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Too much at stake
As the State Legislature opens its session tomorrow and Governor Scott presents his State of the State address, Florida business is in a unique position to help pass significant reforms to move our job retention, creation and expansion agenda forward.

Our statewide election results gave us the necessary ballast to secure significant votes in not only the house and senate, but the governor’s office, too.  While we are disappointed with Gov. Scott’s refusal to accept federal monies for high speed rail, your Chamber realizes we have much to gain n other areas.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Six Pillars Plan is a strong vision for where we need to end up by 2030.  Within its framework, Six Pillars, if executed effectively, will lead to: prosperity and high paying jobs, vibrant and sustainable communities, and global competition and leadership.

The pillars are: talent supply and education, innovation and economic development, infrastructure and growth leadership, business climate and competitiveness, civic and governance systems, and quality of life and quality places.

This agenda goes after some sacred cows—public employee pension reform being one.  While many reforms have been suggested over the years, the fact is that our current pension system’s liabilities of $134.2 billion outpaced its assets of $118.77 billion, according to the Department of Management Services, 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Florida Retirement System.  We simply cannot afford this system anymore.

What we are calling for is: align state employee pension contributions with other states and the private sector; require state employee contribution into the pension fund; and consider other cost-saving charges, such as switching new state employees from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan.

You will see demonstrations this week and throughout the session.  There will be a lot of rhetoric and finger pointing.  The lesson is that the status quo is regressive and change is necessary to move us up on the states’ food chain, capitalizing on the work accomplished to this point. 

Take a look at your Florida Chamber’s 2011 Business Agenda by clicking here.  You may not agree with all of it, but the key is you take time to review information so you can be informed when you meet with your State House or Senate member.

Posted by: Dan Lindblade, CAE @ 11:47:31 am  Comments (0)
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