2022 Legislative Priorities

Mission: To create an environment for business to prosper throughout Palm Beach County

As the “voice” of business for Palm Beach County, the Council identifies policy and issue areas that affect how business operates and works to guide and shape the Economic and Civic landscape for Palm Beach County.

This is done by focusing on the following areas:

  1. Affordable/Workforce Housing
  2. Education
  3. Healthcare
  4. Economic Development
  5. Water Resources
  6. Finance/Tax

2022 Legislative Priorities

 I. AFFORDABLE / WORKFORCE HOUSING

  1. Support maintaining and expanding housing options by utilizing all Sadowski funds from Florida’s SHIP (State Housing Initiative Partnership) and SAIL (State Apartment Incentive Program) programs to address our critical housing needs in Palm Beach County
    • SHIP: $209.5 million
    • SAIL: $53.3 million
    • Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program: $100 million

II. EDUCATION

Higher Education

2.   A strong education system is the backbone of Palm Beach County’s business community.  The Council supports the following education initiatives;

Palm Beach State College Dental and Medical Services Building

  • Funded via the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) List through DOE
  • Ranked #1 on the DOE Fixed Capital Outlay List for PECO funding
  • $25 million remaining funding request
  • Will house the Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Surgical Technologist and Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
  • Final: $25 million
  • Additional $18 million in deferred maintenance funding

Florida Atlantic University

‘University of Distinction’ program ($18.1 million request)

  • Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics.  This will further expand degree offerings and promote AI and data-driven engagement with regional technology industries.  Will be funded via the Education appropriation sub-committees in the House and Senate
  • Final: $0

Health Sciences Training and Research Facility ($10 million request)

  • Facilities will have state of the art training and research space and will be a site to train a healthcare workforce for the region. 
  • Sponsor: Rep. LaMarca & Sen. Mayfield
  • Final: $0
  • $5 million increase in operational dollars (recurring)
  • $4.2 million in PIPELINE Funding (Nursing Education Incentive)

Support restored funding to Florida EASE Program ($116 million recommendation)

  • Final: $2,000 per student
  • $39.4 million cut

Pre-K-12

 3.  Developing and retaining a skilled workforce requires a strong School District and K-12 system. The Council supports the following K-12 initiatives;

  • Support maintaining full calculation of RLE to include property reassessments and new construction
      • Maintained at prior year levels (3.606)
  • Support fully funding any new mandates without transferring funds from the Base Student Allocation or Discretionary Local Effort
      • BSA: $2,803 (4.9% increase)
  • Support district’s ability to reinstate the use of remote learning in the classroom at their discretion
  • Amend VPK to a high quality, full day program
  • Support an increase in dollars for school safety & mental health services
    • Mental Health: $140 million ($20 million increase)
    • School Safety: $210 million ($30 million increase)

III. HEALTHCARE

4. Palm Beach County’s healthcare system is a major employer in the region and is essential to the long-term health of our economy. The Council supports;

    • SB 7014 to extend Covid-19 liability protections for healthcare providers for another year
      • Sponsor: Sen. Burgess
      • SIGNED by Governor
    • Opposing any further cuts to the Medicaid Reimbursement rates
    • Opposing the creation & expansion of ‘Recovery Care Centers’
    • Opposing the expansion of ‘Advanced Birthing Centers’ & related services

IV. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  1. The Council continues to work with our external partners to promote economic development throughout Palm Beach County. The Council supports;
    • Support full funding for Visit Florida & Enterprise Florida
      • Visit Florida: $50 million
      • Enterprise Florida: $12 million
    • Support increased funding of Florida Job Growth Grant Fund
      • Final: $50 million
    • Support reauthorization of the Qualified Target Industry (OTI) Tax Refund Program
      • No reauthorization
    • Support PBC Glades Regional Master Plan
      • West Tech Adult Education/ Workforce Training Program: $397,288
      • Everglades Workforce Training Program: $1,700,000
    • Support continuation of the Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) for road reconstruction and paving
      • Focus on Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay
      • Final: $84,985,746

V.  WATER RESOURCES

  1. Water quality is essential to Palm Beach County’s economy and is a major driver of tourism throughout the year. The Council supports;
    • Water Sustainability & Infrastructure projects for PBC
  • Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative ($3.5 million request)
    • Sponsor: Rep. Caruso
    • Final: $450,000
  • Loxahatchee River Preserve Initiative ($2.3 million request)
    • Sponsor: Rep. Snyder
    • Final: $1,305,500
  • Glades Region Infrastructure Improvements ($3 million request)
  • $50 million recurring for Beach & Inlet Management through DEP Beach Nourishment Grant Program
    • Final: $50 million
  • Policy & budgetary action to deal with increasing red tide & blue-green algae issues, particularly prevention & treatment
    • Final: $11,800,00
  • Legislature and Federal government’s efforts to expedite the completion of repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike so storage can be increased
  • Funding for additional water storage north of Lake Okeechobee
    • Final: $100 million
  • Budgetary actions to protect our water supply from pollutants such as septic tanks, storm water runoff, and other contaminants
    • Septic to Sewer Incentive Program: $10 million
    • Water Quality Improvements: $782.4 million total
  • Increased funding for Everglades Restoration through the CERP (Central Everglades Restoration Program)
    • Final: $885.9 million

VI.FINANCE & TAX

7.   The Council supports a tax-friendly environment for businesses as well as focusing on transparency and accountability.  The Council supports;

A reduction in the Business Rent Sales Tax and Sales Tax on Leases

  • Still remains at 5.5% (until the FL Unemployment Trust Fund is replenished)
  • SB 50 passed in 2021