For the 2012 Session AFP-FL will largely focus on budget issues, promoting smaller government and free market reforms, and decreasing burdensome business regulations.
TAXES & SPENDING
The State is slated to have to fill a $2 Billion shortfall this year, after cutting $4.5 Billion from the budget last year. We will have to keep pressure on, in a year with a budget shortfall, to protect consumers and taxpayers from “hidden” tax and fee increases. We oppose taxing out-of-state internet sales and other targeted taxes being proposed for specfic items.
- PIP – Already proving to be a key policy initiative for the Governor and Legislative leaders. The business and insurance lobbies have proposed a number of reforms that increase regulations and licensing requirements. However, we believe that it would be better to repeal the current PIP requirements, an act that has shown in other states to decrease fraud and claims.
- Property Insurance – Building upon our position in 2011, we continue to support measures that will bring more free market influence to Florida’s property insurance market, including efforts to depopulate the state backed Citizen Property Insurance Corp., reducing risk in the Cat Fund and allowing surplus lines insurers into the Florida market. Currently Citizens and the Cat Fund are at financial risk if Florida was to get hit by a major storm, the financial burden of which will fall to the taxpayers and could potentially bankrupt our state.
Medicaid is the largest single expense in the state budget, and Attorney General Pam Bondi stated that projection estimates mean that it could consume more than 50% of the budget by 2015. Governor Scott’s budget proposal included implementing reforms that could save $2 billion annually.
In 2011 the Legislature passed Medicaid Reforms that would implement a managed care program that is estimated to save approximately $2 Billion a year. However, implementation of the reforms passed last year require approval of waivers from the federal government and until these waivers are received, Florida will not be able to implement these cost-saving and patient centered reforms.
We are supporting two health care memorials – a Memorial that would ask the US Department of Health & Human Services to approve Florida’s pending waivers, and another that would ask Congress to defund the insurance exchanges that are required through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It is important that the Federal government know that Floridians demand control over their health care futures.
We also support measures that would allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines, further opening up the health insurance market in the State.
An initiative of Governor Scott since his inauguration, he has vowed to cut 1000 regulatory laws this year. The business lobbies that have pushed to create and increase government licensing will resist these efforts. We support the Governor’s efforts and will continue support for the deregulation of a number of unnecessary and burdensome licensing requirements, which was a priority of Speaker Cannon in 2011 but was defeated in the Senate.
We must unleash American energy resources by removing regulatory barriers and keeping energy taxes low. To this end, we will be keeping a close eye on the legislative proposals to ensure that Florida’s energy policy supports energy independence while protecting free markets and taxpayers.
We support measures that will continue to bring accountability and student-focus to Florida’s public education, which includes implementation of 2011′s Student Success Act (SB 736), which allows teachers to be financially rewarded for student achievement.
We continue supporting school choice measures and reforms that give more control over a child’s education to the child and parent, rather than bureaucrats.