Florida Chamber of Commerce officials admit they're disappointed the 2015 regular session didn't produce all it might have, but claims the upcoming special legislative session will offer a second chance "to make Florida more competitive."
Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the chamber, quotes Winston Churchill: 'A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.'
In a printed statement issued Friday, Wilson said, A special session, or several sessions, brings the hope that legislators can hit the reset button and pick up the business of making Florida more competitive."
The Florida House and Senate remained $4.2 billion apart on their proposed budgets -- primarily due to differing views on approaches to expanding health care coverage, Wilson said. As a consequence, lawmakers did not achieve their one constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget during the 60-day regular legislative session.
That means lawmakers get a second chance to pass a budget during a special legislative session, which is constitutionally required before July 1. During that time, the Florida Chamber is hopeful lawmakers will make Florida more competitive by passing a budget that includes:
- Smarter Health Care Coverage in Florida,
- Secures Floridas water future,
- Lowers the cost of living and cost of doing business through targeted tax reforms,
- Passes meaningful lawsuit abuse reforms,
- Maintains school choice,
- Begins phasing Florida out of the Florida-only sales tax on commercial lease,
- Targeted economic development incentives,
- Floridas broken pension reform,
- Opportunities for children with unique abilities, and
- Invests in marketing Florida.
The Florida Chamber encourages our states leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause -- and that cause is stronger and sustainable economic growth in order to expand opportunities for all Floridians, Wilson added.
The Florida Chambers 2015 Legislative Summary outlines priorities from the chambers 2015 Competitiveness Agenda that passed during the recently completed regular legislative session, including the Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill (signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott), a smart infrastructure bill designating freight and logistics zones, a growth leadership measure and private property rights bill.
The Florida Chamber explains that its 2015 Competitiveness Agenda was developed based on input from chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business. Its agenda serves as a blueprint of legislative priorities "that help secure Floridas future and lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy."