Volume 10 l March 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Economic & Advocacy Edition
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

3/31 - Coffee An' Networking at Keiser University - 7:30a - 9:30a     
4/7 - WLC Co-Hosted WWOTB Power Lunch Speaker Series - 11:00a - 1:00p     
4/23 - 16th Annual Chamber Ballpark Bash - 11:00a - 1:00p  
Make Pinellas Count! U.S. Census 2020
Nate Cocco of State Farm/Team Cocco and Chamber Chairman-Elect knows he counts! And you need to be counted, too. Beginning this week, U.S. households will start receiving invitations in the mail to participate in the 2020 Census. The census counts every person in the country, and those figures are used to determine a host of benefits, from a state's share of federal dollars to its representation in Congress. As the nation's third-largest state, Florida needs to receive its fair share. So be sure to stand up and be counted!
Thanks to everyone who made last week’s Business After Hours Expo a big success! Our Passport Sponsors (City of Largo, Mid-Florida Credit Union, Piper Protection and Suddath Workplace Solutions), all our exhibitors, volunteers and guests. It really is great to belong! There’ll be another chance later in the year to promote your business products and services to the masses. Sales for our 16 Annual Business Showcase in October will kick-off this summer.
In Tallahassee….
Budget Passes its Tax Package
After adopting two amendments, the House approved its proposed tax package on Friday by a 97-16 vote. The bill would reduce state and local taxes by $133.0 million on a recurring basis with an additional $61.6 million in one-time cuts. The two largest tax cuts in the bill are a reduction in the communication services of 0.5 percent and a reduction in the business rent tax from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent. The bill has other tax measures, including back to school and disaster preparedness sales tax holidays.

Bills to Improve Health Care Access Pass the House
Bills to expand the scope of practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) and Physicians Assistants (HB 607) and pharmacists (HB 391) passed the House on Friday. The legislation will allow these professionals to practice more to the full extent of their training.
Gas prices way down
      Gas prices have taken a dive with coronavirus partly to blame.
           Florida gas prices on Friday averaged their lowest price per gallon since February 2019 — $2.30 a gallon, down 8 cents over the week. Tampa Bay gas, meanwhile, was $2.24 a gallon on average, down 9 cents over the week, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group.
           The drop, AAA said, comes from a significant decline in global demand, particularly in China, as driving is reduced and air travel tapers. Meanwhile, oil production hasn’t slowed in response to the declining demand yet, leaving a surplus of crude oil.
           Because of the glut, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met last week to address the issue. It asked Russia, which is not part of OPEC, to continue and deepen an existing supply cut to help balance the market. Russia declined to support the plan as of last Friday.
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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