Associated Industries party tonight signals beginning of legislative session

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Session starts on Tuesday, which means three things for Monday: fundraising frenzy before the 60-day curtain falls; last minute roommate arrangements; and the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) pre-session welcome back reception for legislators, staff and politicos, drawing easily 2,000 attendees each year.

Tallahassee reaches full capacity during March and April, bringing some welcome energy to local businesses: Session generates an estimated $2 million per week in economic impact for the city – a figure which could prospectively increase in following years if reforms to Florida’s lobbyist gift ban are passed as proposed.

Considering the impact of the 2005 gift ban law on AIF’s party planning (see here), no doubt they and their guests would welcome any such measure.

The affair is meant to be a festive last-night-before-the-work-begins kind of deal, and it is unlikely that wonky policy talk will predominate; but it couldn’t hurt for attendees to brush up on a few of AIF’s goals for the 2013 session, at least as ice breakers for awkward moments on the cocktail line. Among them:

  • Reforms to Citizens Property insurance to lower what could likely become “hurricane taxes” assessed on the over three-quarters of Florida homeowners who are not Citizens policyholders.
  • Modernization of Florida’s health care delivery system, with the ubiquitous goals of balancing costs and quality, transparency and accountability.
  • The passage of the “Manufacturing Competitiveness Act”, to better position Florida for manufacturing and aerospace/defense industries.
  • Tax equity for “virtual” internet companies who conduct their business outside of Florida and the brick and mortar businesses who play by the rules.
  • Increased state investments in alternative water projects and common sense fertilizer use policies.
  • Reforms to Florida’s litigation procedures in bad faith claims against insurers.

But what am I thinking? We’ve got weeks to talk about those things. For tonight, enjoy shrimp and drinks, and eyes open for ice sculptures.