Legislative Position Paper

The top Legislative Policy Goals of our Chamber members are:

Indian River Lagoon & Surface Waters
Of the Chamber members responding to the 2016 issues survey, seventy-six percent (76%) believe:

  • The "Health of the Indian River Lagoon" is the #1 most critical local issue; and
  • "Protecting Florida's surface waters and fresh water supply" is the top issue at the state level.

The Chamber supports:

  1. State and local government funding to update and implement the 2008 Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan with provisions for public education - leading to the long-term restoration of lagoon water quality, habitat, fisheries, and our critical Lagoon-based-economy.
  2. Specific FY 2016/2017 appropriation of matching State funds including:
    • $2.5 million for the City of Sebastian septic to sewer project,
    • $125,000 to enhance the conveyor systems on Indian River County's PC Main Screening System,
    • $140,000 to improve debris screen No. 1 for Indian River County's PC Main Screening System, and
    • $150,000 for the Indian River County Aquatic Plant Program.

Economic Development
Of the Chamber members responding to the 2016 issues survey:

  • About sixty-seven percent (67%) depend on tourism,
  • The majority identified concerns regarding:
    • Diversifying the state's economy,
    • Maintaining Florida's ranking as a top state in which to conduct business,
    • The importance of the visitor industry and Florida's "family" vacation brand,
    • Marketing Florida as a great place to locate and grow a business

The Chamber supports:

  1. Funding for Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida programs and incentives as recommended by the Governor;
  2. Local and state legislative initiatives that strengthen Florida's tourism-based economy, economic development programs and resources to retain, grow, and attract new jobs;
  3. Legislation that reduces the burden and complexity of local, state, and federal government regulations that add financial burden on existing and prospective businesses.

The following are additional Legislative Policy Goals of our Chamber members:

The 2016 issues survey identifies that "finding qualified employees" is a most common issue confronting businesses. Chamber staff are commonly told that, beyond skill sets, the absence of "affordable housing" is a primary impediment.

The Chamber supports:

  1. Education/training initiatives on the local level - supported by the State - that develop high school graduates with world-class talent to attract, grow and retain businesses, meet local economic development demands and ensure all our citizens have an opportunity for workforce training and a good job;
  2. Advancement of science, technology, engineering and math and engineering (STEM) curriculums in local schools and the State's university system that will build a solid foundation to support high tech, sea pharmaceutical and bio-medical, "green" alternative energy sources and other new and evolving industry sectors; and
  3. Local and state provisions to make "affordable housing" available to meet the workforce needs of our community.
  4. Legislation to provide for 2014-2015 school grades to be released in the summer of 2016 with 2015-2016 grades for comparison of two years of test results, or learning gains - due to questions regarding the 2014-2015 assessments.

Quality public infrastructure directly and positively affects: (a) our ability to compete in the global economy, and (b) the quality of life for individuals and families. Deterioration and inadequate development of infrastructure costs our economy, at a local, state, and national level with respect to jobs and growth.

The Chamber supports:

  1. Local and State measures to reduce utility costs;
  2. Legislation to regulate high speed rail in Florida to ensure maximum "sealed corridor" safety requirements are installed at every grade railroad crossing;
  3. State funding for construction of an interchange at Oslo Road and I-95 as an MPO and FDOT priority;
  4. State dedicated-long-term funding to support efficient restoration and maintenance of Florida beaches - specifically as need to also provide funding in the amount of (a) $1,125,000 for monitoring and mitigation investigations for Sector 3 beaches, and (b) $50,000 for Sector 5 EIS;
  5. State funding for airport development that is no less than that which is proposed by FDOT in the Tentative Work Program for FY2016-17; and
  6. Predictable local and State long-term funding for transportation infrastructure.

Insurance costs continue to be a significant cost to Chamber businesses.

The Chamber supports State legislative measures to:

  1. Amend Florida's insurance regulation laws to provide for reasonable and fair treatment of insurance companies and their customers;
  2. Provide the ability for property owners to find windstorm and property insurance options at affordable premiums in a voluntary free and open market; and
  3. Depopulate Citizens to the private marketplace.

NOTE: This is considered a working document for 2016 that may be changed at any time depending upon proposed legislation, deletion/addition of local legislative issues, or other considerations. The position paper is distributed to Chamber members, local, state, and federal government representatives, and attendees of the annual Research Coast Legislative Conference in Tallahassee

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
1216 21st St.,
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: 772-567-3491
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