Category Archives: Public Affairs

13Nov/17

Polk Goes Global III: Attendees will Gain Insight on Conducting International Business

The Lakeland and Winter Haven Chambers, in collaboration with the Central Florida Development Council, is pleased to host this year’s Polk Goes Global III – A Half-Day International Exporting Conference.

This exciting and informative event highlights the economic strength of Polk County’s international trade in cattle, citrus, manufacturers, and other goods and service exports. The county is centrally located between major Florida ports, with a free trade zone in the middle of the Tampa/Orlando area, plus a CSX intermodal logistics center. Ideally situated, Polk County is a hot spot for international distribution. Over $2 billion worth of economic activity occurs through the county each year. Polk Goes Global is sure to provide a wealth of information to any businessperson or investor looking to take advantage of the worldwide reach of Polk County.

The International sponsor of the event is Saddle Creek Logistics Services; additional event sponsors include Orlando International Airport, Polk State College Lakeland Campus and SunTrust Bank. The Keynote Speaker will be Manny Mencia, SVP of International Trade and Business Development at Enterprise Florida.  For over 30 years, Mencia has acquired extensive international trade expertise while serving at the Florida Department of Commerce in various executive roles (1977-1991) and then as vice president of World Marketing at The Beacon Council (1992-1996) before joining Enterprise Florida.  His keynote address promises to offer attendees unique insight into the opportunities surrounding the global market.

There will also be a number of speakers and panelists to share their experiences on conducting international business in Polk County, including:

  • Joseph Bell, Regional Director of Enterprise Florida
  • David Befus, Associate Professor of International Business at Southeastern University
  • Sandra Campbell, Director at the U.S. Department of Commerce – Clearwater Center
  • Torrey Chambliss, Manager of Foreign Trade Zone at Port Tampa Bay
  • Mauro Costa, Managing Member of SOS Universal
  • Rick Garcia, President of Gulf Coast Avionics
  • Javier Marin, Director of Business Development and Global Trace at the Central Florida Development Council
  • Sandro Murtas, Regional Manager at the Small Business Administration
  • Eileen Rodriguez, Director of the Small Business Development Center at USF
  • Joel Sellers, International Sales Manager of Florida’s Natural Growers
  • Jennifer Simpson, Regional Director at the Eastern Region EXIM Bank
  • Dan Tapia, Manager of International Strategy and Policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce

Polk Goes Global III will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017, 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Polk State College, LTB Auditorium, located at 3425 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, Florida, 33801. Admission to the event is $25 for members of the CFDC, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, and $35 for non-members. The price includes breakfast.

Attendees can register online by visiting the  Lakeland or Winter Haven Chamber websites or by going to LakelandChamber.com or WinterHavenchamber.com and clicking on the events tab.

For more information please contact:
Brianna Dingess

(863) 293-2138

brianna@winterhavenchamber.com

Rebecca Fortier

(863) 688-8551 ext. 229
rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

Javier Marin

(863) 937-4430

Javier@CFDC.org

08Jun/15

House Passes Florida Chamber Tax Cut Priorities

The Florida Chamber applauds the Florida House of Representatives for their commitment to lowering the cost of living and cost of doing business in Florida by passing a targeted tax reform package last week.

“We are proud of the work the Florida House has done to pass targeted tax reforms that will put money back in the pockets of Floridians and make Florida even more competitive,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s victory is a step in the right direction for our state.”

Driving a fair and equitable tax system is key to attracting and retaining businesses in Florida. Limiting burdensome taxes by enacting smart and targeted tax reforms help place money back into the pockets of Florida’s families.

The Florida Chamber commends the Florida House for passing the following targeted tax reforms in HB 33A:

  • Communication Services Tax cut,
  • Reducing sales taxes on commercial leases,
  • Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday,
  • Small Business Saturday Tax Holiday, and
  • Research and Development tax cut.
04Jun/15

City of Lakeland GIGABIT Meeting

City of Lakeland would like your input!

If you’d like to participate in an informal meeting with the consultants for the GIGABIT Lakeland initiative on Wednesday, June 17 at 8am, please reply to this email. The meeting is limited to 20 people, so please respond only if you are sure you will attend. Once confirmed, a location of the meeting will be sent to you.

HERE ARE THE DETAILS:

Magellan Advisors was selected to develop a Broadband Strategic Plan for the City of Lakeland, FL. Magellan Advisors is the Nations’ leading broadband planning and telecom-consulting firm. The City of Lakeland will work with Magellan’s expert team of broadband planners to develop a plan that will leverage the City’s current assets for the overall benefit of the Lakeland community.

The City of Lakeland’s leadership team is working closely with Magellan’s senior broadband planners as they collect the data, which will form the baseline of work for the creation of a strategic broadband plan. Magellan’s staff has over 150 years of combined experience in telecommunications and broadband planning for city governments and public utility organizations similar to Lakeland.

Magellan’s staff will create a plan that supports the growing demand for high speed broadband through a current asset inventory, community needs assessment, business planning, economic development analysis and network planning. The project will put Lakeland in the position to make informed decisions moving forward to expand the current network and create a fiber communications utility. As part of this process, Magellan is meeting with stakeholders to garner much needed feedback that will include the community’s needs and expectations.

02Jun/15

Polk County House Delegation Editorial: Florida Senate Medicaid Plan Too Risky

We are a compassionate state and nation that ensures lifesaving care is available to everyone. Thanks to the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act signed by President Ronald Reagan, no one can be denied hospital emergency care.

However, we all know that using emergency rooms for primary care wastes money.

Chief among the proposed solutions to this waste is the federal government’s plan to expand Medicaid.

Traditional Medicaid is a joint federal­ state program for low­ income people with federally imposed benefits and defined coverage groups. In Florida, Medicaid is 31 percent of the state budget, or $23.3 billion per year for 3.74 million people.

That’s roughly $6,500 per enrollee. Medicaid expansion would add more enrollees with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the cost.

However, there is no guarantee those funds will continue past this decade. With its continuing reckless budgets and spending initiatives, unsustainable entitlements will likely be the first in line for cuts when Congress finally makes the hard choices. This is just too risky for Florida. Today, even a 1­percent shift in the match would cost Floridians about $180 million every single year.

We know from experience that federal partnerships can be unreliable. They committed to pay 50 percent of the Everglades restoration and 40 percent of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but in both cases, the federal government has met less than half of that promise. The money we do receive comes with strings, making these funds far from “free.”

Most important, we know Medicaid doesn’t serve patients well.

Researchers in Oregon conducted the only scientific study of Medicaid in the country.The study found that Medicaid coverage had no statistically significant effect on recipients’ clinical health, compared with those without Medicaid. In short, Medicaid patients were no better off than the uninsured.

The University of Virginia also studied 893,658 major surgeries over a five­year period and compared the clinical outcomes, accounting for all factors except coverage type. They found that Medicaid patients were 93 percent more likely to die before leaving the hospital than patients with private insurance, while uninsured patients were 73 percent more likely to die than patients with private insurance. In short, Medicaid patients were worse off than the uninsured.

The Florida Senate has proposed a plan to expand coverage using (promised) federal dollars that they call market ­based.

Sadly, it is pure, plain old Medicaid expansion. It’s the same Medicaid expansion group mandated by Obama­care. It uses the same federal dollars. And it provides the same Medicaid services.

The Senate plan is unrealistic. While this proposal may contain a few creative, freemarket elements, the federal government will not approve them. Other states have already asked for federal approval of these ideas and they were denied. This gambles with people’s lives.

If the plan is not approved within six months, those people will see their coverage terminated, making the state as unreliable and unpredictable as the federal government.

The Florida Senate wants to expand a government program proven not to work, with money that taxpayers don’t (or won’t) have, to people who may not be eligible in six months, contingent upon a federal waiver that is unlikely to be approved. Yet, some people can’t believe the Florida House thinks this is a bad idea.

This session, the House proposed several bills that encourage transparency and consumer choice. They include ideas that encourage direct primary care models, assist state employees to be better informed about their health care options, and give more regulatory freedom to lower­cost health care providers like ambulatory surgical centers and recovery care centers.

We passed health care workforce reforms in 2014, designed to increase access to needed care, which the Senate declined to pass. Before that, we passed an alternative coverage plan in 2013 that the Senate refused to even debate.

Expanding Medicaid is too risky for Florida and it doesn’t provide better outcomes for those who are currently uninsured. We want everyone to have access to highquality health care, but expanding the federal Medicaid program is not the answer.

Thomas Jefferson commented long ago, “The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.”

As members of the Florida House Polk County delegation we support an honest position on this important issue and we stand together in opposition to the Medicaid expansion policy option for Florida.

[ State Reps. Ben Albritton, R­Wauchula, Colleen Burton, R­Lakeland, Neil Combee, R­Polk City, Mike LaRosa, R­St. Cloud and John Wood, R­Winter Haven, all represent Polk County in the Florida House of Representatives. ]

Originally published by the Lakeland Ledger on April 28, 2015

02Jun/15

House Approves Florida Chamber Priorities in House Tax Reform Package

The Florida House Finance and Tax Committee passed a $436 million tax cut package today, which included the following important Florida Chamber priorities:

  • Communications Services Tax Cut
  • Reducing sales taxes on commercial leases
  • Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday
  • Small Business Saturday Tax Holiday
  • Research and Development tax cuts

Florida Chamber Executive Vice President David Hart testified before the committee this morning emphasizing the Florida Chamber’s support of the plan and urging lawmakers to consider dedicating more funds to targeted tax reform. In fact, according to a new Florida Chamber poll, 72 percent of voters support a reduction of the Communication Services Tax.

The House tax relief package was approximately $690 million during the Regular Session, but has since been reduced to approximately $436 million because of budget concerns stemming from other issues, such as healthcare reform.

Today’s passage of the House Finance and Tax Committee’s tax relief package (HB 33-A) is just the first step, however, as the entire House and Senate must ultimately agree on the content and amount of such legislation during the Special Session.

The Florida Chamber is pleased with today’s vote and will continue to advocate for targeted tax reform that puts money back into the pockets for Florida’s small businesses and families. We will share updates and insights on this subject in the near future.