Legislative Communications

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to providing members with transparent, up to date, reliable information on current events and public policy. On this site you can find our monthly Legislative Update, our Legislative Bolg Post and press releases.



State of the City Press Release

PENSACOLA, FL- August 21, 2019 – The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce held its first ever “State of the City” luncheon attended by 250 Pensacola business leaders. This event is part one of an inaugural four-part community engagement series where the Chamber will be bringing local leaders to share their vision for the future with the business community.

Mayor Grover Robinson provided keynote remarks and reflected on the progress of Pensacola as he rallied around the “Florida’s First and Future” motto he’s adopted for the city. The mayor told the unique story of Pensacola’s history and how we can be a city other Florida communities look to as a model. Mayor Robinson stressed the importance of Pensacola having a good “quality of place” that provide residents a desirable location to grow, work, and play.

Robinson encouraged community leaders to maintain the momentum and reported additional progress to include; the expansion of ST Engineering, increased progress in maritime business at the Port of Pensacola, improvement in property value for both residential and commercial properties, and an 5.4% increase in city sales tax collection. The city also plans to support local educational efforts by acquiring Chromebooks from the school district to place in community centers for students to use.

Newly hired Assistant City Administrator Kerrith Fiddler also spoke at the event and shared his optimism for the city’s plans to manage and maintain the recent growth.  Fiddler brings 15 years of local government experience to his new position and is also a Certified General Contractor, Certified Roofing Contractor, Certified Plumbing Contractor, Certified Floodplain Manager, and a Qualified Stormwater Inspector.

Luncheon attendees had direct access to Mayor Robinson and city staff and the opportunity to network with elected officials and community leaders before and after the program.  Attendees also provided questions for the mayor to answer following his remarks.

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce would like to thank our Title Sponsor, the University of West Florida. In addition, we’d like to thank our Gold Sponsors: Titanium Wireless, Synovus, and Gulf Power Company.

The Greater Pensacola Chamber is dedicated to being a conduit for positive change and cross-sector collaboration. The Chamber will be hosting three more events as a part of the “State of” series to include: State of the Military, State of Education and State of the County.

For more information regarding these events please contact the Greater Pensacola Chamber at (850) 438 – 4081 or by visiting our website www.pensacolachamber.com.

Legislative Blog

Blog Post: National Economic Progress Continues, However, Concerns Are In the air

Recent Progress in the Economy:

  • There were 2.3 million more workers in 2018 than 2017!
  • Workers are earning higher wages with increases by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Poverty has declined by 0.5 percentage points to 11.8% which is 1.4 million fewer people in poverty.
  • Economic growth driven by tax reform and recent efforts of the current administration to reduce regulatory burdens are having a positive effect.

Positive outcomes from these results:

  • Workers are better able to support their families.
  • There are more available jobs; however, there are still more jobs than people, so workforce remains a major concern.

Gaps in The Economy That Must be Addressed

“The first is a skills gap – too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs. The second is a people gap – too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them. Businesses must be part of the solution. No single entity has a greater stake in the strength of our talent pool than the business community. We have the ideas, the innovations, and the incentive to drive change and create solutions.”, said U.S. Chamber CEO Donohue at the Talent Forward event earlier this year.

The Gaps

  1. Solutions for the Skills Gap
    1. Improving education and mandating increased school accountability, more choices for families, and improved collaboration among key stakeholders.
    2. Ensuring the annual $400 billion dollars of taxpayer money being invested in higher education will result into credentials and a return on investment back into the economy.
    3. The business community must ensure that local education institutions teach in-demand skills by implementing similar programs such as the Foundation Talent Pipeline Management Initiative https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/talent-pipeline-management
    4. Better access to quality childcare, as it is the foundation for basic skills and ability.
  2. Solutions for People Gap
    1. The opioid epidemic is a large contributor to the decline in working-age men in the workforce. We need to support public and private sectors working to address the issue in addition to supporting good public policy.

but fair process for the millions of undocumented people living in the U.S. to have the opportunity to earn a legal status.” This includes the “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. as children and Temporary Protected Status recipients.

  1. We must have good policy to produce good results!

Signs of Policy Uncertainty Is Negatively Affecting the Economy

“Amid all the talk of a possible recession, it’s important for everyone to remember this: Economic expansions do not die of natural causes. They often die because of missteps and policy mistakes. And the biggest mistake our leaders could make right now — putting our economy at greater risk of a downturn — is to stoke further uncertainty We’re calling on our leaders to eliminate the uncertainty, rebuild business confidence and keep this economy working for all Americans.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Donohue writes.

  1. “When leaders make decisions that foster certainty, businesses invest, hire, grow and better drive the economy in a positive direction.”
  2. Examples of the Effect of Fostering Certainty
    1. Unemployment rate has reached a generational low
    2. Employee compensation has risen 3.4% in the first half of 2019
    3. Inflammation remains near record lows
    4. Consumer spending is strong, and retail sales have beat the calculated expectations for the first half of the year.
  3. Examples of the Negative Effect from Not Fostering Certainty
    1. Increased trade tensions and softening of global economy

“The business community shares the administration’s concern over China’s trade and industrial practices, and the U.S. Chamber strongly supports efforts to secure a deal that addresses forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, data privacy and intellectual-property protection, and market access. The initial tariffs have brought China to the negotiating table, but the current path of constant escalation doesn’t increase the likelihood of a deal; it risks a recession here at home.” – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  1. Business investment has experienced its first decline in three years
  2. Manufacturing sector has been in a downturn for nine months
  3. Famers’ income has plummeted
  4. Investors have begun to panic over “inverted yield curves” in the bond market and wild swings in the stock market – typically key indicators a recession is coming. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/recession-watch-what-is-an-inverted-yield-curve-why-does-it-matter/

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Commitment

We know that neither growth nor a recession are guaranteed; however, both result from choices we make as a country. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce will be calling on our leaders to eliminate as much uncertainty in the economy’s future as possible by encouraging the introducing and supporting of logical tax reform and an increase in educational and workforce development resources. Together we can close these gaps and increase the business community’s confidence in the future, both near and long.


Sean Hackbarth, A Strong Economy Improves American’s Lives,” First Things First, (September 2019): https://page.uschamber.com/index.php/email/emailWebview


The Chamber offers legislative office hours

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce would like to extend the opportunity for all members to voice concerns about current or proposed policies that impact their businesses or the communities they serve.

Office hours will be offered once a month, and all concerns voiced will go before the Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee. Our goal is to adequately gage the member’s concerns and strive to connect resources and find solutions to better benefit our business community and our community impact.
For more information please email slefevers@pensacolachamber.com

Legislative Update

August 2019


Preparing for Driverless Vehicles: An autonomous trucking company moves freight for UPS

UPS has had autonomous trucking startup TuSimple hauling cargo for it between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, since May as part of a newly publicized partnership between the two companies. Learn More Here 

Temperature Rises in Trade War

As the trade war intensifies, financial markets have gotten skittish over the possibility of slowed economic growth. "China announced Friday that it would levy retaliatory tariffs ranging from 5% to 10% on $75 billion of U.S. goods in two batches on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, per CNBC." Learn More Here


State Analysts Won't Revisit Economic Impact of Minimum Wage, Utility Ballot Initiatives

"The state's top fiscal forecasters said Monday they won't revisit their original financial impact statements for two 2020 ballot initiatives that could cause huge economic ripples in Florida - despite a recent Supreme Court opinion that it should." Read More Here


Escambia County Recieves $21.8 Million in Funding for New Jail

Escambia County will receive $21.8 million from the Florida Division of Emergency Management through Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement, which will go directly toward the county’s $145 million correctional facility project.  Read More Here

Community Progress

This month the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Chamber of Commerce joined to host a meeting with a variety of community leaders in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. The mission of this meeting was to develop a strategy and set community goals to accomplish by 2030. Some of those goals include: a stronger workforce, improved kindergarten readiness rates and improve the quality of life for all residents. Chamber CEO Todd Thomson gives his take on how we as a community can achieve these goals. Additionally, Chief Economist with the Florida Chamber, Jerry Parrish explains the purpose behind this initiative.

Community Progress

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce hosted the first of their quarterly “State Of” series with the State of the City Luncheon. This event is part one of an inaugural four-part community engagement series where the Chamber will be bringing local leaders to share their vision for the future with the business community. Read more here