Florida Chamber Names Senator Kelli Stargel a 2018 Distinguished Advocate

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Senator Kelli Stargel has been named a Florida Chamber 2018 Distinguished Advocate for her commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

“The Florida Chamber thanks Senator Kelli Stargel for working to lower the cost of living on families and cost of doing business on job creators through targeted tax relief. Senator Stargel’s leadership on smart tax policy included a reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax – a longstanding Florida Chamber priority,” 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 went to Tallahassee to advocate for Florida’s families, farmers, and tax payers, and I am honored to receive this award. I was proud to carry the Senate tax relief package that continues our commitment to delivering broad-based tax relief for Florida’s families and businesses by providing over $171 million in tax relief. We’re helping Florida’s famers recover from the devastating impacts of the 2017 hurricane season and creating tax exemptions that will enable those in our agriculture community to repair and rebuild where damages or losses were suffered. This tax relief also helps small, local businesses in our communities by further reducing the business rent tax enabling them to invest in and grow their businesses.” Senator Stargel said.

To view Senator Stargel’s complete grading and district information, click here.

 

Florida Chamber Announces Senator Kelli Stargel Named a 2017 Distinguished Advocate

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Senator Kelli Stargel is one of the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Distinguished Advocates for her commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

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.

To view Senator Stargel’s complete grading and district information, click here.

 

“Senator Kelli Stargel showed leadership in advocating for the Florida Chamber’s education and tax priorities, including reducing the Florida-only business rent tax,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

“I am honored for the opportunity to work with the Florida Chamber on behalf of businesses because these efforts help our entire community, from employees to owners to the non-profits they support. A sound economic environment enables families to enjoy the security and quality of life we all desire,” SENATOR STARGEL said.

Senate Committee Advances Pro-Business Tax Reform Package

The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee today advanced a Florida Chamber-backed tax reform package that supports job growth and strengthens Florida’s economic competitiveness. HB 7109 removes uncompetitive tax policies like the Florida-only business rent tax. The tax package that advanced today includes:

  • A first step in fully repealing the Florida-only business rent tax (a .2 percent reduction),
  • Provides $18 million in available tax credits for qualifying R&D in the 2018 application period, and
  • Tax cuts for families, including a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday.

The bill now travels to the full Florida Senate for a vote and will also need to pass the House before Friday, the scheduled conclusion of the Legislature’s 60-day session. The Florida Chamber thanks Representative Jim Boyd and Senator Kelli Stargel for their work on this tax package.

Be the First to Know

Be among the first to know what passed, what failed, the details of Florida’s newly passed budget, and if lawmakers worked to make Florida more competitive when the Florida Chamber releases its end of session report on Friday, May 5 – the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session. Don’t miss out on this exclusive member benefit. Email Christi McCray today.

Florida Chamber Education Update: Week 5

The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can get the skills and training they need to compete in a rapidly changing global economy. That’s why we are fighting hard to make sure Florida’s entire education system continues to improve. Here’s a recap of this week’s education discussions in the Florida House and Senate:

School Choice (HB 7101, Rep. Bob Cortes)

The Florida Chamber supports legislation that empowers all students to succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, and subsequently passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday, removes barriers that inhibit high-performing charter management organizations from replicating their success and expanding. HB 7101 will now head to the House floor. Similar legislation in the form of SB 796, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, was set to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Monday, but was not considered as the meeting ran out of time.

Fewer, Better Tests (SB 926, Sen. Anitere Flores)

The Florida Chamber continues to support the enhancement of our statewide assessment and accountability systems, which is why we endorse SB 926. This bill cleared the Senate Education Committee on Monday after a compromise between lawmakers was struck. Following the adoption of several amendments, this bill now contains pieces of a few different testing reform proposals. The revised bill now pushes back the state assessment window to the last three weeks of school, requires easy-to-understand, parent-friendly score reports to be utilized, allows school districts to use paper-and-pencil exams instead of computerized tests, repeals the Value-Added Model (VAM) formula used to evaluate teachers, eliminates various End-of-Course (EOC) exams, allows students who pass certain exams (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate) to be exempt from the statewide assessment in those areas, requires the Commissioner of Education to review nationally-recognized college entrance exams to determine alignment to Florida’s standards, and requires the Department of Education to conduct a study on Florida’s statewide assessment achievement levels – including how best to define the levels in order to communicate the meaning of these levels to students, parents and teachers.

Voluntary PreK Education (SB 468, Sen. Kelli Stargel)

Few investments in education programs are more valuable than those that help students to read. The Florida supports SB 468, which was passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, as it provides additional opportunities to assist young students who are struggling readers, offers additional training to teachers, reading coaches and school principals and proposes additional accountability to the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program.

Best & Brightest (SB 1552, Sen. David Simmons)

We support legislation that provides students with high-quality teachers and administrators. That’s why we support this bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday. SB 1552 expands the eligibility criteria for the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program and creates the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program.

Educational Options (SB 1314, Sen. Denise Grimsley)

The Florida Chamber supports SB 1314 because it helps all students succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, revises and strengthens the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. A related bill, SB 902 Gardiner Scholarship Program, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, which expands access to the Gardiner Scholarship Program, was scheduled to be heard in the same meeting. Due to the committee running out of time, SB 902 was not considered. The House companion bill (HB 15, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan) was passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday. HB 15 will now head to the House floor.

Digital Learning & Virtual Education (HB 833, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan)

The Florida Chamber will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future. This bill, which was passed out of the House Education Committe on Thursday, removes the prior year in public school requirements and provides that all K-12 students, including home education and private school students, are eligible for both full-time and part-time virtual instruction options. HB 833 will now head to the House floor.

Take Action Now

For more information about where the Florida Chamber stands on these and other education-related issues, click here or contact me at bhunt@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber-Backed Education Bills Pass Full Legislature

Furthering Florida’s reputation as a leader in education, the Florida Legislature has passed several Florida Chamber-backed education bills this session.

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. By providing additional school choice options, quality teacher improvement programs, and ensuring that students can take advantage of customized learning options, the following bills will help Florida’s students continue to remain globally competitive in our 21st century economy:

  • HB 189, sponsored by Representative Manny Diaz and Senator Travis Hutson, creates an alternative, streamlined certification route for professional educators wanting to teach STEM subject courses. This new certification route allows Florida’s students greater opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning, which will help to position Florida as a global leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation.
  • HB 837, sponsored by Representative Michael Bileca and Senator Kelli Stargel, will further a parents’ rights to choose the best education for their child. By making improvements to the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, more students with disabilities will be able to take advantage of additional access to high quality education programs. This bill also includes improvements to Florida’s dual enrollment program for high school students, which helps to ensure students are career and college ready.
  • HB 1365, sponsored by Representative Ray Rodrigues and Senator Jeff Brandes, creates a Competency-Based Education Pilot Program, which will allow students to advance at their own pace based on their mastery of concepts and skills. The existing one-size-fits-all system of education is struggling to consistently meet the individual needs of each student. This legislation takes a step forward in reconsidering the status quo in order to equip them for success in the 21st century.

The Florida Chamber commends the Florida Legislature for their commitment to securing Florida’s educational future.