Government Relations E-News
January 2021
Each week, Chamber staff meets with elected officials and attends numerous City, County and School Board meetings (including virtual). Below is a recap of our recent activity along with information for upcoming events.
 
The Chamber is constantly working to build relations with our state agencies in Tallahassee as well as Volusia County entities.
 
To learn more about the Chamber’s Government Relations activities,
call Jim Cameron at 386.566.2140.
Chamber Submits 2021 City/County, Legislative and Congressional Recommendations
The Chamber’s Advocacy Action Council drafted their recommendations after several meetings along with input from a Chamber membership survey. The intent is to develop a business community consensus agenda which will be forward to local city commissions/councils, Volusia County Council, Volusia Legislative delegation and our Congressional delegation.  

Governmental Vice Chair Cheryl Coxwell stated, “This year’s Chamber recommendations to our legislative leaders promote a strong economic and business environment that will help local businesses return to a sense for ‘normalcy’ and move our economy forward.”

Click here to see Priorities.
New Round of PPP Funding Available….
Under the Economic Aid Act, Congress allocated $284.5 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $35 billion for first-time loans and $15 billion set aside for community financial institutions. The Small Business Administration working with a more targeted approach to disbursing these funds.

The new rules include a few restrictions passed down from Congress and some others devised by the SBA and Treasury Department. 

Community Financial Institutions (CFI’s) serving low-income, minority-owned, women-owned businesses began working with borrowers this past week.

The SBA is allowing some businesses that previously received a PPP loan (last Spring) eligible to secure a second PPP loan, but not all of them. 

Businesses seeking a “second-draw” PPP loan cannot have more than 300 employees and must have experienced a 25% or more reduction in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. (This calculation does not include loan forgiveness) 

Click here for more details....
SBA Extends Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Application Deadline
One federal loan program that is now receiving applications from businesses is a disaster loan program that for a year. The SBA has extended its deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for the COVID-19 pandemic to December 31, 2021.
Click here for more information....
Florida NOW Requires E-Verify for Employment 
Verification of Employment Eligibility 
Beginning this month, Florida now requires ALL employers (public and private) to use the federal E-Verify system before hiring any new employees. 
E-Verify is a federal government online system that confirms information provided on I-9 employment forms and work eligibility with the US Dept of Homeland Security, and Social Security Administration.  
 
There are currently at least 22 states that require E-Verify in some capacity. 

Since 2011, Florida has required E-Verify on all state projects However, the legislation was approved to require ALL
employers in the state to use E-Verify.  

Click here for more details
CiviChamber Supports Key Legislation
COVID-19 Liability Relief for Businesses
Bills have been filed in Florida House and Senate that will provide businesses liability relief from COVID-related lawsuits.
HB 7 by Rep McClure and SB 72 by Sen Brandes would extend liability protection to businesses |(retail, service, professional), educational institutions, government entities, religious organizations, and other entities.

Any covered business entity making a good faith effort to significantly comply with appropriate COVID-19 guidance is immune from civil liability from a COVID-19-related civil action. 

Click here for more details....
With a Budget Shortfall, Internet Sales Tax
can no longer be ignored!
The Daytona Regional Chamber, along with the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber and other business organizations, is backing proposed legislation that would require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes to the state, just like brick-and-mortar stores.
With State coffers facing a $2.7 billion budget shortfall, this legislation has taken a new realm of importance. Senator Joe Gruters has filed SB 50, an online sales tax bill. House companion, HB 15  by Rep Charles Clemons is building support as well.

Click here for more details.
County Chair Jeff Brower addresses
Chamber Audience (Virtual)
County Chair Jeff Brower
On January 14, the Chamber heard comments from new County Chair Jeff Brower. Below are some of his comments…..

He stated three different goals:

1-   keep economy open…the County must be proactive…must continue communication regarding vaccine distribution….
.....thousands of appointments to get vaccine are being made via EventBrite…however demand is high and supply is limited…Florida and Volusia County are getting every share available to them. At the same time, our computers are overwhelmed with appointment request…..22 Publix stores will soon be offering the vaccine….County requires masks in county buildings and encouraging masks elsewhere.

2-   protect environment….we need clean water and ample green space throughout the County. Indian River Lagoon is a precious resource that needs our attention.

3-   build local economy…..I want to work with each city and focus on their specialties…..Pensacola has a strong downtown…I want government to lead the way along with Chambers.....suggest everyone to read ‘Building A Vibrant Community’ by Quint Studer….I want to open up outdoor opportunities for businesses….I want to talk with Daytona International Speedway about additional outdoor events….. Most Famous Beach! …..want to open up our beach and make it user-friendly….I get calls from Main Street merchants…they lost business when that section of the beach was closed to cars…I want to open this area up to parking. I don't want to force this upon Ormond or the Shores, but let voters decide this in the future….we have hotels at all price levels along with short term rentals….we should promote vacation rental units for folks that have invested in a portion of their homes for rental opportunities.

Click here for more details.
Chamber's Eggs & Issues Breakfast
Eggs & Issues Breakfast
Thursday, February 11, 8 - 9 AM virtual zoom conference call.
Topic - Governor's Proposed FY 2021-22 Budget

The legislative session starts March 2 and a frugal budget for FY 2021-22 is expected. State revenues are down more than $2 billion which means House/Senate budget
committees must decide how to fund Medicaid, Education, Infrastructure, Tourism Advertising and other programs.

But how will the legislature increase state coffers? Options include a new Seminole gaming compact and enforcing online sales tax collection.

The proposed budget from Governor Ron Desantis will set the tone for the debate that lies ahead. But what are the Governor’s budget priorities?

Email shanna@daytonachamber.com to RSVP. Sponsors for these breakfasts are Halifax Health and Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Volusia County Council Update
The County Council heard an update from Oscar Anderson of Southern Group – Florida (the County’s State Advocacy firm). He stated this year’s legislative session runs March 2 – April 30 but the Capitol has strict protocols for anyone meeting face-to-face with legislators. 

Anderson went on to say Florida’s FY 2021-22 budget will be roughly $92 billion overall and two-thirds of this will be recurring dollars. The remaining (roughly $32 billion) is where critical decisions will be made. The State is expecting an estimated $2 billion short fall. Options to plug this budget gap includes internet sales tax (expected to generate approximately $380 million); Seminole gaming compact (could generate $500 million); increases to college tuition and bonding might be considered...and local appropriation requests are scarce with limited chances of receiving funds.

The Council adopted the Volusia County’s Legislative Priorities.
County Council Addresses SunRail Expansion to Deland
At their October board meeting, the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission voted 3-2 to proceed
with the construction of the SunRail system to DeLand (Phase 2 North). The City of Orlando, Seminole County and Osceola County voted |YES; Orange County and Volusia County voted NO.

Afterwards, Fla Dept of Transportation (FDOT) representatives met with Volusia County staff to present “Build Options" for expansion of the SunRail system to DeLand. 

After considerable discussion, the Council voted 7-0 for Build Option 2 - $41.95 million station phased approach which includes a 32 trip train schedule (the current base service) and a center rail station platform with small parking lot. Volusia contributes $10.49 million (25% of $41.95 million). An amendment was added that if a ‘no build” option becomes available, then the County will pursue it.

FDOT is expected to will discuss Phase 2 North during the January 28 Central Fla Commuter Rail Commission board meeting. 
Area Staff Info Exchange Conference Calls
In an effort to maintain relations with our Tallahassee and Washington officials, the Chamber brings area staff members from Senators Marco Rubio’s and Rick Scott’s offices, Congressman Michael Waltz’ office, State CFO Jimmy Patronis’ and Governor Ron DeSantis’ offices to meet with local Chamber businesses and community leaders.

Since we're not able to host them here due to current restrictions, the Chamber has been scheduling weekly conference calls with these staff members as well as local business/elected officials.

The purpose of these calls is to keep these offices up-to-date on activity in Volusia i.e. maintain relationships.

Call Jim Cameron at 566-2140 if you would like to participate.
E ISB Project Update
Estimated Costs include:

  • $2.3 million for Design which should be completed fall 2022;
  • $16 million for Right of Way which should begin THIS spring;
  • $7.1 million for Construction which should begin in summer 2023.

Click here to see project details. 
Elected Officials Contact Information
Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce
126 E. Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
386.255.0981 | info@daytonachamber.com

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