With the Florida Legislature convening next week, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) unveiled its 2014 legislative priorities on Thursday.
Today we released our 2014 Session Priorities publication that outlines the focus of our advocacy efforts for this session, said former Florida House Speaker and former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, the president and CEO of AIF, on Thursday. Among the many important issues that AIF intends to focus on are taxation, water, gaming and health care. Additionally, we are happy to see job growth is on a steady path to recovery, and we believe pro-employment policies can continue to expedite the recovery of our workforce here in Florida.
AIF lined up in support behind Gov. Rick Scotts efforts to cut $500 million in taxes and fees including backing the governors call to roll back $400 million in vehicle registration fees and cutting $100 million in business rent taxes. AIF also called for lowering communications services taxes (CST), noting that Florida has some of the highest rates in the nation. There are currently bills to cut CST in the Legislature including a measure from Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, to reduce them by 2 percent. Hukill insists her bill will save Florida taxpayers $240 million.
Turning to water, AIF also called for the Legislature to back a comprehensive statewide water plan to address our current problems and plan for future needs, advocating for science-based solutions and adequate funding for badly needed programs, supporting alternative water supply options, and highlighting the need to fund regional projects that are in line and ready to deliver results.
AIF also weighed in on expanded gaming in the Sunshine State, calling for the Legislature to consider their effect on the states existing pari-mutuel industry before approving any proposals and backing the creation of a state-backed independent gaming commission. AIF also continued to support destination casinos by backing any proposal that will allow free-market bidding, ensuring premier development companies will build world-class destinations in our state and bring tremendous direct and indirect economic benefits to Florida businesses and the state.
On health care, AIF called for more transparency, lowered costs and reducing regulation.
As the 2014 legislative session commences next week, AIF is dedicated to continuing its tradition of utilizing these guiding principles as outlined and working diligently to support these issues on behalf of the business community over the course of the 60-day session, Feeney said.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.