Legislative Agendas

RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

FUNDING

Ensure that we at least maintain current levels of funding for Florida's existing economic development programs

TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES

MARINE COMMERCE

Encourage and hasten construction of the First Coast Expressway, an important corridor that supports regional economic development and improves navigability of the St. Johns River.

The Shands Bridge limits development at the Putnam County Barge Port. It currently prohibits access for large ship and tall-mast sail boats to our marinas and numerous tourist destinations. Ports south of the bridge all have a definite economic disadvantage caused by the Shands Bridge and we urge the FDOT to fix the bridge height to 72 feet or at the very least the minimum of 65 feet.

The Chamber supports fixing the Shands Bridge to allow for tall ships to reach south-ern river ports.

HIGHWAY ACCESSIBILITY

Completion of four lane project - SR 20 from Interlachen to Hawthorne.

Four lane US 17 from San Mateo to Volusia County or at minimum continuation of improvements.

RODMAN RESERVOIR

The Putnam County Chamber of Commerce continues support for Rodman Reservoir and opposes all efforts to restore the Ocklawaha River.

FEDERAL ISSUES

The Putnam County Chamber of Commerce opposes the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan. If implemented, Putnam County stands to lose hundreds of jobs and Florida’s electric rates will become vastly uncompetitive for economic development projects

 

Northeast Florida 2015-16 Advocacy Agenda State and Federal Issues

Business Climate 

  • Make Permanent the Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption (State)
  • Renew Enterprise Zone Legislation and allow, specifically, RACEC communities to have their own Enterprise Zones with the ability to encompass the entire RACEC community’s political jurisdiction (State)
  • Phase out the commercial real estate lease tax as Florida is the only state that collects one (State)
  • Establishment of Freight & Logistics Zones (State)
  • Extend confidentiality statute provisions to cover economic development partners and districts, including workforce development, universities, utilities and other government authorities (State)
  • Restructure the QTI program by (State) :
  • Increase the per job award
  • Abolish 80% performance rule or provide companies with range so as not to be penalized for falling short of projected job creation goals
  • Allow logistics and manufacturing projects to qualify using 100% of the statewide average wage, if lower.
  • Allow companies to carry credits forward if they can’t be used in any given year
  • Allow LLCs to take advantage of tax credits
  • Remove requirement that existing Florida companies must increase workforce by 10% for businesses creating more than 50 jobs

Energy

  • Support policies that allow for increased access and usage of Natural Gas (Local, State & Federal) 

Small Business

  • Support efforts to create an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Florida and support funding of state and federal measures to increase access to capital needed for growth by Florida small businesses (State & Federal)
  • Identify quality affordable healthcare solutions and advocate for their accessibility. (State and Federal)
  • Provide funding for DEO to create a best practices toolbox for local government planning, zoning and future land use initiatives (State)
  • Support efforts to reduce the tax burden on small businesses, specifically the “Tangible Personal Property Tax” levied on businesses of all sizes. (State)

Physical Infrastructure

  • Support innovative policies that maximize Florida’s investments in its transportation and infrastructure in NEFL (State & Federal)
  • Rally leadership and resources to improve the Ports of Jacksonville and Fernandina such as efforts to deepen St Johns River to 47 feet (State & Federal)
  • Support efforts to designate the St. Johns River a Marine Highway (Federal) 
  • Urge FDOT to modify the height of the Shands Bridge to 72 feet or at the very least the minimum of 65 feet to allow for tall ships to reach southern river ports (State)
  • Support EFI’s effort to create the Florida Infrastructure Fund (State) 
  • Support Federal legislation that will enhance NEFL Florida’s ability to compete on the global market such as, the Water Resources Development Act, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and the Transportation Reauthorization Bill. (Federal) 
  • Significantly increase funding for the Rural Infrastructure Fund (State)
  • Establishment of State Infrastructure Bank (State)

Workforce

  • Support the Governor’s Workforce Florida’s budget request for Quick Response Training Grant (State)
  • Restore $15 million in TANF funds and stabilize TANF Workforce Funding for the 24 regional workforce boards (State)
  • Advocate for incentive programs targeted to workforce needs (i.e. STEM) (State)

Education

  • Support alignment of region’s vocational and higher-educational offerings to targeted industries and key sub-clusters (State)
  • Support extending compulsory school attendance from 16 years old to 18 years old (State)
  • Support efforts to improve the technology infrastructure in our k-12 schools (State)

Military

  • Advocate for increased national security related presence in the region such as the Navy and other services including active, reserve and guard (Federal)
  • Advocate bringing more Coast Guard and other Department of Homeland Security agencies to the region (Federal)
  • Advocate for a greater VA presence in the region (Federal)
  • Support the arrival of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), Patrol Craft, and Destroyers to Naval Station Mayport. Help facilitate the orderly arrival by assisting in housing, spouse employment, school choice for children, post K-12 education, local amenities and transfer of spouse business licenses (State & Federal)
  • Support policies that will help retain and integrate veterans into the regional work force (State)