2023 POLICY & LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Remaining competitive both nationally and internationally is imperative to Florida’s future and continued success. AMPLIFY Clearwater supports continued focus on creating a more attractive business climate that allows our employers to thrive and create jobs.
Our goal is to support policies at local and state levels that improve economic investment and growth. Our goal is to make Clearwater the premier location to own and operate a business. AMPLIFY Clearwater works with the City of Clearwater and Pinellas County to improve the experience of business owners and operators. We feel strongly that we should simplify the business startup process and encourage efficiencies between agencies. Our members believe that by advocating for investment in available workforce housing, improved public transportation, and having a strong economic growth plan that, collectively, we can build a more vibrant and attractive community to live, work, learn, invest and play.
- Oppose reduction of Home Rule authority to municipalities
- Preserve the statewide program that assists local governments with maintaining Spring Training Facilities
- Repeal the state preemption of vacation rental property laws to allow local governments to regulate such properties to protect the health and welfare of their residents, visitors and businesses
- Ensure all Florida State and Local Housing Trust Fund monies are used exclusively to finance affordable and workforce housing programs and rental assistance programs
- Increase funding for mental health services
- Oppose unfunded mandates on businesses and residents as it relates to the diversification of energy supply
2. TORT AND REGULATORY REFORM
- Create a competitive tax system that keeps investments in the pockets of small business and families and eliminates uncompetitive tax policies like the Florida-only Business Rent Tax and the punitive Communication Services Tax (9th highest in the nation).
- Support efforts that protect businesses from costly and unnecessary regulations and government mandates
- Reforming Florida’s bottom-five ranked legal climate, a system currently creating a $3,400 “tax” for families each year
- Support of tort reform and civil liability involving business related vehicle insurance
3. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- Restrict Sadowski Trust Funds for workforce housing and expand other funding opportunities
4. INSURANCE REFORM & COMPETITION
- Continue to improve upon reforms made in the 2022 special session to stabilize the market and allow for creative solutions for the issues
Tourism is our state’s top economic driver. We will support and advocate towards importance of restoring funding levels for VISIT FLORIDA to their original total of $75 million. Florida’s economy depends on the visitors that VISIT FLORIDA attracts. Florida’s tourism industry was responsible for welcoming 130 million visitors in 2019 alone. Florida visitors contributed $85.9 billion to Florida’s economy and supported over 1.5 million Florida jobs. According to Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA $3.27 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA serves over 13,000 tourism industry businesses.
Beaches are one of Florida’s most valuable resources, not only for habitat and protection of wildlife, but also a line of defense against major storms, as well as the main attraction for millions of tourists each year. AMPLIFY Clearwater is acutely aware of the dependency on Tourism for our economic health and will continue to fight to ensure Florida’s environmental future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.
1. SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
- Support investment in waterways and quality as it affects our everyday lives and is a vital part of a thriving tourism-based economy; specific to red tide mitigation technologies and blue-green algae testing.
- Support investing in sustainability programs.
- Support beach re-nourishment programs for our coastal areas.
- Support efforts to address coastal flooding
We ask that the legislature invest in our waterways and beaches
EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
The business community must partner with stakeholders and policymakers to advocate for adequate resources to help recruit, develop, and retain talent in Tampa Bay. Plans must be in place today to market and train the workforce of tomorrow. Every child deserves a world-class education and business need an available trained workforce. Ensuring Florida’s children have access to the best schools and that parents have a choice in their educational career is imperative to success.
1. EARLY LEARNING
- Prioritizing access to early learning opportunities and programs by increased investment and attention has always become the way to prioritize early learning access opportunities and programs with a focus in K2,K3, and VPK programs.
- Amend School Readiness eligibility criteria for working families to align with Florida’s changing economy
- Establish School Readiness reimbursement rates methodology based on cost of quality care instead of market rates
- Allow School Readiness providers to receive base reimbursement in excess of their private pay rates to meet program standards
- Prioritize education opportunities and create incentives for early learning teachers to ensure successful outcomes for their students
We ask the legislature to support early learning programs
2. SUPPORTING STUDENT AND PARENT CHOICE IN EDUCATION
- Support quality school choice and education for parents and students with Magnet, Charter and Fundamental options.
- Support inclusion of innovative educational concepts, such as Arts, Technology, Engineering, throughout Florida’s education system.
We ask the legislature to support student and parent choice in education
3. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
- Advocate for increased attainment and quality training programs ensuring a talent pipeline for employers. Support state funding of programs administered by Pinellas County Schools (K-12) and local higher education institutions focused on skills training and trade development, specifically USF, St. Petersburg College and Pinellas Technical College.
- Continue to work closely with legislative, education, business, and workforce leaders to champion the best possible education and talent system for Pinellas County in order to close the skills gap and train for a globally competitive marketplace.
We ask the legislature to support state funding of programs administered by local school boards and higher education institutions.
With an increasing population and visitors from all over the World, it is important that we focus on creating a healthy and sustainable place for Florida’s residents and visitors to work, live, play and learn. Healthcare is a significant portion of our economy and attracts patients from all over the World. Providing a supportive environment for access to affordable care for all is a priority.
1. ADDRESS PROVIDER SHORTAGE
- Support a competitive medical liability environment related to medical malpractice suits to help Florida become more attractive to top ranked healthcare professionals
- Promote liability protection at state and federal levels from undue liability exposure for businesses and health care providers
- Expand medical education opportunities and providing targeted training in key health education programs in order to address Florida’s healthcare workforce shortage and growing population
- Eliminate the barrier to entry to the insurance market for independent practices and small businesses to improve access to care
2. INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
- Support policies to enable long-term use of telehealth and other innovative practices, including coverage and payment parity policy changes that have been enacted during the pandemic.
3. MEDICAID FUNDING
- Support increased Medicaid funding
- Maintain robust Medicare and Medicaid programs, including preservation of behavioral health funding and state Medicaid rates.
5. ACE KIDS ACT
- Work with the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Legislature to ensure the State of Florida opts into the ACE Kids Act through a state plan amendment
REGIONAL TRANSIT AND INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS
Transportation is a core service of a government that is critical for economic development and facilitating the efficient delivery of goods and services. Sufficient transportation funding of all options is needed to implement a robust and connected transportation network in Tampa Bay. With the 15 million visitors (2018) that come to our region each year, it’s imperative that we make the necessary investment to keep our economy flowing and Floridians and visitors safe. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.
- Support development of multimodal transportations options, road infrastructure improvements and development of emerging technologies to build a regional system to solve present congestion and address future transit and transportation challenges.
- Support development of transit solutions for Clearwater’s critical thoroughfare- State Road 60 between Tampa International Airport and Clearwater Beach.
We ask the legislature to support development and expansion of public transit services.
2. INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUTER SERVICES
- Support the Transportation Trust Fund preservation to provide adequate funding each year for the increasing requirements of infrastructure.
- Plan development for dedicated funding for the sustainability of regional transit solutions in Tampa, Downtown Clearwater and Beaches Corridor.
We ask the legislature to support regional transit funding for projects and infrastructure.