Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have recently experienced complete devastation in some areas of the state due to severe hurricane damage and flooding. We are unfortunately all too familiar with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Each state continues to rightfully focus on safety, rebuilding and economic recovery efforts in order to get back on their feet.
When I saw recent reports of the oil and natural gas industry’s impact on our state, my interest piqued. As the president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I represent the needs of more than 80,000 minority-owned businesses in the Sunshine State, so I am especially attuned to anything that affects our state’s economy. We support the development of all types of energy, natural gas being one of them.
The House Ways & Means Committee has held its first hearings on tax reform this year and the business community in this country is optimistic that our elected officials may be able to pass legislation to fix our tax code. This is an opportunity that may not come again and it is imperative that something be passed as soon as possible, because the American economy cannot wait another 30 years for reform.
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FSHCC) is the only statewide economic development organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Hispanic business community. We have 38 chapters in Florida and work with more than 80,000 minority-owned businesses, many of whom are in the grocery and convenience store industry.
As in most states across America, small businesses form the backbone of the Sunshine State’s economy, and account for the majority of our job creators. Hard work, dedication, and long-term planning are the foundational keys to success. So is having a responsive, attentive ally in the U.S. Congress like Florida’s own Bill Nelson, a senior member of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance, which exercises oversight of our nation’s tax code. At a time when Congress appears poised to achieve first-in-a-generation, bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that lowers the rate, simplifies regulations and treats all industries fairly, we are hopeful for Senator Nelson’s leadership on this issue.
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce encompasses all 67 counties in Florida, more than 40 local chambers of commerce and thousands of direct members and member companies. We work to improve the quality of life for every Hispanic and Hispanic business in Florida. One issue of critical importance to our members is affordable health care that puts patients first. For this reason, we would like to express concerns regarding legislation that would hurt our community by creating an unfair advantage for physician-owned hospitals (POH).
The problems that will affect Floridas citizens and small businesses have taken a back seat to mudslinging in the gubernatorial race, and important issues, such as greenhouse gas emission regulations, are falling through the cracks.