Advocacy: Special Report
The Legislature will have no shortage of input from business groups in the 2011 session.
Funding and Incentives: Nancy Stephens, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida, says Florida manufacturers want:
» State incentives for capital investment for manufacturers, including revisions to the Tax Refund Program for Qualified Target Industry businesses (QTI) that will provide incentives for capital investment. The group also supports measures that relieve and reduce taxes on capital investment and supports removal of all taxes on manufacturing inputs.
» Technical assistance with international trade, including a "Gold Key" program to mentor small businesses in international markets.
» Funding for port infrastructure expansion in order to promote international trade and attract more shipping traffic.
? CHILDREN'S ISSUES
Protection: Florida Children's First, an organization that advocates for the rights of children and youth in foster care, will be drafting a "normalcy" bill targeting several issues raised by children in foster care, including the ability to maintain contact with friends and family while they are in state care, privacy rights and the ability to work and participate in after-school activities. The group is also watching a plan by the Department of Children and Families to make significant changes to its Independent Living Program, which supports young adults who age out of state care.
Options: Dave Bundy, president and CEO of Children's Home Society, says his non-profit is focusing on four key areas during the 2011 legislative session:
» Ensuring that the state provides enough funding so that Florida can keep a federal waiver that gives it additional flexibility in helping children in troubled families.
» Limiting liability and reducing minimum limits of liability insurance required of providers of child welfare services under the community-based care system.
» Extending the foster care age for children to 21.
» Creating options that would allow non-profits like the Children's Home Society to combine service-delivery networks and offer Medicaid recipients the option of receiving aid in their own homes, communities and schools.
Children's Home Society also recommends that any Medicaid reform maintain a program for abused, neglected and abandoned children living in a shelter or residential group care settings.