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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Gov. Crist’s Call for a Special Session on Offshore Drilling

July 20, 2010

“Today, members of the state Legislature came to Tallahassee at the request of the Governor for a political event rather than a serious policy discussion aimed at helping struggling residents impacted by the Deepwater Horizon accident.  The call for a special session is a waste of precious taxpayer dollars because our state law already prohibits drilling in Florida’s coastal waters.  If the Governor was serious about coming to the aid of Floridians, he would have called a special session designed to assist residents who are facing financial ruin.  That means helping people with their property values and claims processing, as well as relaxing any rules or regulations that will help them survive this disaster. 

The Governor has indicated that, regardless of the outcome, he intends to take this issue to the people in November, but voters are not clamoring for a constitutional amendment to ban drilling.  What they want are jobs and assistance for themselves and their loved ones in the wake of this incident.  Residents want to be able to live their lives, keep their homes and avoid spiraling into debt.  Recent national polls also show that the economy, jobs and the national deficit are far more important to Americans than what is happening in the Gulf, despite the environmental consequences. 

Thankfully, Senate and House leaders have understood this from the very beginning and have worked to keep taxes down and job opportunities forthcoming.  AIF applauds the Florida Legislature for their willingness to understand the importance of helping our Gulf Coast neighbors and returning to Tallahassee in early September once they have had time to ascertain the best policies for our state.”