Florida Chamber Names Representative Clay Ingram a 2018 Distinguished Advocate


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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Representative Clay Ingram has been named a Florida Chamber 2018 Distinguished Advocate for his commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

“The Florida Chamber thanks Representative Clay Ingram for working to ensure Florida’s economic development programs can continue to grow globally competitive – a win-win for growing jobs and the economy,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate award recognizes lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation – no matter how difficult – and furthered the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development.

“I am grateful to the Florida Chamber of Commerce for recognizing me as a Distinguished Advocate, especially as my final term in the House comes to a close. It has been a pleasure to work alongside the Florida Chamber to play a role in growing Florida’s economy over the last eight years,” Representative Ingram said.

To view Representative Ingram’s complete grading and district information, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Others Are Saying

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

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

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

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


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

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

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.

Six Legislators in the Panhandle Earned an “A”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the actual grades earned by all members of the House and Senate on the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Report Card. For the panhandle region, six legislators earned “A” grades:

  • Sen. Greg Evers
  • Rep. Doug Broxson
  • Rep. Brad Drake
  • Rep. Mike Hill
  • Rep. Clay Ingram
  • Rep. Jay Trumbull

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. In comparison, 3,384 actual scored votes is approximately 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.

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 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.