Following the emphasis placed on jobs the past eight years under the administration of former Gov. Rick Scott, Florida’s business community is expressing optimism with the the promise from new Gov. Ron DeSantis that job creation will remain a focus of the state.
“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While Florida’s economic outlook for 2019 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important.”
Job creators from across the state gathered this week in Tallahassee to unveil the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Jobs Agenda. It’s an agenda that Chamber officials say will help Florida create at least 150,000 new jobs this year.
“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – commonly known as the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Bob Grammig, chair of the Florida Chamber Board of Directors and Partner, Holland & Knight.
The Florida Chamber is calling on lawmakers to make Florida more competitive by focusing on three areas:
- Lowering the Cost of Living,
- Reducing the Cost of Doing Business, and
- Preparing for the Future Growth.
Again, in 2019, the Chamber says it will work to reduce the cost of living in Florida by addressing problems associated with a practice known as assignment of benefits (AOB) in which homeowners or car owners transfer the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third party, usually a contractor. An AOB gives the third party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the homeowner.
The insurance industry says unscrupulous contractors have abused the system by inflating costs and suing insurance companies. That increases costs for insurers which get passed onto consumers.
To reduce the cost of doing business in Florida, the Chamber calls on state lawmakers to consider reforming the state’s civil legal system which results in large numbers of “gotcha” lawsuits targeting the business community. Again, the cost of those frivolous suits gets passed onto consumers. It’s estimated those lawsuits cost Florida families more than $4,442 each year.
The Chamber is also urging lawmakers to maintain a competitive tax environment by reducing the Business Rent Tax and fixing the internet sales tax situation, and by reforming the state’s workers’ comp system.
To prepare for Florida’s future grow, the Chamber is calling on the Legislature to address the skills gap that currently exists in the state’s workforce and to increase accessibility to higher education and post-secondary learning programs.
With the state expected to grow by an additional 5 million people by 2030, the business community is also urging the Legislature to make smarter investment’s in the state’s infrastructure.
Overall, the state’s business community is optimistic about the business climate in Florida heading into the 2019 legislative session which begins in a couple of weeks.
“For the last eight years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth,” the Chamber said in a news release. “Growing at just under 900 net new residents daily, Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 150,000 new jobs in 2019 and that the Sunshine State has a very low probability of recession.”