This week’s Post

The Chamber’s Board of Directors has approved the organization’s 2015 Legislative Priorities, which support business climate improvement via key Chamber advocacy areas including energy, transportation and small business.

The priorities also speak to timely issues such as online voter registration and Governor Rick Scott’s proposed tax reforms to address Florida’s commercial lease sales tax, communications services sales tax and the manufacturing equipment and machinery sales and use tax.

A Chamber-led delegation of business leaders traveled to Tallahassee on March 4th to meet with key legislators in support this year’s priorities.

gainesville Chamber

Among them is a Special Legislative Act providing for a referendum of Gainesville voters to determine whether the City Charter should be amended to create an independent, appointed and municipally-owned utility authority to govern GRU.

FL Transportation SecretaryThe Chamber has respectfully requested that the proposed local bill on GRU Governance approved by the Alachua County Legislative delegation be amended to only include language addressing the structure of an appointed utility authority to govern GRU. In our view, any bill language addressing policies and policy decisions of the utility authority should be removed.

Chamber delegates also advocated for business and family-friendly tax cuts, which would provide relief to Alachua County businesses and families.

Meanwhile, on the local front, as Mayor Ed Braddy prepares to launch his Economic Competitiveness Blue Ribbon Panel later this month, the City of Gainesville is in the process of implementing most of the Chamber’s 27 small business growth recommendations emerging from a 2013 Small Business Forum. The recommendations were directly informed by feedback received at a series of small business forums to identify ways to make it easier to start and run a business in the City of Gainesville.

Today, the Alachua County Commission will review the revised County/Chamber Business and Economic Growth Action Plan during a public meeting. The Plan is the product of a year of collaboration between the Chamber and the County to identify ways for the County to promote business growth and economic development activity.

Rep BaxleySpecial thanks to the legislators and legislative staff who took time out to talk with our delegation members: Sen. Rob Bradley, Rep. Keith Perry, Rep. Elizabeth Porter, Rep. Clovis Watson, Jr., Rep. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Halsey Beshears, Rep. Dwight Dudley, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, Rep. Debbie Mayfield, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, Rep. George Moraitis, Rep. Ritch Workman, and/or their legislative staff, including policy chiefs for the House Local Governmental Affairs Subcommittee and the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee.

We also appreciated the opportunity to meet with new Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold.