As the voice of Tampa's business community, the Tampa Bay Chamber is at any given time engaged on a number of public policy fronts. Volunteer leadership and staff are actively participating in dialogue with elected officials to advocate on behalf of the Tampa Bay business community.

Issues are either identified by Public Policy Staff, Members, or Committees of the Chamber. Positions are developed by gathering available information regarding an issue, and then presenting the pro and con perspectives to the Policy Council for discussion and recommendation of a position. The recommended position is presented to the executive committee and ultimately to the Board of Directors for approval.

Guiding Principle

Economic development and business thrive where regional collaboration is strong, growth benefits the quality of life for businesses and residents, regulatory and tax burdens are minimal, right to work laws that protect our citizens remain in place, and wages are market rate. Businesses locate and expand in areas where these factors exist.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Coming together to address climate change and the clean energy transition with policies that are practical, affordable, flexible, predictable, and durable. F | S | L
Legislation that would limit the liability of businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. F | S | L
Revenue generation opportunities to offset tax losses due to COVID-19. Clarity and guidance for how the local, state and federal government and agencies spend relief funding. F | S | L
The State exercising its discretion to incentivize the resurgence of the cruise industry. F | S
Encouraging Congress and the administration to preserve and expand the Visa Waiver Program and address delays, backlogs, and disruptions in our immigration and border management systems that impede the movement of legitimate businesses and tourists traveling across U.S. borders. F
Policies that support keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay. S | L
Recognizing community quality of life as an economic development driver. S | L
Legislation that strengthens Florida’s local governments and economic development.
  • Adequate support for Enterprise Florida.
  • The flexibility that Florida’s Home Rule powers give municipalities.
  • Florida Job Growth Grant Fund as economic driver.
S
Phased initiatives to reduce the tax burden on commercial real estate leases. S
Adequate support for tourism via Visit Florida and related agencies. $
Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion to be used for:
  • Office space on a college/university campus.
  • Research with professors applicable to business.
$
Matching dollars for Port Tampa Bay projects. $
Restoring arts and culture matching grants recommended by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture. $
Engaging and empowering woman, veteran-led, minority businesses. L
Convening diverse chambers and other minority business organizations to discuss policy issues and speak with a collective voice. L
Engaging, training, and retaining young professionals. L
Policies that support the recruitment and retainment of high-wage jobs. L
Funding for continued development, enhancements, and access for downtown cultural assets and the Cultural Arts District. L

Guiding Principle

Equity and inclusion drives business competitiveness, job creation, increases diverse employee populations, and promotes inclusive economic growth. The Tampa Bay Chamber is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. The core value of being a diverse and inclusive community is critical to the region’s success.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Bridging the digital divide. F | S | L
Advocating for policy that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion in business and lead efforts to remove barriers standing between people and opportunity. F | S
Convening diverse chambers and other minority business organizations to discuss policy issues and speak with a collective voice. F | S
Ensuring equal opportunity to career paths that lead to jobs, and workforce initiatives that create a more equitable talent marketplace and strengthen the American economy. F | S
Promoting diversity across all levels of business, supporting minority-owned enterprises and entrepreneurs, and making the business case for closing the racial equity gap. F | S
Streamlining the process of becoming a certified minority-owned enterprise. S | L
The Florida Chamber of Commerce's Prosperity Project. S | L
Community Partnership Schools, which are a priority in some of our most vulnerable communities. S
Creating pathways for non-violent ex-offenders to reenter the workforce and become productive, self-sufficient citizens. S
Regional workforce development initiatives that build diverse talent and are inclusive of groups of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised such as minority populations. S
Remediation and improvement of access to Unemployment Insurance benefits. S
Policies that enhance job flexibility for parents with open cases in the child welfare system of care. S
The facilitation of minority business growth and development. S
Funding for corporate, non-profit, and quasi government board preparedness and training for diverse candidates. $
Assisting companies with the development of workforce diversity initiatives. L
Partnership development between law enforcement and minority communities. L

Guiding Principle

The Tampa Bay Chamber supports reducing the cost of health insurance to the business community by increasing access to quality health care for all Floridians, and legislation that gives our health care providers the infrastructure and regulatory environment needed to best serve our community.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Eradicating food insecurities. F | S | L
Policies to enhance access to critical health care services via telehealth, including behavioral health services. F | S
Better coordination of behavioral health funding between the Federal government and Florida. F
Limiting the consequences of Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule MFAR that could potentially upend indigent care. F
Maintaining the 340B outpatient drug pricing program. F
Mitigating the growing health disparities. S
The Florida Hospital Association’s opposition to the creation of Advanced Birth Centers in Florida. S
Transparency in health care costs. S
Preserving the Medicaid base rate. S
Increased behavioral health funding. $
Medicaid funding and expansion of eligibility criteria to address the State’s growing health insurance gap that coincides with the increase in unemployment. $

Guiding Principle

The Tampa Bay Chamber enjoys a close working relationship with MacDill Air Force Base – a vital part of our nation’s defense that has a $3 billion impact on the Tampa Bay community. We understand the importance of supporting our brave men and women and their families who serve our country and call our community home. As a Great American Defense Community, we will continue to support policies and investments that strengthen the defense community in Tampa Bay.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region

Adequate transportation options for Military families in Hillsborough County, including:

  • A MacDill Ferry Connection.
  • Optimization of circulator routes for high density military populations in East/South Hillsborough County.
F | S | L
Amending the IRS Code by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include military spouses as part of its benefited groups. F
The Department of Defense Community Infrastructure Grant Pilot program. F
MacDill Air Force Base hosting the next active-duty placement for the KC-46A Pegasus aircraft. F
The need for federal budget certainty and predictability to help our defense community plan, implement, and enhance its support of MacDill Air Force Base. F
Legislation that creates a uniform framework for recognizing service member academic credits and waives transfer of transcript fees for service members and their dependents. S
Creating a business climate to attract the U.S. Space Force and secondary/auxiliary industries. S | L
Opportunities that support veteran and military spouses seeking gainful employment and pathways to entrepreneurship. S | L
Tracking unemployment claims/job seeker benefits paid to military spouses. L
Coordination between Hillsborough County Public Schools and Military Families to ensure a seamless education transition for Military Families. L
The Military Commission’s project to attract and grow the defense contractor community in partnership with the Tampa Bay EDC and other defense and business organizations. L

Guiding Principle

Transportation is a core service of government that is critical for economic development and facilitating the efficient movement of goods, people, and services. Sufficient transportation funding of all options is needed to implement a robust and connected transportation network in Tampa Bay. We will work diligently to inform our elected officials that investments in regionally focused transit agencies are an opportunity for the expansion of resources, not replacing them at the county transit agency level.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Advocating for transit projects as a region. F | S
Efforts to continue to grow and enhance Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay. F | S
FDOT exemptions related to roadway shoulder use for express bus service. S | L
Multi-modal transit options and stations to support those options. S | L
Utilizing existing fixed guideways and infrastructure. S | L
Bringing high-speed rail and preserving sufficient Right of Way along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando for its corridor. S
Protecting the State Transportation Trust Fund. S
School route safety enhancements. S
State regulation of peer-to-peer operators including language requiring operators to enter into an agreement with airports. S
The ability of local jurisdictions to secure funding via referenda to provide adequate transit options for its citizens. S
Restoring funding for the Westshore Interchange. S
Ensure investments are made in our transportation infrastructure (airport, highways, port) for recovery of the lost gas tax and other transportation revenues. $
State funding for transit. $
The City of Tampa’s Streetcar expansion. L
Bus Rapid Transit as the catalyst project per the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan. L
Commuter Ferry Service. L
New and innovative transportation and mobility options. L
Policies that encourage innovative transit alternatives. L
Programs and processes that ensure safety; encourage walkability, and that reduce traffic and pedestrian fatalities. L
Promoting a dedicated funding source for transit. L
The private sector partnering with local transit agencies. L
Deploying already-collected All for Transportation funds at the percentages and priority areas previously approved by voters. L
The Hillsborough Board of County Commission’s efforts to bring a dedicated transit funding referendum to voters in November of 2022. L

Guiding Principle

The business community must partner with stakeholders and policymakers to advocate for adequate resources to help recruit, develop and retain talent in Tampa Bay. Plans must be in place today to train and reemploy the workforce of tomorrow. The Chamber looks forward to supporting policy that strengthens workforce development and education and supportive access to transportation and housing.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Apprenticeship programs and experiential training offerings. F | S | L
The prioritization of Tinker K-8 School to increase capacity, update aging facilities and improve educational continuity for military families. F | L
Early childhood learning as a path to a competent and capable workforce. S | L
Expand accessibility of Pell Grants for students pursuing short-term certifications. F
Pursuing all available federal support for workforce development and education programs. F
Bridging the digital divide. S | L
Associate of Science dual enrollment course offerings. S | L
Continued support and resources for schools related to COVID-19. S
Expansion of online learning infrastructure. S
Flexibility to implement the instructional requirements related to mental health education, substance abuse education, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and human trafficking education. S
Including industry certification and skilled training in school and district grade calculations as an additional student success measure. S
Removal of punitive laws that suspend driver’s licenses for non-payment of civil fines. S
Legislation that authorizes public schools to offer coding as a second language and colleges/universities to accept coding as a foreign language credit. S
STEM education programs, with an emphasis on starting in middle school, to strengthen equitable access to high quality workforce-related skill sets. S
System-wide funding for the University of South Florida. $
Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion. $
Pursue state funds in support of district-identified pilot programs. $
Incorporating Career and Technical Education curriculum at the K-12 level. L
Targeted plans that create a skilled pipeline of talent to support and sustain Tampa Bay’s ongoing economic development activities. L

Workforce Housing

Guiding Principle

Developing a sustainable inventory of workforce housing is vital to the continued growth and success of Tampa Bay’s business economy. Our region’s economic success and continued growth over the last twenty years have resulted in rising housing costs for renters and would-be homeowners, forcing our workforce to live farther away from employment centers. Increasing the inventory of attainable housing for working families earning incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income, is critical to our region’s ability to attract and retain talent, improve quality of life, and to continue to successfully compete in the market economy.

Key
F Federal
S State
$ State Funding Priority
L Local
The Chamber Supports Region
Attainable housing that improves workforce satisfaction, quality of life, and ensures a vibrant, thriving community. F | S | L
Pursuing any available federal funds that facilitate the development of, and access to, workforce housing, including leveraging additional federal matching and other federal grants with existing and new local funds and new local and nonprofit and other allocations for this purpose. F
Policies and budget prioritization that facilitate the development of, and access to, workforce housing. S | L
Waivers to activate irregular sized parcels for affordable and workforce housing. S | L
Legislation that prevents the Legislature from diverting the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund. S
Addressing infrastructure needs without adversely impacting housing affordability. L
Amendments to the City of Tampa’s and Hillsborough County’s Land Development Codes and Comprehensive Plans, which incentivize the development of workforce housing. L
Clarity in the land use code to encourage mobility hubs. L
Community Land Trust (CLT’s) creation for the purposes of keeping workforce housing in perpetuity. L
Incentives for converting existing properties to workforce housing, including but not limited to the utilization of opportunity zones. L
Density bonuses and the removal of parking minimums for developers building workforce housing. L
Easing the process of pulling permits to assess project feasibility. L
Exemptions from fees (sewer, impact, connection, utilities, and mobility) for workforce housing development. L
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