Policy & Transportation Digest

By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Legislative Session comes to a close: The State Legislature passed an $82.3 billion budget today in the last day of session. It passed the House 119-1 and 40-0 in the Senate.

The budget does not include some of Governor Rick Scott’s major priorities. Among them, a tax cut plan significantly smaller than the Governor’s, and no funding for economic development incentives. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and major business organizations in Florida supported the Senate’s plan for $250 million in incentives.

By not including incentives, Gov. Scott could seek to line item veto member’s projects in response. State Senator Tom Lee guessed that about $500 million could be deleted by the Governor, which would beat Gov. Scott’s previous record. Several Tampa Bay projects are in the budget, including funding for the Tampa Heights community center in the path of the Tampa Bay Express interstate project, and the USF Morsani College of Medicine in downtown Tampa. The USF College of Medicine was one of the few projects that survived Gov. Scott’s line item vetoes last year.

The State Legislature did not take action on ridesharing, effectively putting the issue back on municipalities. For Hillsborough County, that means ticketing Lyft and Uber drivers again. For Altamonte Springs north of Orlando, it means entering a partnership with Uber to subsidize rides to and from their SunRail station within the city limits. Altamonte Springs’ action comes as transit agencies and local governments look at ridesharing to support transit services, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.

Upcoming events:

Legislative Wrap-Up, April 8, 11:30am: The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us for our 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up at Maestro’s Restaurant at the Straz Center. Our state senators and representatives from Hillsborough County will discuss the outcome of the 2016 Legislative Session and the Chamber Legislative Agenda. Visit the event page to register, and for more information.

Face The Chamber – 2016 Mayor’s Luncheon, April 15, 11:45am: Join us for the Mayor’s annual address to the Chamber and Leadership Tampa Alumni membership including the popular “Face the Chamber” segment. Check out our website for more information.

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About Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.