Investing in Water Quality Essential for Protecting Florida’s Environment, Representative Bobby Payne Says on Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (March 5, 2020) – With 4.5 million more Floridians expected to call Florida home between now and 2030, long-term investments in water will be essential, Representative Bobby Payne says on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

HB 1330, sponsored by Representative Bobby Payne, is specifically designed to protect the health of Florida’s water systems by collecting improved data, increasing inspections and investing in septic to sewer conversations.

“I would say it’s a comprehensive package that really looks at how we’re going to address nutrient loading coming from our water bodies,” Representative Payne said. “Those loadings are coming from on-site sewage treatment systems, sanitary sewer overflows, domestic wastewater overflows, some agricultural BNPs that we need to tighten up and get some better records on. Let’s face it, we know we’re at a point, and the Governor pointed it out, if we don’t do some things now, we’ll continue to have problems in the future.”

Representative Payne also discusses the importance of not allowing the “Rights of Nature” to have legal standing.

“This bill prohibits local communities, local municipalities, or districts from granting rights to trees or water bodies,” Representative Payne said. “Rights are granted to humans. Rights are of humans, they’re not of those things in nature.”

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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.

DEO’s Ken Lawson Shares Importance of Investing in VISIT FLORIDA, the QTI Program, and Communities Impacted by Hurricanes

With the Florida Legislature currently putting finishing touches on Florida’s next state budget, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity CEO Ken Lawson tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that Floridians enjoy a friendly tax climate because of Florida’s visitors contributing to the economy.

“By virtue of tourism, we’re not paying a state income tax. Out-of-state tourists are investing in Florida, spending money across the state, that means that’s increasing our tax base. So, it’s very important that VISIT FLORIDA is funded to help market the state across the country and the world.”

-Director Ken Lawson
CEO, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Director Lawson, Florida’s top economic development leader, also shared the importance of not letting the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) program sunset.

“QTI is a great tool for small, medium and large communities across Florida. This tool causes companies to create jobs in aerospace, finance and diversified areas,” he explained about the program that allows job creators who invest in their business, create jobs and pay their taxes, to seek tax refunds based on their investment.

Director Lawson also highlights how DEO is playing a vital role in helping with long-term hurricane disaster recovery.

“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, DEO is fully committed to long-term disaster recovery, ensuring they put funds out across the State of Florida,” Lawson said. “With Hurricane Irma, we awarded $300 million so far, with Hurricane Michael we are working on our state action plan.”

Call, Text, Email Your Lawmaker

Florida’s businesses need your support. Reach out to your lawmakers and encourage them to support continuing Florida’s QTI program and VISIT FLORIDA. Find your Representative HERE. Find your Senator HERE.

The Florida Chamber also has a goal for every community to have resiliency plans in times of natural disaster. Tell us HERE about your community’s resiliency plan.

Florida’s Top Economic Development Leader Pushes for VISIT FLORIDA and Qualified Targeted Industry Investments

Shares How Florida’s DEO is Helping with Long-Term Hurricane Disaster Relief

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (February 25, 2020) – With the Florida Legislature currently putting finishing touches on Florida’s next state budget, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity CEO Ken Lawson tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that Floridians enjoy a friendly tax climate because of Florida’s visitors contributing to the economy.

“By virtue of tourism, we’re not paying a state income tax,” said Lawson. “Out-of-state tourists are investing in Florida, spending money across the state, that means that’s increasing our tax base. So, it’s very important that VISIT FLORIDA is funded to help market the state across the country and the world.”

Director Lawson, Florida’s top economic development leader, also shared the importance of not letting the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) program sunset.

“QTI is a great tool for small, medium and large communities across Florida. This tool causes companies to create jobs in aerospace, finance and diversified areas,” he explained about the program that allows job creators who invest in their business, create jobs and pay their taxes, to seek tax refunds based on their investment.

Director Lawson also highlights how DEO is playing a vital role in helping with long-term hurricane disaster recovery.

“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, DEO is fully committed to long-term disaster recovery, ensuring they put funds out across the State of Florida,” Lawson said. “With Hurricane Irma, we awarded $300 million so far, with Hurricane Michael we are working on our state action plan.”

Click HERE to watch the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program.

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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.

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.

Governor DeSantis’s Legislative Affairs Director Stephanie Kopelousos Shares Insights on EFI, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 12, 2020) – When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom-five legal environment by passing meaningful lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom-five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

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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.

Gov. DeSantis’s Legislative Director Gives Insights on Enterprise Florida, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA

When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom five legal environment by passing meaning lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: FAIA Talks Alternative Investments

In the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Bottom Line, we sat down with Michael Corcelli, Founder and Chairman of the Florida Alternative Investment Association (FAIA) to discuss FAIA’s role in Florida’s economic development.

“We have an economic development model that we’ve build that has six different channels inside of the mission and vision,” said Corcelli. “We bring industry education to our members we brand Florida a s a leading center of alternative investment by doing trip around the country and Latin America.”

Interested in Florida Trade and Investment?

The Florida Chamber’s 2019 Florida International Trade and Investment Conference is the only statewide inbound mission program dedicated to promoting Florida as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) and developing business to business relationships to grow two-way trade. Register today an join us in Miami, May 30, 2019.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: Senator Bill Montford Discusses Hurricane Michael’s Lasting Impacts

In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, Senator Bill Montford (SD 3) discusses the lasting effects of Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle and the role of government in helping the residents and businesses impacted by this natural disaster.

“There has been no disaster like this in the history of the United States that people have had to wait 191 days before there was a response from the federal government,” said Senator Montford. “We need to demand that Washington do their job to get the relief these people deserve.”

Be Prepared for Any Storm

We are just two months away from the start of hurricane season. Learn how you can get prepared and find all the resources you need before, during and after a storm by visiting www.FloridaChamber.com/Hurricane.

Lawmakers Take Steps to Lower the Cost of Doing Business in Florida

On April 16, two Florida Chamber-backed targeted tax reform bills passed through the House and Senate— HB 7123 and SB 1112. Carolyn Johnson, Director of Business, Economic Development and Innovation Policy provides us with an update on the two tax packages and what they mean for Florida’s job creators.

HB 7123 will now move to the House floor, while SB 1112 has one more committee stop before moving to the floor.

Thank you to bill sponsors Representative Bryan Avila and Senator Joe Gruters for continuing to take the necessary steps to lower the cost of doing business.

We will keep you up-to-date as these bills move forward.

Get Involved

1. ICYMI from Florida Politics: Senate bill to make internet marketplaces all pay sales taxes passes panel.

2. Sign the petition today to create a more competitive and equitable tax system in Florida.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: NCCI Is Leading the Way in Florida Worker’s Compensation Marketplace


In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, Dawn Ingham, State Relations Executive for the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) discusses NCCI’s role in Florida’s workers’ compensation marketplace and the trends affecting this system.

“We’re seeing some positive trends affecting Florida’ workers compensation marketplace. Employment growth and wage growth here in Florida are higher than the national average,” Ingham said.

Making Florida More Competitive

Join business leaders, industry experts, elected officials and community leaders for the Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit, and hear from and network with industry leaders on the important issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers. Click here to be the first to know when registration opens.

John Holdnak on Recovering from Hurricane Michael

John Holdnak, President of Gulf Coast State College, sat down with the Florida Chamber Foundation to discuss the impact Hurricane Michael had on the college and their steps following the hurricane to return to working order.

The Gulf Coast State College in Panama City started out as a small junior college. Since it opened in 1957, it has broadened its mission and today offers more than 150 programs and is relied upon by the panhandle to prepare students for the workforce.

On October 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the Panhandle, came onshore as a Category 4 storm causing catastrophic damage. Mr. Holdnak describes the days following the hurricane.

“Panama City experienced sustained winds of 166 miles an hour and 182 mile an hour gusts of wind, some higher, and if you’re wondering what stands up to that – not much.”

 

“We are a very resilient group of people and we say that so often I think it may end up becoming cliché but I don’t know a better way to describe a group of people that have been through what has occurred in Northwest Florida, not just in my community, but all the communities around us and up through Florida to the Georgia border.”

The college suffered approximately $44 million in damages and the largest campus with 28 buildings saw damage to every structure. However, despite the severity of the damage, Gulf Coast State College re-opened 27 days after the storm hit

“From the time the storm crossed the coast and we were closed to the time we reopened for classes was 27 days. If you saw the damage that we had at the college, you would be amazed that we could have don’t that.”

 

“We lost about 8 percent of our enrollment in the fall directly related to the hurricane. That is a phenomenal number because the average in our system historically over the last 25 years or so is about 30 percent a semester if it’s a direct hit.”

 

On Hurricane Preparedness

“We prepare ahead of time. The colleges in Florida belong to a common risk management consortium. We plan ahead of time to have a company come in and work with us in the event of a natural disaster. They hit the ground running.”

 

On Challenges That Continue

“Thirty percent of all housing was destroyed or damaged so badly that it’s unlivable for probably six months or more and that’s probably the biggest detriment not only to the college being fully operational but the community being fully operational.”

“We are making progress but that’s the number one impactor on the business community as well as the college.”

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: Rep. MaryLynn Magar Discusses Lowering the Cost of Healthcare

 

Join Healthcare Partnership     Sign Healthcare Petition

 

Representative MaryLynn Magar Talks Healthcare Affordability

The latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line features Representative MaryLynn Magar, Chair of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and Speaker Pro Tempore, discussing her priorities relating to Florida’s large health care industry.

“As always, my focus has been to make sure there is funding for our children, the disabled who through no fault of their own are in situations, and the elderly,” said Magar. “To make sure that we have a good amount for them to live comfortably and well.”

Join the Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership

A value-based healthcare system focused on outcomes is a vital component in the overall economic health of Florida. Be a part of the solution and join in the pursuit to implement innovative policies that accentuate Florida’s free-market environment and improve access to care by joining the Florida Chamber Healthcare Partnership. Contact Matthew Choy at mchoy@flchamber.com to learn how you can get involved.

April 9, 2019

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: Enterprise Florida is Essential For Florida’s Economic Development

In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, we sat down with Jamal Sowell, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc. to discuss the work Enterprise Florida has done to diversify Florida’s economy as well as the impact defunding the program could have on Florida’s future economic development.

“Enterprise Florida works specifically with the local Economic Development Corporations and because of that the return on investment has been amazing,” said Sowell. “There has been over $17 billion in capital investment, over 200,000 jobs made, and 1,000 economic development projects that have come from that.”

Drastically reducing or worse, eliminating Florida’s targeted and proven economic development programs will not provide the momentum Florida must have in order to keep our state’s amazing job creation success going.

Take Action

Under the current budget proposals, the Florida Senate has recommended fully funding EFI’s operations budget, while the House proposed zero dollars in investment. This week, legislators are positioned to begin conferencing on their respective budgets. Please take two minutes to contact your Representative and your Senators to encourage them to fully fund Enterprise Florida.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: UWF Is Leading the Way in Workforce Development

  • Register for Learners to Earners Workforce Summit

  • In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, we sat down with Dr. Pam Northrup, Vice President of Research and Strategic Innovation at the University of West Florida to discuss UWF’s workforce development initiatives, including their role in the Complete Florida program.

    “Complete Florida is an initiative that is designed for adults that have some college and no degree in Florida,” said Dr. Northrup. “Currently there are 2.2 million adults in the state of Florida that fit into this category.”

    Is Florida’s Workforce Ready?

    Join business leaders, industry experts, elected officials and community leaders for the Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, where you’ll be able to hear from and network with industry leaders looking for talent and those tasked with ensuring Florida’s students are ready for the future of work.

    Florida Chamber Bottom Line: FSU’s College of Law Is Helping Boost Florida’s Workforce

  • Register for Learners to Earners Workforce Summit

  • In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, we sat down with Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Dean of Florida State University’s College of Law, to discuss workforce development and the new innovative programs FSU’s College of Law is offering to boost workplace skills.

    “We are very excited to be able to offer an online masters degree program for non-lawyers,” said O’Hara O’connor. “I think we are providing something that is extraordinarily useful and at the same time cutting edge.

    Is Florida’s Workforce Ready?

    Join business leaders, industry experts, elected officials and community leaders for the Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, where you’ll be able to hear from and network with industry leaders looking for talent and those tasked with ensuring Florida’s students are ready for the future of work.