Government Affairs Committee (GAC)<- back
The GAC monitors legislative activity that can impact business on the county, state and federal levels. Its members review issues, discuss pending legislation and make recommendations to the CBRCC’s board of directors regarding positions that may be taken to support or oppose same. The GAC also keeps the partnership informed of legislative or regulatory activity and issues calls to action, when necessary. Each year, the GAC develops the CBRCC’s legislative priorities and works with Brevard’s other three Chambers to assemble a county-wide legislative agenda that is presented to the Brevard delegation of the FL House and Senate and other members, as appropriate.
Dear Chamber Partners,
As you may have heard, on February 8th the Florida House of Representatives’ Careers and Competition Subcommittee introduced and passed out of that committee PCB CCS 17-01, a bill that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, the state’s main economic development and tourism agencies, along with over two dozen others involved in supporting the growth of Space Coast businesses and industries, and the jobs that have come with them.
At the Chamber’s board of directors meeting on Wednesday evening, members voted to draft a letter in opposition to this bill and deliver it to our Brevard delegation, as well as House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’ Lakes) and members of the Careers and Competition Subcommittee.
The Space Coast has greatly benefitted from the work done by our local economic development commissions and visitors bureaus, in partnership with Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. We have brought in new businesses and helped others expand, which greatly helped us rebound after the loss of the Space Shuttle program, and have welcomed hundreds of thousands more visitors to our beautiful beaches and attractions.
We believe that eliminating these agencies will be detrimental to our local and state economy, denying us the tools necessary to compete against other states that are aggressively seeking to grow their business and visitor markets; states that would like to have the success we are experiencing. Revenue in the billions of dollars statewide and hundreds of millions locally are at stake!
We will keep you posted as the bill moves through other committees and continue our opposition to any advancements through other committees. We welcome any comments you may have.
Your Chamber is here to stand up for the businesses that make Brevard County a great place to live, work and play. We are here to stand up for you, our Partners!
Rich Hensel, CBRCC Board of Directors Chair
Facts About the Bill from the Florida Chamber of Commerce:
- PCB CCS 17-01 will eliminate Enterprise Florida, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and VISIT Florida, as well as several dozen programs and organizations that have helped make Florida a leader in job growth and economic diversification.
- This legislation sends a signal that Florida’s state government is no longer an active partner in job creation, diversifying our economy, or supporting our important tourism sector. Additionally, the bill does the following:
- Ends economic diversification and tourism marketing efforts in Florida, including eliminating small business assistance, the economic development toolkit, international programs, and marketing;
- Raises Taxes- Early estimates show that this legislation could increase taxes by $89.1 million. In addition, on average, Florida households save $1,535 a year as a result of visitor activity driving increased revenue to the state;
- Hurts Jobs- Every 85 visitors account for 1 job in Florida. Enterprise Florida is in the business of attracting high-wage jobs and high-growth industries; and
- Makes Florida Uncompetitive- Nearly every state has similar programs, and this legislation will put Florida at a competitive disadvantage in attracting businesses and visitors. If we could compete on our sunshine-soaked beaches and lack of income tax alone, we would win. But the fact is, our competitors are not giving up this important economic development tool anytime soon.
- PCB CCS 17-01 (Bill Text)
- PCB CCS 17-01 (Bill Analysis – Includes all agencies to be eliminated)
- Board of Directors Letter (email attachment)
- Power of Florida Tourism Info Graphic (email attachment)
- Message from the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
- Article: Florida House takes first steps toward killing Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida – Tampa Bay Times
- Contact Your Legislators
Indian River Lagoon Information
The GAC is open to all partners. Those interested in government affairs or whose roles within their organizations include legislative advocacy or knowledge are welcome.
First Friday of each month at 8:00 a.m. in the Community Bank of the South Community Room at the CBRCC
Monthly meetings feature speakers and topics relevant to legislative issues and activity. Each legislative session, members are invited to join a team comprised of Brevard’s four Chambers of Commerce (Government Affairs members and any other interested parties) and travel to Tallahassee to advocate for issues important to the collective membership.
Geo A. Ropert, APR
Current Member List:
- Joe Mayer, Lockheed Martin (CBRCC Board Chair)
- Jeanna Merrifield, Wild Ocean Seafood (CBRCC Immediate Past Board Chair)
- Jennifer Sugarman (CBRCC President & CEO)
- Kim Agee, Health First
- Cindy Lou Downs, Craig Technologies
- Kelly Guildi, Community Bank of the South
- Patrick Gavin, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey
- Carey Gleason, Bridges
- Kamen Jenkins, Wuesthoff Health System
- Rob LaMarr, Lexus of Melbourne
- Troy McNichols, AT&T
- Dixie Sansom, Dixie Sansom Consulting
- Susan Smith, Launch Federal Credit Union
- Kevin Arcier, Hampton Inn Viera
- Ashley Guinn, Eastern Florida State College
- Amanda Tynan, Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront
- Shayla Murray, Space Coast Strategy, Inc.
- Dan Pollock, AT&T