Budget, 2012 vote highlight state legislative session

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Pensacola News Journal – March 8, 2011

TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators arrived at the Capitol in a festive mood Monday and raced through a few political formalities in preparation for two months of difficult wrangling over budget cuts, a major overhaul of public-employee pensions and preparations for the 2012 elections.

“There’s going to be a balanced budget 61 days from now,” said Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. “And we’re going to do it without increasing taxes or fees.” 

Gov. Rick Scott said his State of the State speech this evening will stick to what got him elected. He told officials of Associated Industries of Florida, the state’s major business lobby, that economic development powered by tax cuts and reduction of state regulations will be his core mission for the session. Read More

Scott: Fla. has to be even more business-friendly

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Florida Capital Bureau Chief – March 07, 2011

Florida is a right-to-work state with endless summers, low labor costs, no income tax and one of the cheapest and most productive public work forces in the nation.

But with more than 1 million Floridians out of work, a jobless rate higher than the national average and an unemployment compensation trust fund that has long gone bust, Florida has to be even more business-friendly. Read More

Associated Industries leader takes aim at state’s pension plan

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Tallahassee Democrat – February 25, 2011

The head of Florida’s major business organization bluntly told legislators Thursday state employees should “have some skin in the game” with pension payments put into investment accounts — and consider themselves lucky to have jobs.

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee spent two hours discussing and listening to testimony on changes to the Florida Retirement System, but took no votes on bills or amendments. Some members obviously are not ready to go as far as Gov. Rick Scott, whose budget proposal calls for state and local employees in the FRS to put 5 percent of their salaries into the pension pot, which is now entirely employer-paid. Read More

Gov. Scott: Florida budget could be chopped by $5 billion

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

News-Press.com – February 7, 2011

EUSTIS — New Republican Gov. Rick Scott received wild applause from about 1,000 tea party activists when he said the $65.9 billion budget proposal he rolled out Monday would cut government waste and lower taxes.

Scott is proposing $5 billion in spending cuts, about half of that in education, in the next budget year beginning July 1 and another $2.6 billion more the following year.

At the tea party rally in a Baptist church, the new Republican governor compared his look at the current $70.4 billion budget to going up in an attic of an old home. Read More

“Major overhaul” of U.S. education to offer more technical, vocational pursuits recommended

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

St. Petersburg Times – February 3, 2011

Wake up and good morning. One of the consistent gripes I hear from the Florida business community (and Florida teachers) is how our traditional education systems does not offer enough technical or vocational options for young people who may not be disposed to pursue (or be the best candidates for) a college education.

That argument gets reinforced this week with the release of a two-year study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The current U.S. education system is failing to prepare millions of young adults for successful careers by providing a one-size-fits-all approach, and it should take a cue from its European counterparts by offering greater emphasis on occupational instruction, the Harvard study concludes. The study by the Pathways to Prosperity Project — formally called Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century — notes that while much emphasis is placed in high school on going on to a four-year college, only 30 percent of young adults in the United States successfully complete a bachelor’s degree, the New York Times reports in its coverage here. Read More

AIF Has High Hopes for 2011

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Sunshine State News – January 22, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott is fond of saying he wants to “make Florida the best place in the country to do business.” Associated Industries of Florida is hoping he’ll do just that — in fact, AIF may have more confidence in the new governor than other organizations.

“Yes, because the governor used to be on our board,” said Barney Bishop III, president and CEO of AIF, when asked if the group had high expectations for 2011. Read More

Political newcomer Rick Scott sworn in as Florida’s 45th governor

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Tallahassee Democrat – January 5, 2011

Confidently declaring “Let’s get to work,” Rick Scott became governor Tuesday and ordered a review of government regulations he said are choking Florida’s economy.

The Naples health-care executive, a business-minded Republican who spent some $73 million of his own fortune to become the first governor of modern times with no prior political experience, ordered the creation of an Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform to review all state rules and regulations and get rid of those that inhibit business growth. Read More

Making rail deal a winner

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Tampa Tribune – January 15, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott is getting conflicting advice from within his party about whether to seek bids to build a Tampa-Orlando rapid-rail line or abandon the concept.

The case against taking federal money to build the train comes mostly from people and groups skeptical of government projects, especially transit, and most especially rail. Supporters, including this newspaper, believe that starting the nation’s high-speed rail network in Florida will benefit the state’s economy and image, at little risk to state taxpayers. Read More

Powerful Tallahassee corporation comes out strongly in support of high speed rail

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Daily Loaf – January 12, 2011

Associated Industries of Florida, led by Barney Bishop, has the reputation of being one of the most powerful, influential companies in the state capital.  Whether that’s still the case or not might be debatable, but one would think that with Rick Scott’s reverence for business, one would have to think they might have some influence on his thinking.

So as Scott waits until February to get an assessment before weighing in on whether to continue to support the construction of a Tampa-Orlando high speed rail route, he’ll continue to be lobbied pro and con by various stake holders. Read More

Casinos urge lawmakers to allow them to locate in Florida

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Tampa Tribune – January 12, 2011

TALLAHASSEE – Eager to bring large gambling resorts to Florida, casino operators pledged Tuesday to create “potentially tens of thousands of jobs” if lawmakers will sweep away the legal hurdles keeping them out.

But some question whether such a plan is constitutional — and even if it can pass muster in court, it may still face a steep climb in the Legislature. Read More