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Movers and Shakers: Manatee Chamber Releases 2013 Business Agenda


BRADENTON – The Manatee Chamber of Commerce has released its 2013 State Business Agenda for the upcoming Florida legislative session. According to Bob Bartz, President

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of the Manatee Chamber, “The continued creation of new jobs and providing a favorable business climate in our state and county are at the top of Manatee Chamber’s list. Whenever legislators are drafting or voting on a piece of legislation, we hope that paramount on their minds is whether or not it will be a positive or negative for our free enterprise system and to vote accordingly.”

The Chamber will travel to Tallahassee in March and recommend the following to our state legislators: adopt “sports performance” as a target industry; solidify technical school funding equity; reform regulatory anti-business provisions; and collect E-Commerce internet sales tax.

Greg Green, CPA with Shinn & Company and the Chairman of the Manatee Chamber’s Legislative Committee stated, “We have been very successful the last few years in Tallahassee. However, we need to keep moving forward in making Manatee County more competitive with companies coming here, and maintaining our quality of life as second to none. Workers and unemployment comp, health care costs and infrastructure (water, roads, and energy) are all important economic drivers.”

Over the last two years, technical school funding has seen additional dollars coming to school districts that were underfunded due to inequities in the system since the late 1990’s.  “We were very fortunate in receiving these monies,” according to Bartz. “However, with new leadership in key committee chairmanships we need to strive harder to find a permanent legislative fix for Manatee Technical Institute’s (MTI) funding formula. The Manatee Chamber will continue to be a leading voice on this issue.”

“We have a consensus from our local legislative delegation on this issue,” according to Neil Spirtas, Vice President, Public Policy & Small Business with the Chamber. “Companies like Air Products, which builds machines to liquefy natural gas and will ultimately employ 250 area workers have taken advantage of MTI’s training capabilities. Without the funding formula change it would have greatly hindered Air Products (near Port Manatee) expansion plans. We are very grateful and commend the Manatee County School District for investing the dollars to insure we are heard in Tallahassee on this issue,” said Spirtas. Doug Wagner, Director of Adult Career & Technical Education for the School Board of Manatee County added, “The partnership with the Manatee Chamber and better equipping MTI will pay dividends to Manatee County and manufacturers for years to come. The final chapter this year for ongoing, fixed funding is in our legislator’s hands.”

Go to the Chamber’s website here to see the Manatee Chamber’s 2013 Business Agenda.


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