The Florida Chamber of Commerce has released its legislative agenda (.pdf) for 2011. Last year’s agenda “became a blueprint (.pdf) for the 2010 Legislative Session and elements of nearly every Florida Chamber priority was adopted,” according to the group. Many of its priorities have been proposed by Gov. Rick Scott or are already making their way through the legislature.
Here are some of the things on the business group’s wish list for the upcoming year.
- “Continue to work with regional and statewide partners on a detailed analysis of America’s first high-speed rail express service as a viable transportation option for Florida” — a more tentative stance than Associated Industries of Florida, another business group, which is forming a coalition to support the project.
- Support merit pays for teachers and an expansion of virtual schools and allows failing schools to be converted to charter schools if a majority of parents vote to do so.
- Oppose the EPA’s water quality standards, and support Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s lawsuit challenging them. The press release (.pdf) refers to numeric nutrient criteria as “the Florida-only water tax.”
- Eliminate the Department of Community Affairs’ mandatory oversight of comprehensive plans, and scale back other growth management regulations.
- Regulate paid signature-gatherers for ballot initiatives in the wake of the battle over Amendment 4. Hometown Democracy supporters hired people to gather signatures in its effort to get the amendment on the ballot.
- Expand the state’s Medicaid-reform waiver statewide (which would require federal approval) and a crackdown on fraud in the program.
- Oppose health insurance mandates.
- Collect sales taxes from online retailers.
- Reform state employee pensions to make them more like the private sector. That includes several measures supported by Gov. Scott, including requiring them to contribute a portion of their salaries toward their retirement and considering a switch to 401(k)-style defined-benefit plans.