previous years on issues that would have made Florida more competitive – especially in the areas of healthcare, water policy, lawsuit abuse reform and taxpayer funded pension reform. Although this year will be remembered as the year the legislative process missed major opportunities, the Florida Chamber thanks Senate President Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli for not allowing new lawsuits, new taxes or more regulations.

After tabulating more than 3,384 votes cast during the 2015 regular and special legislative sessions, nearly 54 percent of state lawmakers earned an “A” (90-100) on the priority pro-jobs issues outlined in the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Business Agenda. 3,384 actual scored votes is approximately only half of the scored votes as in previous years.

The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to honor and recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation above special interests attempts to protect the status quo.

“Despite philosophical differences, lawmakers passed 20 Florida Chamber-backed measures during the two recent legislative sessions,” said Steve Knopik, Chair of the Florida Chamber and CEO of Beall’s, Inc. “Unfortunately, there were a number of missed opportunities, resulting in fewer votes taken on issues that could help make Florida more competitive.”

The Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Report Card is an online tool that illuminates grades legislators earned based on their support of pro-jobs, pro-business issues during the annual legislative session.

Poll after poll shows that Floridians are concerned about the job the Congress and the Florida Legislature are doing. The latest Florida Chamber voter poll shows 41 percent of voters disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing, while 40 percent approve, compared to 70 percent of Florida voters who disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

“The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card lets Florida’s families and small businesses know if legislators voted in favor of job creation and a stronger economy, and provides them with valuable information as they begin to consider the 2016 election cycle,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber.

Building on the Florida Chamber’s multi-year competitiveness agenda, this year the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott approved more than $400 million in targeted tax relief, championed education reforms for a globally competitive workforce, invested in infrastructure and transportation, strengthened Florida’s economic development efforts, implemented Amendment 1 and made strides to address Florida’s forthcoming doctor shortage.

Analytics From the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Report Card Reveal:

  • 20 Senators earned an “A” – remaining steady from 2013 and 2014,
  • 61 Representatives earned an “A” – down from 71 last year, and
  • Grade Point Average for Representatives was 83 percent and 89 percent for Senators – down from 87 percent and up from 88.7 percent respectively last year.

The Florida Chamber entered the 2015 Legislative Session by encouraging lawmakers to focus on making Florida’s business climate more competitive and lowering the cost of living for Florida’s families and small businesses. The Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs, Where We Stand, served as an important roadmap to educate lawmakers on the business community’s priorities.

Lawmakers were also notified prior to each vote impacting the Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs that their vote would be counted. The tabulated results of each of those votes result in the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card.

While 1,795 bills were filed, and 232 of them passed both chambers, the Florida Chamber has a focused agenda and the actual votes used to calculate the report card are those votes that tie directly to the Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs. In the past four years, Governor Scott has had a perfect batting average in signing all 104 Florida Chamber-backed bills into law.

“While I wish the regulations process would have allowed more courageous votes, I’m extremely proud of the great work of the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors, local chambers and the more than 30 lobbyists that have worked aggressively in support of free enterprise and job creation,” Hart said.

Moving forward, the Florida Chamber is already developing its 2016 Business Agenda, and the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations team, under the direction of Senior Vice President of Political Operations Marian Johnson, is actively enlisting pro-jobs, pro-business candidates to run in the 2016 election cycle.

The Florida Chamber will soon release How They Voted 2015, a detailed annual report summarizing the priorities of the recent legislative sessions and incorporating the 2015 Legislative Report Card.

 

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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.