Volume 3 l January 2020

Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112
Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

1/23 - Focus on 2020: A Tampa Bay Economic Forecast - 7:30a - 9:30a   
2/5 - Coffee An' Networking at SPCA Tampa Bay - 7:30a - 9:30a   
2/13 - Wine Tasting presented by the WLC - 5:30p - 7:30p     
2/20 - Chamber B2B Happy Hours at Slyce Pizza - 5:30p - 7:30p     
3/5 - 14th Annual Business Expo / After Hours - 4:30p - 7:00p      
An Annual Tally Trek 
      A Chamber delegation got plenty accomplished representing regional businesses last week in Tallahassee!
Workforce development programs and education services topped discussions. The Tampa Bay Lightning ThunderBug even got in on the action during a meeting with State Sen. Jeff Brandes!
           The Central Pinellas Chamber group included, from left, Rainer Harteneck of Transworld Business Advisors, Danielle Noble of McManus & McManus P.A., Jake Prokop of Pinellas Technical College, Sen. Brandes, David Puckett of GTE Financial, Chamber President Tom Morrissette and Cheryl Reed of City of Largo.
           Our thanks to them for dedicating three days of their time in support of all our area businesses!
Economic Development Committee Visits Master Restoration
The Economic Development Committee (EDC) of the Chamber held their monthly meeting in January at Master Restoration. The meeting was followed with a tour of the facility. The big takeaway being the amount of services that Master Restoration provides. Not solely an Emergency Response Contractor, Master Restoration is also a Florida Registered Builder. Thank you to the Master Restoration team for hosting the Chambers EDC meeting and for their hospitality.
Florida won’t vote on legalizing pot this year
Despite strong support, Florida voters won’t get to decide this year whether to make recreational marijuana legal. A group pushing a constitutional amendment said last week that it will drop its bid to get the proposal on this year’s ballot and instead will focus on 2022. The decision means Floridians, for now, could be left out of a marijuana movement that is sweeping the nation. More from the   South Florida Sun-Sentinel , the  Tampa Bay Times , and the   Miami Herald .
What’s the future hold?
Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish presented his State of the State Economic Forecast in Tallahassee as part of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Legislative Fly-In last week. Six delegates from our Central Pinellas Chamber attended. Dr. Jerry will make his predictions to our business community as part of our Focus on 2020 Tampa Bay Economic Forecast breakfast this Thursday. 
Pinellas buys long-troubled golf course for green space
Florida’s most densely populated county could soon have a rare new amenity — 42 acres of green space spared from development. The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with buying the abandoned Baypointe Golf Course in Seminole and preserve it as a recreational park and a regional stormwater management area. More from the   Tampa Bay Times .
PIE sets record with 2.2 million passengers in 2019
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport set an all-time passenger record with 2,288,692 passengers in 2019, an increase of 2 percent over 2018. More than 196,000 domestic passengers flew into or out of the airport last month, up more than 12% compared with Dec. 2018, making the month the largest December in the airport’s history. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Florida bill could preempt cities from regulating Airbnb-style rentals
The battle over short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods has started again in Tallahassee with many homeowners having a vested interest in the outcome of what has become an annual skirmish. On one side, vacation rental companies are seeking to block Florida cities and counties from imposing local regulations on them. On the other, property owners who see short-term home rentals as a noisy, disruptive nuisance want the business controlled. More from  Florida Today .
As seas rise, a coastal home in Florida could lose 15% value by 2030.
Increasing sea rise is going to water down the value of some of the most coveted and expensive real estate in Florida, and insurance rates will go up too. That’s the conclusion of a pair of new reports calculating just how much of an impact climate change will have on Florida’s real estate industry. [Source:  Miami Herald ]
$10 billion in growth for Florida military and defense industry
Spending by the military and defense industry has a $95 billion economic impact in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis  released the results of the 2020 Florida Military and Defense Economic Impact Study  on Thursday. It showed a $10 billion increase in military and defense-related spending since the 2017 study. The defense sector also provides 914,787 jobs in Florida, an increase of 113,040 jobs during the past two years. More from  WEAR  and  Space Coast Daily .
Florida faces $70.4 million drop in Medicaid money for hospitals
As Florida lawmakers start the 2020 legislative session, the state is being confronted with a $70.4 million loss in the coming months in the amount of Medicaid money it gets to fund hospitals, train future physicians and treat people who are mentally ill. Amy Baker, who leads the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, is including the reduction — slated to take effect May 23 — in budget documents prepared for lawmakers as they begin working on a fiscal 2020-2021 spending plan. More from the  Tampa Bay Times  and  Health News Florida .
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
            Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
            Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
            Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
            Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
            Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz