Florida’s Economy to Benefit from Commitment to Rail
Legislators gathered in Tallahassee this month for a Special Session dedicated solely to the issue of rail and rail infrastructure projects. Legislation was passed after much debate and deliberation that establishes a foundation for a rail enterprise system that will include commuter rail, as well as high speed rail. The goal behind this commitment to rail is the belief that these investments in infrastructure will lead to jobs, and more importantly, help position Florida in the best possible shape for recovery once the global economy begins to turn around. AIF Statement on Passage of Rail Transit System Legislation.
Once again, the AIF lobby team engaged legislators on this important issue supporting the legislation for its potential to leverage investments (both state and federal) which will lead to positive economic activity. AIF distributed a special Communiqué to all legislators outlining our policy positions on rail projects. We were careful to warn legislators about the importance of not hurting the Florida Department of Transportation’s existing 5-year work program. Furthermore, we outlined the negative impacts of imposing an additional $2 rental car surcharge for the purposes of finding a funding source for South Florida’s Tri-Rail. We are happy to report that both of those goals were accomplished with passage of HB 1B. Read our Special Session Weekly Report for a complete re-cap of the week’s activities.
Employers to Face Increased Unemployment Compensation Tax Rates
One of the driving forces behind the legislature’s push for approval of this comprehensive rail legislation is the record unemployment facing our state today. With an unemployment rate of over 11%, the state is struggling to meet its obligations to those Floridians out of a job. The state’s trust fund which pays those benefits is depleted and Florida has been borrowing from the federal government at a rate of $225 million per month just to pay out benefits to the astronomical number of jobless Floridians. As a result, the Florida Department of Revenue recently announced that the 2010 unemployment tax levels for Florida employers will be exponentially higher than what was paid last year.
Florida businesses will start receiving those tax notices this week. In anticipation of the reaction many Florida businesses will have to this tax burden, AIF is actively working with House and Senate leaders, as well as its partners in the business community, to responsibly develop policy changes that can mitigate the unexpected increase businesses will face. We are exploring legislative and administrative remedies that could help Florida employers survive in this economic period while maintaining responsible state policies on unemployment compensation that will not generate long-term consequences that create greater tax burdens in the future. AIF Statement on Unemployment Tax Rate Increase.
We welcome your feedback. If you have received your 2010 tax notice, please send us your comments on whether your company can absorb this tax for 2010, what other budget cuts this tax increase will force you to make or any ideas for policy changes to Florida’s unemployment system by using this link. We will use your input to do our best to craft a solution that will help Florida employers in this critical economic time and protect the future of a functional unemployment system in Florida.
In this Edition:
Barney Bishop's Water Quality Testimony
On Wednesday, December 9th AIF President & CEO Barney Bishop testified before the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee regarding the business community’s concern over proposed federal Numeric Nutrient Criteria Standards...read more...
Rooney Heads Florida Request to EPA
Washington, D.C. – Earlier this year, the EPA announced it would enter into a consent decree with Earthjustice and establish Numeric Nutrient Levels for waters in the state of Florida. This followed several (from http://www.rooney.house.gov/)...read more...
Florida Congressional Letter to EPA
As members of the Florida delegation, we are writing today regarding the proposed EPA numeric nutrient rules for our state...read more...
AIF Statement On US District Court Water Ruling
TALLAHASSEE -- Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, released the following statement today regarding a...read more...
AIF Statement On Fair Districts Florida
“In the coming days, various legislative committees will begin Florida’s reapportionment process, which occurs every 10 years...read more...
AIF Statement On Citizens’ Rate Increase
“It seems Christmas has come early for those Citizens’ policyholders living in high-risk areas of the state. Not only did the Office of Insurance Regulation fail to impose an across-the-board 10-percent rate increase...read more...
|On Monday, December 7th, AIF's Environmental Sustainability Council (ESC) held its inaugural meeting in Tallahassee. AIF members heard presentations from the Department of Environmental Protection on Florida's 75% Recycling Rate as well as from AIF staff on water quality issues, which have the potential to impact all businesses in Florida. The meeting was highlighted by the participation of Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee Chairman Senator Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs) who spoke to Council members during a Power Lunch event.