Florida Chamber of Commerce

They’ll pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye

 Florida has “glory days” ahead for space exploration, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — and GOP governor’s mansion wannabe — predicted Tuesday.

Putnam made the rosy pitch to a space-friendly crowd at the Florida Chamber of Commerce‘s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit.

“The golden age for space for Florida, (not) because of our legacy in space, but because of the private sector investment, our golden age is in front of us, not behind us,” Putnam said at the event, held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

Pointing to an emerging billionaires’ space race between Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Putnam said residents on Florida’s Space Coast should expect hear the regular rumble of up to 60 launches a year.

More than that, Putnam says Florida will need skilled workers to handle the supply chain for businesses like Blue Origin, which plans to open a 750,000-square-foot rocket production facility south of Cape Canaveral by the end of the year. The company plans to start test launches from space leased at the cape (ouch!) by the end of the decade.

That’s where Florida’s military-friendly approach comes in, according to Putnam.

“It didn’t have to be in Florida,” Putnam said. “It could have been on the eastern shore of Maryland. It could have been Alaska. It could have been Texas. It could have been a lot of places. But Florida fought for it and won that increased investment. Military and defense spending in Florida is force multiplier for the private sector investments we’re seeing now.”

By Jim Turner.

Lawmakers bad for business? Nah, just so-so

We would have been in deep trouble for earning a ‘C’ average back in the day, but that’s the grade the Florida Chamber of Commerce gave the GOP-dominated Legislature for its work this session.

The Chamber, one of the most influential business lobbying outfits in Tallahassee, granted just a single ‘A’ grade to a member of the upper chamber: Former Senate President Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa (who actually pulled off an ‘A-‘ on the 10-point scale.

That’s a big contrast from last year, when 30 of the Senate’s 40 members received an ‘A’ on the Chamber’s annual legislative report cardannual legislative report card.
HTV-2017_Cover
The House didn’t fare much better this year, either.

Republican Reps. Joe Gruters of Sarasota and Dan Raulerson of Plant City were the only lawmakers to ace the finals with perfect scores.

Eleven other House members — all Republicans — earned A-grades.

The grades are based upon how each lawmaker voted on wide range of “pro-jobs issues,” according to the Chamber.

In 2016, 80 of the 120 members of the House got an ‘A.”

Both chambers received passing grades, on average. The Senate received a cumulative 70 GPA, while the House earned a 74 GPA.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Land O’ Lakes Republican who orchestrated drives to kill the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida and scale back tourism-marketing efforts out of Visit Florida, was among those picking up a ‘C.’

But the business lobbying group flunked Senate President Joe Negron, one of just three Republicans to be branded with an ‘F.’

The Senate president joined Tampa Rep. Shawn Harrison and former Sen. Frank Artiles of Miami — who resigned from the Senate mid-session after a racially loaded verbal tirade at a private club in Tallahassee — and 34 Democrats in getting the ultimate failing grade.

One of Negron’s key pieces of legislation this year was a bill designed to create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee (SB 10).

The chamber opposed the controversial proposal that was initially crafted to directly impact existing farm land that included large, influential sugar growers.

The Chamber partly attributed the drop in the grades on the lawmakers’ failure to address workers’ comp or assignment of benefits.

Posted by Jim Turner.