OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Florida Legislature Votes to Enhance Florida’s Competitiveness
Thanks to your tireless advocacy, the Florida Legislature today voted to make Florida more competitive and sent a strong signal nationwide that Florida remains open for business.
Prior to the start of this week’s Special Session, Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson urged legislative leaders to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA’s proven, high-yield tourism marketing efforts with at least $76 million, to provide operational funding for Enterprise Florida, Inc., and to invest at least $85 million in targeted economic development efforts such as infrastructure investment and job training.
“Florida’s taxpayers were the big winners of Special Session. By passing Florida Chamber-backed pro-jobs, pro-business legislation, lawmakers today made the most of their opportunity to protect and enhance Florida’s competitiveness, and sent a signal to the country that Florida remains open for business. Lawmaking isn’t always pretty, but just as business owners focus on achieving desired outcomes, not inputs, the outcome here was worth the wait,” said Frank Walker, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Florida Chamber.
Legislation Passed on June 9 Includes:
- Economic Development: Creates and funds at $85 million the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund program for targeted economic development investments, and provides base operation funding necessary for Enterprise Florida, Inc. to continue their work creating jobs and diversifying our economy,
- Tourism Marketing: Allocates $76 million to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA’s proven tourism marketing efforts with necessary accountability to taxpayers,
- Drug Free Workplace: Includes Florida Chamber-backed language in the medical marijuana implementation bill preserving employers’ right to insist on a Drug Free Workplace,
- Education: Increases public education funding by $215 million, and
- Herbert Hoover Dike: Provides $50 million for overdue repair of the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee to enhance water storage and quality.
For a more in-depth look at legislation passed during this week’s Special Legislative Session, as well as a reminder of Florida Chamber-backed legislation that passed during the Regular Legislative Session, click here.
The Florida Chamber looks forward to future opportunities to work with lawmakers to stomp out the ‘Homeowners Fraud Tax’ associated with Assignment of Benefit fraud and abuse, to lower workers’ comp rates facing employers, and continued efforts to fully repeal the Florida-only business rent tax.
VISIT FLORIDA’s Role Is More Than Tourism Marketing
“VISIT FLORIDA not only markets our state year-round, but it’s really beneficial during a crisis…Just this last year we’ve had Zika, Pulse, and a hurricane or two. When those things happen we need to let people from out-of-state know what areas aren’t affected.” – Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber Government Affairs Representative DOUG IZZO
Watch Doug Izzo, Government Affairs Representative with the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, on the latest edition of The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line discussing the importance of VISIT FLORIDA as a tool local chambers across the state use to connect with each other and to convey crucial information in times of crisis.
Is Your Business Impacted by the Decision to Eliminate Economic Development Incentives & Proposal to Cut Tourism Marketing Budget by 2/3?
Register today to join the Florida Chamber’s Statewide Board of Governors webinar and conference call on the economic and political realities of the 2017 Legislative Session on Monday, April 24.
House Committee Advances Anti-Economic Development & Tourism Bill
Next Stop, House Floor Vote
On February 21, the Florida House Appropriations Committee voted by a 18-12 margin to advance HB 7005, a bill that would end economic diversification efforts in Florida, including eliminating the economic development toolkit, international programs, marketing and small business assistance. Additionally, this bill cuts tourism marketing funding by 67 percent.
Despite overwhelming opposition from citizens in attendance and over 20,000 emails sent to lawmakers by Florida Chamber members opposing the bill, the conversation of eliminating Enterprise Florida and two dozen important programs will now move to the Florida House Floor.
The Florida Chamber believes the state must continue to fund initiatives that support diversifying the economy and attracting visitors and businesses to our state. HB 7005 has already generated national media attention and sends a signal that Florida’s state legislature is no longer an active partner in job creation, diversifying our economy, or supporting our important tourism sector.
Looking ahead, your efforts and comments will continue to be needed. So please, “stay tuned” for additional announcements on how you can help. We hope you will continue to join our fight to oppose any efforts to dismantle the state’s necessary and results-proven role in economic development and tourism marketing.
Thank These Legislators Who Supported Our Tourism Industry and Economic Diversification With Their Votes AGAINST HB 7005 Today:
- Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs), Jared.Moskowitz@myfloridahouse.gov, (954) 346-2848
- Rep. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach), email@example.com, (561) 374-7850
- Rep. Bobby DuBose (D-Fort Lauderdale), Bobby.DuBose@myfloridahouse.gov, (954) 467-4206
- Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise), Katie.Edwards@myfloridahouse.gov, (954) 838-1372
- Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), firstname.lastname@example.org, (561) 470-6607
- Rep. Shev Jones (D-West Park), Shevrin.Jones@myfloridahouse.gov, (954) 893-5010
- Rep. Kionne McGhee (D-Cutler Bay), Kionne.McGhee@myfloridahouse.gov, (305) 256-6301
- Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), Holly.Raschein@myfloridahouse.gov, (305) 453-1202
- Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach), David.Richardson@myfloridahouse.gov, (305) 535-5426
- Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka), email@example.com, (305) 953-3086
- Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston), Richard.Stark@myfloridahouse.gov, (954) 217-0287
- Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala), Charlie.Stone@myfloridahouse.gov, (352) 291-4436
Send Your Concerns to These Legislators Who Opposed Our Tourism Industry and Economic Diversification With Their Votes FOR HB 7005 Today:
- Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Doral), firstname.lastname@example.org or (305) 470-5070
- Rep. George Moraitis (R-Ft. Lauderdale), email@example.com or (954) 762-3757
- Rep. Larry Ahern (R-Seminole), firstname.lastname@example.org, (727) 395-2512
- Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow), email@example.com, (863) 534-0073
- Rep. Michael Bileca (R-Miami), firstname.lastname@example.org, (305) 273-3235
- Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford), email@example.com, (407) 302-4800
- Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa), firstname.lastname@example.org, (813) 673-4673
- Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park), Travis.Cummings@myfloridahouse.gov, (904) 278-5761
- Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz (R-Miami), email@example.com, (305) 442-6800
- Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens), Manny.Diaz@myfloridahouse.gov, (305) 364-3072
- Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), Blaise.Ingoglia@myfloridahouse.gov, (352) 688-5004
- Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola), firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 494-7330
- Rep. Larry Metz (R-Groveland), email@example.com, (352) 989-9134
- Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami), firstname.lastname@example.org, (305) 227-7630
- Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Hialeah), email@example.com, (305) 364-3114
- Rep. Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City), firstname.lastname@example.org, (386) 719-4600
- Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers), Ray.Rodrigues@myfloridahouse.gov, (239) 433-6501
- Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater), Chris.Sprowls@myfloridahouse.gov, (727) 793-2810
As indicated below, HB 7005 goes to the House Floor for it’s next vote.