Ritch Workman, Wilton Simpson named 2014 FRF Legislators of the Year

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On Thursday, the Florida Retail Federation, the state’s largest retail trade association, named Republicans state Rep. Ritch Workman and Sen. Wilton Simpson as 2014 “Legislators of the Year.”

Workman has represented Brevard County in the Florida House since 2008, becoming chair of the Finance & Tax Subcommittee during the 2014 Legislative Session. Simpson is a freshman state Senator, first elected in 2012 to represent Hernando, Pasco, and Sumter counties.

“It is our honor for us to recognize Rep. Workman for his leadership and work in the House on behalf of Florida’s taxpayers and small businesses,” said FRF CEO Rick McAllister. “As the chairman of the Finance and Tax Subcommittee, Rep. Workman has served as a principled steward of our state’s finances, and we look forward to working with him in future sessions.”

As one of the highlights of the last session, FRF points to Workman’s F&T bill HB 5601, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, which established three tax holidays for 2014: Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, and a new holiday for purchases ENERGY STAR and WaterSense products.

During the 2014 Session, Simpson served as chair of the Florida Senate Committee on Community Affairs, which handles growth management, economic development and environmental regulation

In recognizing Simpson, FRF noted he was instrumental in promoting legislation protecting Florida’s Petroleum Cleanup Program, which supports fuel retailers, site owners, operators and contractors in addressing abandoned and leaky underground storage tanks.

The Trilby Republican also championed legislation to create a statewide process for employers and employees to resolve wage disputes through the state’s court system, as well as sponsoring a bill to reduce the annual filing fees small business owners pay to the state.

“As a small business owner himself, Sen. Simpson has distinguished himself with his understanding and commitment to issues important to Florida’s retailers,” McAllister said. “Sen. Simpson is a tireless public servant who is willing and able to tackle big statewide problems while never losing sight of the needs of his constituents. We are very proud to recognize him for his leadership.”

FRF represents retailers and businesses selling directly to consumers. Retailers are responsible for one out of every five jobs in Florida, paying more than $49 billion in wages annually, and remitting $20 billion in sales taxes to state coffers every year.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.