Good Morning Valued Chamber Member,
Governor DeSantis has suspended all local emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor signed an executive order Monday that suspends all local coronavirus mandates immediately. The Governor also signed legislation that goes into effect on July 1st, as law, which states that, with the exception of hurricane emergencies, businesses should be free from government mandates to close. The new law also states that schools should remain open for in-person instruction and local emergency orders, with the exclusion of hurricanes, will be capped to seven days and may only be extended to a maximum of 42 days. Under this new law, the Governor will also have the right to invalidate any local emergency orders if it is unnecessarily restricting individuals’ rights or liberties.
As one of the Chamber’s core pillars – Protecting Business is at the heart of the work we do. Working with our members and business partners, along with our elected officials, our comprehensive business agenda advocates for pro-business legislation. We are fortunate and appreciative that our state’s leadership embraces these ideas and helps to advance our mission of economic prosperity.
Here are a few key pro-business outcomes from the recently concluded legislative session that the Boca Chamber successfully advocated for:
Senate Bill 72 - COVID-19 Liability Protection: PASSED and SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR
I want to thank our following South Palm Beach County legislators for voting yes on this important bill: Representative Mike Caruso, Representative David Silvers, and Representative Kelly Skidmore. While we would have liked to have seen all our region’s elected officials support this important bill – we are grateful to those who understand the critical role businesses play in sustaining economic prosperity in our region and the need for protection against frivolous lawsuits.
This bill contains protections for business entities, religious institutions, educational institutions, governmental entities, and health care providers that substantially followed governmental health care and safety guidelines to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The bill also provides protections retroactive to the start of the pandemic (unless a lawsuit has already been filed) and will provide protection for a year after the bill was signed.
Senate Bill 50 - Internet Sales Tax/Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund: PASSED and SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR
Thank you to South Palm Beach County’s state Representatives Mike Caruso, Joe Casello, David Silvers, Kelly Skidmore and Emily Slosberg for their support of this important bill.
One of the most significant tax bills in the state's history, this bill requires online marketplaces located outside of the state to remit sales tax on tangible property. This is not a new tax, but rather puts the burden on these online marketplace retailers to collect and remit that tax instead of the consumer. With the projected $1 billion of collected sales tax, this bill additionally avoids a major unemployment compensation (UC) tax increase and significantly reduces the Business Rent Tax from 5.5% to 2%, once the UC Trust Fund is replenished. This is the largest decrease in the business rent tax we have seen since the Boca Chamber has been advocating for its elimination or reduction. To provide perspective on its impact, a 1% reduction in the tax is a savings of over $300 million to local businesses in our community.
VISIT FLORIDA received an appropriation of $75 million for the upcoming fiscal year (2021-2022). This represents a tremendous win for both VISIT FLORIDA and our entire state in restoring Florida’s tourism economy. The continued investment in VISIT FLORIDA demonstrates a commitment to the state’s tourism industry to return it to the successful pre-COVID times. Governor DeSantis's leadership and confidence in VISIT FLORIDA has been instrumental in securing this budget and the gains that have been achieved thus far on the road to recovery. The actions taken by the Governor and a vigilant tourism sector have not only expedited an economic rebound but positioned Florida as a role model for the entire U.S. travel sector.
Each year, the state’s annual budget must be balanced by both chambers in the legislature. This session, our legislators approved a $101.5 billion dollar budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which begins July 1st. This budget is $9.3 billion larger than the current year’s $92.2 billion budget. The increase is largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget ultimately keeps $6 billion in reserves. The majority of the state’s federal stimulus will go toward infrastructure and environmental projects. With a combination of key investments and significant reserves, this budget sets Florida on a responsible path towards a full economic recovery that will leave our state well-prepared to address potential future challenges. Governor DeSantis now has 7 days after receiving the budget to sign this budget into law.
Looking for a quick way to find an event, register for an event, and receive pop-up notifications of important Chamber, County, City of Boca Raton, and City of Boynton Beach information? Download the Boca Chamber App – found on the App Store and Google Play Store. Keep your Chamber at the tip of your fingers! You can also stay up to date on all Chamber activity by visiting us at bocachamber.com.
We continue to provide you with valuable virtual and in-person experiences. Most virtual programs are recorded and available for you to access on the Boca Chamber’s YouTube Channel. Hit the subscribe button to find out when new content is posted on our channel.
Below is a list of our upcoming virtual and in-person experiences:
5/4 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual International Business Alliance Roundtable
Topic: Update on Tourism in Palm Beach County
Speaker: Jorge Pesquera, President & CEO, Discover the Palm Beaches
5/7 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual Prime Roundtable
Sponsored By: Allegiance Home Health
Topic: Hiring Experienced People
Speaker: Penny Morey, Founder & Managing Director,
5/12 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Lunch and Learn
Sponsored By: iTHINK Financial
Topic: Health Insurance Answers for Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners, Franchisees & 1099 Contractors
Speaker: Eric Geier, President, Puresurance
Sponsored By: West Boca Medical Center
Topic: The Boca Center for Women’s Care – Continuing the Journey at West Boca Medical Center
Speakers: George Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer, West Boca Medical Center
Dr. Jorge E. Perez, Medical Director of Neonatal and Newborn Services, West Boca Medical Center
Dr. Sharise Richardson, OB/GYN, West Boca Medical Center
Marriott at Boca Center
5150 Town Center Circle
Boca Raton, FL
Topic: 2021 State Legislative Session Recap
Speaker: Representative Mike Caruso, Florida House of Representatives – District 89
Topic: The Impact of Equestrian Sports on Palm Beach County
Speaker: Michael Stone, President, Equestrian Sports Productions
Topic: Beyond the Press- Getting Involved in Your Community – PR Series Part 3
Speaker: Bonnie S. Kaye, President and Strategist, Kaye Communications, Inc.
5/18 – 3:00 p.m. Virtual Economic Development Committee Meeting
Topic: Economic Growth in the Glades region and what this means to Boca Raton and South Palm Beach County
Speaker: Shereena Coleman, Vice President, Business Facilitation and Glades Region, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.
5/19 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual South Healthcare Advocacy Network (S.H.A.N.)
Sponsored by: Memorial Healthcare System
Topic: COVID-19 and its Impact on Nursing and the Healthcare Industry
Speaker: Dr. Safiya George, Dean and Professor, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University
5/27 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Government Affairs Committee Meeting
Topic: 2021 State Legislative Session Recap
Speaker: Representative Joe Casello, Florida House of Representatives – District 90
5/27 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Town Hall
Topic: Boynton Beach Bethesda Hospital Town Hall
Speaker: Nelson Lazo, President & CEO, Bethesda Hospital East & Bethesda Hospital West
Yesterday morning, I had the honor of attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new Police Chief for the Palm Beach County School District - Chief Daniel Alexander. After serving as Chief of Police for the City of Boca Raton for over 13 years, he joined the School District Police in December of 2019. In a short year and a half, he was appointed Chief. With over three decades in law enforcement, Chief Alexander has the experience to lead the District to new heights. With his compassion and commitment to our children, the safety and security of our schools couldn’t be in better hands. Congratulations Chief!
Together, we continue to Move Business Forward in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and South Palm Beach County, making our region the best place to Live, Work, Learn and Play.
Moving Business Forward,