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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Senator Jeff Brandes Calls for Narrowing the Use of Contingency Fee Multipliers – the “Slot Machine” for the Legal Profession – on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 21, 2020) – As the Florida Legislature tackles narrowing the use of contingency fee multipliers, Senator Jeff Brandes tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that these fee escalators were never designed to be “the slot machines for the legal profession.”

In fact, contingency fee multipliers, which are used by trial lawyers to get legal fees two or three times higher than their normal, hourly rate, are only granted in “rare and exceptional” circumstances everywhere but Florida.

“We’re trying to level the playing field and set the standards as where it is in the rest of the 49 states and the federal standard,” Brandes explains.

Florida’s bottom five legal climate is costing the average family $4,442 each year in lawsuit abuse ‘taxes.’ Lawsuit abuse reform is a top legislative priority for the Florida Chamber.

Senator Brandes also discusses criminal justice reform as well as the future of innovation and disruptive technologies.

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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.

A Talented Workforce and the Rising Probability of a Recession Leave Florida’s Small Businesses Feeling Uncertain

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 22, 2019)— While Florida’s small businesses continue boosting the state’s economy, finding qualified workers to fill available jobs tops the list of issues keeping small business owners up at night, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Third Quarter Small Business Index Survey show. 

“Florida’s small businesses continue to be concerned about being able to hire a talented workforce,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Improving Florida’s talent pipeline for a better workforce will help ensure jobs have talented employees, and will help put workers on the path to prosperity – leading goals of Florida 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan.”

Concerns over a likely recession are also creating economic uncertainty among job creators, the survey shows. However, while Florida’s small businesses are cautious, the state’s economy is healthy and expanding. Florida is now the 18th most diversified economy in the country, and there are rising numbers of open jobs and a declining amount of people looking for jobs.

The Florida Chamber’s third quarterly statewide Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 27%

2. Economic Uncertainty – 12%

3. Growth Management Process – 8%

4. Government Regulations – 7%

5. Healthcare Costs – 7%

Of Florida’s small businesses, 47 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 57 percent one year ago and 70 percent two years ago. They also felt that a positive indicator for businesses is that 24 percent of respondents thought it would be easier to get financing in the next six months, compared to 15 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Florida’s economy is dependent on the small business community, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and President, Hood Partners LLC.

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically June 6 through July 5, 2019. Fifty-six of respondents employ less than five employees, while 32 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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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.

New Florida Chamber Foundation Report Shows More Floridians with Disabilities Are Employed

Challenges and Opportunities Remain to Create Opportunities for Economic Prosperity

 

Tallahassee, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2019) – The Florida Chamber Foundation today released their Study of Employment of Floridians with a Disability Report, which shows more Floridians with a disability were employed in 2017- with the unemployment rate for Floridians with a disability falling nearly 7 percentage points from 2013 to 2017.

 

The report, which also includes county data for several metrics, shows that:

  • There are an estimated 2.67 million Floridians who indicate that they have a disability-13.4 percent of all Floridians. In the 18 to 64 age group — the group most likely to be in the workforce — 1.2 million Floridians indicate they have a disability.
  • The employment of Floridians with a disability has increased from 347,119 in 2013 to a total of 386,739 in 2017 —that’s an increase of 39,620 people.
  • Florida’s unemployment rate for people with a disability has dropped from 23.2 percent to 16.3 percent from 2013 to 2017.

“It is very important that we conduct research as a basis to consider progress and to determine what we and our partners are doing to make Florida’s workforce more inclusive for people with disabilities,” said Dr. Susanne Homant, President and CEO of The Able Trust. “This study not only shows how Florida as a whole is doing, it gives us insight into how each individual county is doing. We have a large untapped workforce resource in Florida and I urge business leaders to take some time to investigate this group. There are some really talented potential employees just waiting for an opportunity.”

 

While a declining unemployment rate for Floridians with disability is good news, challenges and opportunities still remain.

 

“As we look toward 2030, we know Florida will need to create approximately 1.7 million net new jobs, many in industries that don’t exist today,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “As we look at the number of people who are not in the workforce and compare it to future needs, it’s important to continue our state’s momentum and focus on creating pathways toward economic opportunity, diversifying and growing our economy, and ensuring Florida’s cradle to career system is ready to create the talent Florida’s businesses need.”

 

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research, strategies to improve employment by persons with disabilities include:

  • Continue to Grow and Diversify Florida’s Economy
    The Florida Chamber Foundation recently released their 2019 Economic Outlook & Jobs Forecast for Florida, which shows that Florida is expected to create 150,000 new jobs in 2019, with a low chance of an economic recession. At the same time, Florida’s businesses continue to look for talented workers. In fact, according to TheFloridaScorecard.org*, there are 277,400 jobs looking for people and 335,000 people look for jobs. A healthy economy could mean more opportunity for workers with disabilities looking to enter the workforce
  • Grow Skills Training Opportunities
    Increasing the number of company and government internships, apprenticeships, mentoring, and other workforce experiences for persons with a disability, would allow more people to get valuable work experience to help them get that all-important first job or a job that lets them re-enter the workforce. Programs like The Able Trust’s High School High Tech and the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Person’s with Disabilities Internship Program seek to work with businesses to create hands-on training and skills development for persons with disabilities.
  • Remove Penalties Toward Economic Opportunity
    As the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative looks at the impact of fiscal cliffs, its important to remember that Floridians with disabilities face their own set of “fiscal cliffs,” or challenges to opportunities. Removing the penalties for workers with disabilities will help ensure that marginal increases in incomes do not result in severe losses of those programs that actually help them live independently and help them become able to work, provide for themselves, and advance in their careers.
  • Reduce Overall Poverty in Florida
    According to TheFloridaScorecard.org, Florida’s poverty rate currently sits at 15.5 percent, meaning more than 3 million Floridians today are dealing with the issues poverty brings. There is a connection between poverty and disability, in that if you reduce poverty you reduce the incidence of disability, and vice-versa.

 

The report, an update on the research released in 2016 and part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s ongoing research, can be found at www.FloridaChamber.com/EmploymentReport2019.

 

For county specific data or for more information on the report, please contact kbustamante@flfoundation.org.

 

*as of 1.16.2019

 

 

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The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. Visit www.FLFoundation.org  for more information.

Historic Milestone: Florida Population Surpasses 21 Million

Tallahassee, Fla. (Oct. 24, 2018) – The Florida Chamber Foundation today announced a historic change to Florida’s population- according to estimates found on TheFloridaScorecard.org, Florida’s population has surpassed 21 million people.  The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Executive Vice President, Tony Carvajal, released the following statement:

TheFloridaScorecard.org, which houses thousands of metrics on Florida and each of Florida’s 67 counties, estimates that Florida’s population has now surpassed 21 million people. As the third largest state in the nation- that as of 2017 was steadily outpacing growth in states like New York- and with an economy that this year topped $1 trillion, Florida’s growth brings opportunity to our state.

 

But growth is not without its challenges. TheFloridaScorecard.org also estimates that by 2030, Florida will welcome nearly 5 million more residents. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research provides a blueprint for Florida’s growth and asks- is Florida ready? A growing population means our state must be ready to produce more jobs and prepare for current and future workforce needs, accommodate more drivers on the road, respond to growing water and energy demands and more.

 

Florida is a leader in the nation for job creation and as we plan for 2030, we need to ensure our state is able to remain globally competitive, fuel prosperity and high-wage jobs, and foster vibrant and resilient communities. Florida’s business leaders are working together with community, industry, philanthropic and elected leaders across the state and aligning our state under one goal- to secure Florida’s future.”

ICYMI: What is Florida 2030 and how will it impact every community in Florida?  Visit www.Florida2030.org to download the Florida 2030 Key Targets & Strategies report and to learn more.

Learn More

For an indepth review on population numbers and other metrics, or to set up an interview with the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, contact Kat Bustamante kbustamante@flfoundation.org.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Endorses Matt Caldwell as Florida’s Next Commissioner of Agriculture

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 18, 2018) — The Florida Chamber of Commerce today endorsed Matt Caldwell for Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner.

 

“Matt Caldwell is a seventh generation Floridian with roots firmly planted in Florida’s agriculture community. His public service and dedication to ensuring Florida’s job creators and our economy remain strong are priorities that are good for Florida families,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to endorse Matt Caldwell.”

 

Matt Caldwell is dedicated to helping Florida’s small businesses grow, keeping Florida’s families safe and supporting one of Florida’s most important foundational industries; agriculture.

“The Florida Chamber endorsement is an honor to receive. Florida’s businesses and consumers alike need a tireless advocate with a proven track record and principled leadership to be the next Commissioner,” Rep. Caldwell said. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do the Commissioner’s job, and I will fight for more jobs, low taxes, policy know-how, and the future of all 21 million Floridians—no shortcuts.”

An eight-year veteran of the Florida Legislature, Rep. Caldwell has led, funded, sponsored, and authored policy on issues as diverse as water, natural resources, environmental restoration, growing jobs, cutting taxes, assisting veterans, criminal justice reform, and promoting Florida agriculture.

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner is one of four cabinet members who regularly votes on issues impacting all Floridians. Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner is vital to the foundation of Florida’s economy. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services helps the agricultural industry with its daily challenges, promotes Florida’s agricultural commodities, manages state forests, safeguards consumers, implements the school lunch program, and oversees the concealed-weapon license system, among many other responsibilities.

 

 

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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.

 

Florida Chamber of Commerce Announces Additional State House and Senate Endorsements Ahead of General Election

16 Pro-Jobs Candidates Receive the Business Community’s Support

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 13, 2018)— The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced additional 2018 candidate endorsements in competitive races for the Florida House and Senate.

Today’s 16 endorsements are part of a larger Florida Chamber effort to help elect candidates that support private-sector job creation and economic growth.

“As we saw during the primary election, election outcomes can be unpredictable, but it’s our job to make sure that voters stay informed about the best possible candidates to move Florida forward,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Operations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber is proud to support candidates that support free enterprise”.

Candidate endorsements were evaluated on numerous factors, including the historical grades of incumbents on the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card. Additionally, candidates were interviewed as part of the Florida Chamber Political Institute’s (FCPI) Candidate Interviews. Interview sessions were conducted across Florida and included hundreds of non-incumbent candidates.

Floridians can learn more about candidates, key election dates and polling locations by visiting www.FloridaWins.org.


The Florida Chamber’s latest endorsements include:

 

Florida House Candidates:

Raymond Blacklidge          

Anthony Sabatini

Chip LaMarca

Frank Mingo

Melony Bell

David Smith

Will Robinson

Ana Maria Rodriguez

Chuck Brannan

Dianne Hart

Tommy Gregory

Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin

Tyler Sirois

 

Florida House Incumbents:

Matt Willhite

David Silvers

 

Florida Senate Candidates:

Gayle Harrell

 

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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 Chamber of Commerce Celebrates World Trade Month

Encourages Renewal of NAFTA

 TALLAHASSEE Fla. (May 1, 2018)— The Florida Chamber of Commerce is celebrating May as World Trade Month and is reinforcing the important role global trade plays in creating jobs, growing opportunities for small businesses and increasing foreign direct investment.

Despite the flurry of trade actions on exports and imports, the Florida Chamber remains committed to Florida succeeding as a global hub for trade, in order to ensure we remain competitive in a global marketplace. Expanding rules-based trade and investment is a key engine for Florida’s growth. The Florida Chamber is actively working to advance these efforts on behalf of the business community, every day.

“Florida is not just a great place to live and do business, but has an incredibly diversified economy” said BOB GRAMMIG, Chair, Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner, Holland & Knight. “By expanding Florida’s role as the global hub for trade and logistics, we are creating jobs, attracting and retaining talent and providing more opportunities for businesses who want to grow or expand in our state.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has a long-standing history of supporting free trade, expanding international trade and investment opportunities for Florida’s business community, advocating for fair and equitable market access for Florida-origin exports abroad, and eliminating barriers that are harmful to Florida’s competitiveness as a global hub for trade.

Consider the Economic Impacts of Trade in Florida:

  • Florida ranks sixth in the nation in terms of foreign direct investment employment—with foreign companies employing more than 327,000 Floridians,
  • International trade supports more than two million jobs in Florida, that’s one in five jobs,
  • International business accounts for about 17 percent of Florida’s economy, and
  • In 2017, Florida’s total merchandise trade reached $147.7 billion.

Yesterday, the Florida Chamber and Ontario Chamber of Commerce announced their partnership supporting continued cross-border trade agreements between Florida and Ontario, and encouraged the renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the current renegotiation process.

“With nearly 500 Canadian companies employing Floridians, it is important that we continue to maintain and expand our relationship with Ontario and Canada to fuel economic growth,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “The Florida Chamber is proud to join the Ontario Chamber in support of free trade and modernization and renewal of NAFTA.”

Members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce will travel to Washington, D.C., in the coming days to encourage Florida’s Congressional Delegation to support Florida job creators, and to work to ensure that trade continues to benefit the U.S. and Floridians.

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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 Small Business Owners Concerned About Workforce Quality 

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 22, 2018) – Ask a Florida small business owner what keeps them up at night and they’ll likely point to the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey, which shows workforce quality and government regulations as the top concerns of Florida’s job creators for the second straight quarter.

“Businesses are telling us, loud and clear, that in order to grow, they need access to a talented workforce,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. “The Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent Florida Jobs 2030 report confirms this research by showing that the future of work is changing, and as this quarter’s Small Business Index once again shows workforce quality is top of mind for Florida’s businesses. Another trend we are seeing is businesses remain concerned about the impact government regulations have on their ability to grow. At the same time, we are seeing business confidence remain high. This signals a confidence in Florida’s economy, one that is echoed in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s newly released Florida Leading Index, which indicates job creation is expected to be substantially higher than the U.S. average.”

 

The Florida Chamber’s quarterly Small Business Index statewide survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  • Workforce quality (27 percent),
  • Government regulations (13 percent),
  • Healthcare costs (11 percent),
  • Lawsuit abuse (9 percent),
  • Access to capital (8 percent).

 

Of Florida small businesses, 52 percent of respondents expect to hire in the next six months – up slightly from 48 percent in our Q4 2017 survey.

“Florida’s small businesses continue to face a number of challenges, including increased concerns about workforce quality and government regulations,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, triSect. “The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council looks forward to working together to identify and support solutions that will help and grow Florida’s small business community.”

 

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically December 13, 2017 through January 12, 2018. 30 percent of respondents employ less than five employees, while 41 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click here to view the full report.

 

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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 crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information.

Florida Surpasses California to Become Worst ‘Judicial Hellhole’

 

New Report Says ‘High Court’s Contempt & Lawsuit Rackets’ Are to Blame

TALLAHASSEE, FL (December 5, 2017) – For the first time in its 16-year history, a new report says “enough shade has been cast on the Sunshine State to rank it as the nation’s worst Judicial Hellhole.”

The ranking announced this morning by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), is further evidence that Florida’s legal climate is among the worst in America, the Florida Chamber of Commerce said today.

“Lawsuit abuse in Florida is an increasingly serious and expensive problem, and it just keeps getting worse. On average, it translates into a $3,400 ‘tax’ for Florida’s families each year, due to increased lawsuit abuse costs,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

“There have been five Wall Street Journal articles this year alone talking about Florida’s horrendous lawsuit abuse, the national Institute for Legal Reform named Florida the fifth worst state for legal climate, and now the American Tort Reform Association ranks Florida as the worst Judicial Hellhole, how much more evidence do lawmakers need to take action,” Wilson continued.

According to ATRA, the report shines its brightest spotlight on eight jurisdictions or courts that have earned reputations as Judicial Hellholes, including Florida, California, St. Louis, New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Madison and Cook Counties, Illinois, and Louisiana.

From ATRA’s Executive Summary:

  • The Florida Supreme Court’s liability-expanding decisions and barely contained contempt for the lawmaking authority of legislators and the governor has repeatedly led to its inclusion in this report. And though the high court’s plaintiff-friendly majority this year shrunk from 5-2 to 4-3, a hushed discus­sion between two majority justices recently caught by an open microphone suggests that this majority is as partisan as ever and brazenly determined to influence the judicial selection process as three like-minded col­leagues face mandatory retirement in early 2019.
  • Meanwhile, an aggressive personal injury bar’s fraudulent and abusive practices in South Florida and elsewhere have also tarnished the state’s reputation. Encouragingly, at least some plaintiffs’ lawyers who’ve crossed the line are being held accountable, either with stiff court sanctions or criminal prosecutions. But with the help of some lawmakers, too many are still get­ting away with too much, and for the first time in this report’s 16-year history, enough shade has been cast on the Sunshine State to rank it as the nation’s worst Judicial Hellhole.

“At a time we’re trying to lower the cost of living on Florida families, this isn’t good news for home and auto owners and their insurance rates. At a time when we’re trying to lower the cost of doing business in Florida, including reducing workers’ comp rates, this isn’t good news,” Wilson said.

 

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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.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils 2018 Jobs Agenda

 

That Will Continue Strengthening Florida’s Economy, Spur Smart Growth, Create Jobs and Economic Opportunity

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 14, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its 2018 Jobs and Competitiveness Agenda – a legislative roadmap that will continue strengthening Florida’s economy, spur smart growth, create jobs and economic opportunity for everyone. The 2018 Legislative Session begins January 9 and the Florida Chamber looks forward to working with Governor Scott, President Negron, Speaker Corcoran and the legislature as we look for opportunities to find common ground to secure Florida’s future.

Recognizing that economic, political and demographic shifts have placed Florida in a fragile position, the Florida Chamber’s 2018 Jobs Agenda is built on the belief that Florida’s best days are far from over, they are yet to come. By reducing the cost of living and cost of doing business, redoubling efforts on workforce, and investing in infrastructure, Florida’s economy will continue to strengthen, and jobs, wages and opportunities will grow for Floridians.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda, outlined in Where We Stand, details 41 legislative recommendations. Among these recommendations to help strengthen Florida’s economy, spur growth, create jobs and lift incomes, the Florida Chamber recommends:

 

Reducing the Cost of Living:

Floridians currently pay the 6th highest automobile insurance rates, and homeowners are facing up to a 10 percent increase in their property insurance rates. Unchecked fraud and legal scams are known to be contributing to rising insurance rates and the legislature should:

 

Reducing the Cost of Doing Business:

Florida’s business community is facing a $1.5 billion impact from workers’ comp rates that remain 14.5 percent higher than they should be.

  • The legislature should fix Florida’s workers’ compensation system by addressing the true cost drivers of the system, including attorney fees. Doing so will bring stability to the system and lower unnecessary costs.

Florida’s bottom five legal environment is an open invitation for “gotcha” lawsuits that cost Florida families an average of $3,400 each year in lawsuit abuse costs.

Discouraging and discriminatory tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax, are uncompetitive.

 

Preparing for the Future:

There are 265,200 jobs looking for people, and 374,000 people looking for jobs. Building a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

  • Redouble efforts on workforce education.
  • Expand access to pathways to Florida’s attainment.goals.

By 2030, 5.5 million more people will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

Based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research and unfinished business from 2017, the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is a blueprint of legislative priorities that it will lobby, track and score this legislative session.

A complete listing of the Jobs Agenda is available at www.FloridaChamber.com/WhereWeStand.

 

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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.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils 5th Educational Video On Science-Based Water Research Solutions

To Secure Florida’s Water Future, Follow the Science

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 8, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its fifth in a series of water education videos which further demonstrates why following science-based research is important to securing Florida’s water future. The latest educational research video provides additional proof that septic tank problems are detrimentally impacting Florida’s water systems.

The educational video highlights research produced by Florida Atlantic University–Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, and sheds light on the algae blooms on the St. Lucie Estuary that followed unusually heavy rainfall in the winter and spring of 2016.

“In the research I have conducted on behalf of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, the science points directly to human pollution as the number one cause of what’s imperiling our state’s local water sources,” said Dr. Lapointe. “The leading cause of this pollution are aging septic tanks, which are leaking into the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary.”

The educational research video addresses the role of Lake Okeechobee and local basin discharges, and the science-based solutions that policy makers are considering to mitigate this problem in the future. Specifically, the educational research video points to local basin discharges and septic tank pollution as detrimentally impacting the quality of water in the St. Lucie Estuary.

“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water. With six million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based solutions are the only way to ensure Florida’s water future is sustainable, and provides the quality of life Floridians and our visitors deserve,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

The educational research video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: St. Lucie Estuary features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Deborah Drum, Ecosystem Restoration and Management, Engineering Department, Martin County
  • Ernie Barnett, Florida Land Council
  • Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of Water, Department of Environmental Protection
  • Scott Martin, Professional Angler
  • Doug Smith, Martin County Commissioner

On the research video, Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of Water for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says:

“The reason we know that septic systems are an issue for the St. Lucie Estuary is because we’ve monitored tracers, so we’ve looked for sucralose, this artificial sweetener, and we measured it and we know there’s a human source. And we’ve done the North Fork and the South Fork of the St. Lucie Estuary and we’ve seen sucralose throughout there, so we know that human waste water, septic tanks being very probable, is a source for all of these excess pollutants.”

Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) has introduced HB 339 that calls for septic to sewage conversions, and Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) is also advancing policy to support this effort in the Florida Senate.

“The Indian River Lagoon is the most bio-diverse estuary in our country and is one of our most treasured natural resources.  It has been ravaged by harmful algae blooms, run-off and water pollution. Legacy Florida 2.0 will provide a dedicated and reliable funding source to address this problem. Septic to sewer conversion is a key component and will help preserve the IRL’s beauty for future generations,” said Representative Harrell.

 

“The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most valued economic and environmental assets in Florida. It provides over $7 billion dollars in revenue and inhabits approximately 4,000 different species. I am proud to work alongside Representative Harrell in passing this good bill to help save our lagoon,” said Senator Mayfield.

 

“Science based data is the key to meeting the challenges Florida faces, and the Florida Chamber is pleased to support the policy behind these proposals,” Wilson said.

 

The complete series of videos on securing Florida’s water future are available at www.FloridaChamber.com/WaterVideos.

 

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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.

Florida Small Businesses Increasingly Concerned Most About Workforce Quality and Government Regulations Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 24, 2017) –  Workforce quality and government regulations are the top issues keeping Florida’s small business leaders up at night, according to the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index survey.

“In the span of two years, workforce quality has climbed from the fifth issue of greatest concern to the top issues of concern,” said DR. JERRY PARRISH, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation. “The Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent Florida Jobs 2030 report shows that the future of work is changing, and as this quarter’s Small Business Index shows, businesses – now more than ever – need access to a talented workforce.”

The Florida Chamber’s quarterly Small Business Index Statewide Survey Shows Small Businesses are Most Concerned About:

  • Workforce quality (23 percent),
  • Government regulations (16 percent),
  • Economic uncertainty (13 percent),
  • Healthcare costs (10 percent),
  • Lawsuit abuse (8 percent),
  • Access to capital (7 percent).

On the bright side, 70 percent of respondents expect their sales will increase over the next year.

“Florida’s small businesses continue to face a number of challenges, including increased concerns about workforce quality and government regulations,” said TAMI FITZPATRICK, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Entropy Technology Design, Inc. “The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council looks forward to working together to identify and support solutions that will help and grow Florida’s small business community.”

 

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically June 29 through July 14, 2017. Twenty-nine percent of respondents employ less than five employees, while 42 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click here to view the full report.

 

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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.

Solar Advocates Applaud Overwhelming Legislative Vote for Solar Bills

 

High Profile Business Groups and Solar Advocates Applaud Overwhelming Legislative Vote for Solar Bills
~SB 90 solar implementing bill passed today; onto Governor~

TALLAHASSEE & STATEWIDE (May 4, 2017)  Today the Florida legislature passed SB 90, legislation that implements Amendment 4, the solar ballot initiative that 73% of voters supported last August. Amendment 4 provides Florida homeowners and businesses an exemption from burdensome property taxes on solar and renewable energy devices. Bills to implement Amendment 4 passed unanimously in both the Senate and House chambers, with support from a broad coalition of business groups, the solar industry, and clean energy advocates. Below are statements from statewide associations and Vote Solar in response to the passage of the legislation.

“Last August, Florida voters called for solar progress in one of the most popular amendments in the Sunshine State’s history,” said SCOTT THOMASSON, Southeast Director at Vote Solar. “We applaud Senator Jeff Brandes and House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues for their leadership in working with all sides to pass a balanced bill that respects the will of the voters they serve while also protecting customers. Now, it’s up to Governor Rick Scott to honor the voters’ overwhelming support for solar development and deliver on the promise of more jobs and energy choices across Florida.”

 

“With technological advances, energy opportunities for Floridians are increasing, and now families and job creators will benefit from a targeted tax break on solar panels,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber commends Senator Jeff Brandes and lawmakers for helping Florida achieve energy independence while also strengthening Florida’s economy.”

 

“The Florida Retail Federation commends the legislature for answering the will of the voters and passing SB 90 which implements solar Amendment 4,” said SCOTT SHALLEY, President of the Florida Retail Federation. “Thanks to bill sponsors Senator Jeff Brandes and House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues retailers throughout the Sunshine State will be able to take advantage of this great solar energy policy.”

 

“A victory lap to the finish line on solar energy today. The Florida legislature passed a bill to implement what 2 million voters called for last election cycle in Amendment 4,” said JULIO FUENTES, President of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our members include more than 604,000 Hispanic owned small businesses who support energy diversity and thank the legislature for their excellent work.”

 

“Tourism is Florida’s leading industry. Visitors and residents alike, will benefit from the energy savings resulting from the passage of this legislation,” said RICHARD TURNER, General Counsel and Vice President of Government Relations for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The hospitality industry is excited to support our lawmakers’ smart policies that promote sustainability and diversify our energy grid.”

 

Republican lawmakers worked closely with clean energy and jobs advocates, including Vote Solar, the Solar Energy Industries Association, Advanced Energy Economy, and The Alliance for Solar Choice, to craft a bill that best serves Florida businesses and residents. The final bill has earned praise from a range of business, consumer and environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Florida Conservation Voters, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

 

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Florida Chamber Releases Fourth in Series of Educational Water Videos

 

Featuring FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Springs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 9, 2017) – As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the fourth in a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

Together, with FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, this series of educational videos focuses on science-based water quality solutions. Securing Florida’s Water Future: Springs focuses on the economic impact and ecological importance of Florida’s springs and aquifers.

“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “With six million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based data is key to meeting the challenges Florida faces.”

 

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Springs features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Dave Burnell, Crystal Springs City Manager
  • David Childs, Attorney with Hopping, Green & Sams and Florida Chamber of Commerce Water Policy Expert
  • Todd Kincaid, Hydrogeologist, GeoHydros
  • Bob Knight, Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute
  • Jim Stevenson, Former Chief Naturalist for Florida State Parks and former Senior Biologist of the Department of Environmental Protection
  • Jake Varn, Government Relations professional and former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary

 

“I’ve spent decades studying water quality throughout Florida, including nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms,” said DR. BRIAN LAPOINTE, FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor. “This project with the Florida Chamber allows me and my colleagues an opportunity to share this research so the public can better understand how human activities are influencing Florida’s water future.”

 

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. Water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps should to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution, a point Dr. Lapointe stresses in a Bottom Line interview with the Florida Chamber.

 

Additional Videos in This Series Include:

 

For more information, visit the Florida Chamber’s Water Solutions page.

 

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