The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce headed up to Tallahassee Thursday to discuss its 2016 legislative agenda with lawmakers.
“We had the privilege today to meet with our local delegation members to express what is important to the Chamber and to the business community as a whole,” said Guy King III, the group’s chair-elect. “It is imperative that we start to lay the groundwork now so that when session begins in January our legislators will know what is important to the community.”
The group’s 15-item agenda calls on the Tampa delegation to bring home money for the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College as well as an interchange on Interstate 275.
The group also expressed support for the Florida Enterprise Fund, the $250 million economic incentives plan put forward by Gov. Rick Scott, claiming it would add jobs to the local economy and make Florida more competitive with other states.
The requested sum far outpaces incentives funding in recent years. Last session lawmakers only approved about $43 million in incentives money, claiming millions allocated in past budgets were not yet spent. The plan would also streamline the approval process for large incentives projects by requiring only the Governor, House Speaker and Senate President to sign off, rather than the entire Legislature.
In addition, the chamber said it wants a cut in the commercial rents sales tax. Florida is the only state to charge the tax, and plans to reduce or eliminate the tax have been floated by lawmakers for several sessions. The tax brought in about $1.3 billion in 2013.