Florida’s Upcoming Special Session Offers Second Chance to Make Florida More Competitive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
The Florida Legislature now has until July 1 to reconvene and pass a budget.
The session could include all, none, or some combination of
the items that were in play during the regular session.
TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 1, 2015) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced that, while disappointed the 2015 regular session did not produce the anticipated results, the upcoming special legislative session will offer a second chance to make Florida more competitive.
“A special session, or several sessions, brings the hope that legislators can hit the reset button and pick up the business of making Florida more competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.
As media has widely reported, the Florida House and Senate remained $4.2 billion apart on their proposed budgets – primarily due to differing views on approaches to expanding healthcare coverage. As a consequence, lawmakers did not achieve their one constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget during the 60-day regular legislative session.
As a result, lawmakers will have a second chance to pass a budget during a special legislative session – which is constitutionally required before July 1. During that time, the Florida Chamber is hopeful lawmakers will make Florida more competitive by passing a budget that includes:
- Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida,
- Secures Florida’s water future,
- Lowers the cost of living and cost of doing business through targeted tax reforms,
- Passes meaningful lawsuit abuse reforms,
- Maintains school choice,
- Begins phasing Florida out of the Florida-only sales tax on commercial lease,
- Targeted economic development incentives,
- Florida’s broken pension reform,
- Opportunities for children with unique abilities, and
- Invests in marketing Florida.
As Winston Churchill said: “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“The Florida Chamber encourages our state’s leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause – and that cause is stronger and sustainable economic growth in order to expand opportunities for all Floridians,” Wilson added.
The Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Summary outlines priorities from the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda that passed during the recently completed regular legislative session, including the Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill (signed into law by Governor Scott), a smart infrastructure bill designating freight and logistics zones, a growth leadership measure and private property rights bill.
Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda was developed based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business. The chamber’s agenda serves as a blueprint of legislative priorities that help secure Florida’s future and lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy.
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.
Sec. Bill Johnson Discusses Peru, Marketing FL and Partnerships on Bottom Line
In Florida, global trade means high-wage jobs and economic prosperity. Florida is home to more than 60,000 firms dedicated to bringing their goods and services to consumers around the globe. 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.
In fact, this month, the Florida Chamber’s Director of Global Outreach, Alice Ancona, joined Secretary of Commerce Bill Johnson, Lieutenant-Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and more than 80 Florida businesses on an economic development mission to Peru- Florida’s 9th largest trading partner. According to Secretary Johnson, so far, direct hard sales are at $27 million from the Peru trip.
“What we emphasized down in Lima, Peru and to our friends in Peru is that Florida is in the center of the hemisphere,” said Secretary of Commerce Bill Johnson. “And Florida can provide you the opportunity for your company, for your business, whether you are importing or exporting- Florida can save you time and money. Florida should be your logistics center for everything you do.”
While Florida is quickly building a reputation as the global hub for international trade, we can do more to marketing Florida’s business friendly climate in the U.S. California, a state that has ranked as one of the worst business climates in the nation for the past 11 years, spends $50 million per year on out-of-state marketing. New York, home to the most expensive city in the nation, is in the middle of a $200 million ad campaign that promotes New York’s business climate as a place to start and grow your business.
“One of the most important things I hope to accomplish as the new CEO of Enterprise Florida is to gain the support of the Florida legislature in this area of marketing,” said Secretary Johnson. “I’m thankful to the Florida Chamber for the support, and our business community for the support, in really asking the legislature to allow us to work together to mount an intelligent campaign, to let not just Floridians know, but the United States and globally know, that Florida is the place to do business.”
To Secretary Johnson, moving Florida in the right direction means strategic partnerships that will help create jobs.
“The Florida Chamber without question is the best chamber in the United States- top leadership. I had the honor to serve on the Board of the [Florida] Chamber of Commerce for six years. I know the power of what the Florida Chamber of Commerce does and what it can do. Clearly, the Florida Chamber was instrumental in the creation, many years back, of Enterprise Florida. And today, as we continue to grow the economy and the number of jobs in our state, the Florida Chamber is one of the most important partner of ours at EFI. I am fortunate as the new CEO of this organization to have the support of Mark Wilson and the whole team of professionals here at the Florida Chamber. I cannot stress the importance of that strategic alliance and working together- that’s how we will grow Florida, that’s how we will strengthen this economy, that’s how we, together, will grow jobs in the state– through partnerships.”