2014 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY STATEMENT STATE ISSUES AGRICULTURE/WATER Work with our Florida Chamber partners in supporting the expanded use alternative water supplies and projects in addition to implementing policies that encourage alternative water investments.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & TOURISM Enterprise Florida: Work with our Florida Chamber partners to make a proactive approach in attracting jobs and new businesses to our state by supporting Enterprise Florida, the state’s lead economic development agency, in its mission to facilitate job growth for Florida’s businesses and citizens Rural Economic Development: Work with our Florida Chamber partners to support incentivizing business development in rural areas to be more competitive against other states. QTI and Tech Industries: Work with our Florida Chamber partners to support diversifying Florida’s economy through the attraction of businesses in a qualified targeted industry or an emerging technology sector. International Trade-Ports: Work with our Florida Chamber Partners in supporting the goal of doubling Florida-origin exports in the next 5 years by doubling Enterprise Florida’s international budget, ratifying regional trade agreements and focusing state policy makers attention on international business.
HEALTHCARE Work with our Florida Chamber partners to secure Florida’s future and ensure healthy quality of life by supporting proactive and innovative policies that will deliver greater access and quality of care, control escalating healthcare costs and promote a healthy population by expanding insurance coverage for eligible, low-income Floridians only if certain prerequisites are put in place. (More on the 11 prerequisites at FLChamber.com.)
PENSIONS Work with our Florida Chamber partners to support modernizing the Florida Retirements System to make both state and local public employee pensions sustainable and consistent with those offered by the public sector.
TORT REFORM Fair Settlement Reform: Work with our Florid Chamber partners establishing a clearly defined timeline encouraging plaintiff attorneys and insurers to play by the same set of fair settlement rules in Florida courtrooms. Accuracy in Damages Reform:Work with our Florida Chamber partners to ensure juries are given a clear picture of true medical costs when deciding current and future medical damage awards in personal injury cases.
ENERGY SOLUTIONS Support comprehensive energy policy that balances affordable, reliable, conservative and environmentally responsible energy sources while promoting economic development.
INTERNET TAX LOOPHOLE Support measures to close the internet sales tax loophole; and streamline sales tax information and definitions to make it easier to preserve the competiveness of Florida businesses.
LICENSING/PERMITTING Work with our Florida Chamber partners to support costsavings and improved efficiencies in state government that aid in reducing spending and eliminating burdensome regulations on business. Work with our Florida Chamber partners to streamline permitting processes in order to limit excessive cost on employers.
LOCAL ISSUES DETROIT TIGERS/SPRING TRAINING RETENTION Support the state’s current legislation (F.S. 288.11631) and funding mechanism for retention and attraction of MLB Spring Training, with the following modifications. •
Authorize the payment (reimbursement) of up to $20M in state funding, for single MLB franchise training in FL community, to be paid in twenty equal payments over 20 years, as opposed to the current language, which spreads the same amount over a 30 year period.
Under section 2, sub-section 2, support changing of the penalty (claw back) provision language to reflect a payback based on the unfulfilled obligation of the initial agreement by the MLB team.
LAKELAND LINDER REGIONAL AIRPORT Support in securing funding for operation of the airport’s control tower for the week of Sun ‘n Fun’s International Fly-In
PEACE RIVER CENTER CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT & TRIAGE CENTER Support of capital outlay funding in the 2014-15 budget for renovation of the Gateway facility to a crisis stabilization unit and Triage Center.
SALVATION ARMY Support reinstatement of $500,000 appropriation in the state budget for the Salvation Army and the George W. Jenkins Community of Hope project.
2014 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY STATEMENT EDUCATION ISSUES K-12 EDUCATION - POLK COUNTY The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes that prioritizing investments in K-12 education and achieving measurable results for students and teachers are both critical to the future of our community. Therefore, the Chamber supports changes to K-12 education that allow a focus on local initiatives and local control, instead of a “statewide” approach. Restore the authority for school board to levy, by majority vote and without referendum, up to an additional .50 mills for either critical operating needs or capital outlay needs, or to be split between both. (Polk County Schools Request) Provide additional funding for differentiated accountability model, allowing district to adequately address the needs of Polk County students. (Polk County Schools Request) Address regulatory requirements preventing high quality certified teachers from teaching VPK classes. (Polk County Schools Request) Reduction in class size penalty costs incurred by the school district allowing for more funding to allocated on teaching and learning in classroom. (Polk County Schools Request) Common Core (Polk County School & FL Chamber Support) •
Work with our local and Florida Chamber partners to continue to support the Common Core State Standards for enhanced K-12 assessments and accountability systems based on high standards, evaluations and accountability.
STEM (Polk County School & FL Chamber Support) •
Work with our local and Florida Chamber partners to continue to advocate for a unified adoption of state STEM policy and STEM education initiatives providing pathways to STEM careers.
HIGHER EDUCATION - POLK COUNTY The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes Polk State College, Florida Southern College, Southeastern University and Florida Polytechnic as important, local ways for the county to produce college degrees and shrink the educational attainment gap, thereby advancing the cause of economic development. Therefore, the Chamber requests the state’s support of the above educational institutions in the following areas: Support Polk State College’s request for $17 million dollars in PECO funding to complete construction of the Polk State College Center for Public Safety. (Polk State Request) Support SB 84 and HB 35, allowing veterans of the Armed Services to qualify as residents of the state of Florida for tuition purposes. (Polk State Request) Support additional dollars to Polk State College’s base budget through investment in the Florida College System. (Polk State Request) Support maintaining or increasing Bright Futures & Florida Resident Grant Program. (Southeastern University and Florida Southern College request) Support the appropriation of the Florida Poly’s full budget funding and budget authority. (Florida Poly Request) Support the “Hard Hats for Higher Education” campaign which is a joint effort by all public universities for funding of university construction. (Florida Poly Request)