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President's Report - June 2017

President CEO Joe Catrambone

Thankfully the 2017 Legislative Session ended last month brining home our lawmakers; ending the bashing of business interests in our State, at least for this year.

This session produced 3052 bills, an inordinate number. 249 bills were passed by both chambers. To date 190 have been sent to Governor Scott awaiting his signature. Currently a budget has not been passed. There is speculation there will be the need for a special session to do so. There is also apprehension concerning what if anything the Governor will veto.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce reports that 16 of their 31 priorities passed. That seems to be an inordinately low success rate compared to previous years. While businesses received some positive actions, in my view there were no major victories. Two crucial business issues “Visit Florida” and “Enterprise Florida’ were dismantled. The Florida Chamber, as well as a majority of local chambers pled for our legislators to continue funding the programs responsible for attracting visitors in record numbers for the past three years and attracting new business and jobs to Florida. In most part the pleas fell on deaf ears. House leadership insisted there is no need to advertise Florida as a destination. "We have the sun” and business will locate in Florida because of “our climate and no state income tax.

Florida has had a great reputation for welcoming business, however, in a recent article in Chief Executive Magazine, they claim; “CEO’s are taking notice that the recent talk in the Florida State House about cutting business incentives is a red flag and causing delays in making a decision to relocate to Florida.” Another serious impediment for business is the exorbitant cost of “workers comp insurance”; little or no action was taken to alleviate the problem. Another was eliminating the business rent tax; they threw us a bone by reducing it less than .05%.

In 35 years of experience dealing with Tallahassee, the 2017 session was the most contentious session I’ve experienced. In my opinion it was about legislators' personal agendas rather than the concerns of their constituents.

We have an election coming in 2018. Check out your candidates voting records before selecting a candidate to support!

Joe Catrambone

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