Steve Crisafulli: Florida House Passes Economic Development Reform Legislation
By Space Coast Daily // March 1, 2016
Week 7 Legislative Session Update
This week, the House passed HB 1325 to institute important reforms to Florida’s economic development programs.
These incentive programs are just one component of our state’s economic toolbox, but I believe strong accountability and transparency safeguards are necessary to ensure these programs are effective and use taxpayer dollars responsibly.
This bill provides no funding for incentive programs, but will:
• Modernize economic development programs so they are more competitive in today’s economy.
• Streamline and simplify the approval process of these incentive projects within the legislative process so these deals can get done faster and companies can create jobs.
• Provide accountability to taxpayers to ensure businesses are held to the terms of their contracts so taxpayer dollars are not wasted.
• Increase transparency for taxpayers by requiring Enterprise Florida to make more information related to incentive programs available to the public.
I believe this bill will help make future economic incentive projects more transparent for and accountable to Floridians and ensure we can protect taxpayers while also keeping Florida a national leader in job creation.
House Passes Pension Modernization Bill
This week, the House also passed HB 7107, which modernizes the Florida Retirement System (FRS). Effective July 1, 2016, the bill changes the default from the Pension Plan to the Investment Plan for enrollees who do not select either plan during the election period.
Despite the default change, the Pension Plan remains open for enrollees to choose during the entire nine month election period. In addition, the bill allows renewed membership in the Investment Plan for a retiree of the Investment Plan or an optional retirement program if they return to employment with an FRS employer.
Finally, the bill provides new survivor benefits to spouses and children of Investment Plan members who are killed in the line of duty. The new survivor benefits are the same as those provided for members of the Pension Plan and will be provided retroactively to the survivors of all Investment Plan members who have been killed in the line of duty since 2002, when the Investment Plan was first offered.
In my opinion, this bill provides reasonable changes to the FRS, which will be beneficial to both current enrollees and Florida’s taxpayers. I believe these reforms will not only reduce risks to taxpayers, but will also provide portability and flexibility in retirement to today’s more mobile workforce.
Bill Showing Support for Israel Passes House
On Wednesday, the House stood united and passed Senate Bill 86 to show support for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and a staunch ally of the Uni ted States.
Specifically, the bill requires the State Board of Administration to create a list of companies that boycott Israel and prohibits the state from acquiring securities of companies on the list. In addition, the bill prohibits the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel. I was proud to support this great bill and to stand with Israel.