Senate Committee Passes Rural Development Bill

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee passed a bill today that champions rural business opportunities by providing additional resources for rural economic development.

SB 1646, sponsored by Senator Bill Montford would increase funding and decrease matching requirements for Rural Areas of Opportunity to use for economic development.  Additionally, the bill allows the Rural Infrastructure Fund to be used for access and availability of broadband internet.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has long supported Florida’s rural communities, and in particular, believes diversifying Florida’s economy will help grow jobs and economic growth in underserved communities.

This bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.

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

Florida Chamber President Provides Hurricane Irma Economic Outlook During Testimony Before Senate Commerce Committee

 

Read Testimony   Fight AOB Fraud    Local Chamber Relief Fund

 

In a testimony before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson told lawmakers that Florida will rebound from Irma.

During his remarks to the committee, which is chaired by Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), Wilson encouraged lawmakers to focus on continuous improvement and to join forces with the private sector to help secure Florida’s future.  Click here to read Wilson’s testimony.

Irma yielded the largest evacuation in U.S. history, and as Wilson explained, there’s no question we’ll learn lessons from this storm. From an economic outlook perspective, Wilson testified that:

  • Tax revenue likely won’t keep up with storm expenses,
  • Job growth will continue to slow,
  • A gap in skilled labor – particularly for home repairs and rebuilding – will hurt in the short-term, and
  • Lawsuit chasers, as highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, “are trying to milk the public’s pain for their own gain.” Wilson encouraged lawmakers to side with consumers in frivolous class action claims.

Looking forward, he applauded state leaders for making smart public policy decisions to reduce exposure and spread risk in Citizens Property Insurance and Florida’s CAT Fund. However, he warned that the tsunami of assignment of benefit-related claims that have flooded the market – unrelated to Hurricane Irma – are causing property insurance rates to skyrocket. He encouraged lawmakers to make meaningful reforms this session.

Wilson was joined on the panel by partners in Florida’s business community, including:

  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Ken Lawson, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
  • Michelle Dennard, President and CEO, CareerSource Florida
  • Cheryl Kirby, Associate State Director, Florida SBDC
  • Lance Lozano, Chief Operating Officer, Florida United Business Association

 

Call on the Legislature to Fight AOB Fraud

Fight back against the growing storm of assignment of benefits fraud. Sign the petition and call on the Legislature to stop this “Category 5 hurricane.”

 

Support Local Chambers in Need

Support local chambers in need of relief following Hurricane Irma by contributing to the Florida Chamber Local Chamber Relief Fund.