March 2017 Vol. 18 No. 3

Chairman’s Report: How Chamber Membership Affects Your Business

Wow, it’s March – Daylight Savings time begins Sunday! How does that affect your business? The bigger question is – How does your Chamber membership affect your business? This is a key topic of discussion at Chamber Board meetings this spring. We’re working hard to build even more value into your Chamber membership. This includes staying on top of local business and economic issues that affect our business community and reporting that information back to you. For example, members of the board recently hosted a round-table with Executive Director Cissy Proctor of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and members of her team at the Chamber Visitor Center. They updated us on DEO’s community development support here in the Keys and statewide. Areas of responsibility for DEO include Workforce Development & Housing, Labor Market, Reemployment Assistance, Community Planning, Development & Services, Business Growth & Partnerships such as Enterprise Florida, and SPACE Florida (which helped to revitalize the Space Coast). We asked DEO about local issues and discussed concerns about education, the environment and recycling, human trafficking, people with unique abilities, reemployment assistance and workforce housing. Having established communication with the DEO team, we’ll continue to keep members in the loop with updates, as well as opportunities including Small Business grant and loan applications. Please check out http://floridajobs.org/ for information. I guarantee you’ll learn some new things happening in Tallahassee that affect us here in Key Largo. And speaking of legislation that impacts our businesses... Did you know 112.8 million tourists visited Florida last year? That’s 6.2 million more than in 2015. In February, the Chamber brought to your attention proposed state legislation to cut funding to VISIT FLORIDA, the statewide destination marketing contractor. Recognizing the crucial importance of marketing our hospitality industry, your board unanimously voted to urge legislators to support Governor Rick Scott’s $76 million budget proposal to

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity with Key Largo Board of Directors. Photo by Nada Jones

continue funding VISIT FLORIDA. We thank our members who also sent letters and emails to state lawmakers. The final votes will take place soon and we’ll keep you updated. I’d like to recognize and thank two of your board members who are leading Chamber committees specifically concerned with enhancing our business and community environment. Thank you to Dennis Caltagirone, Chairperson of the Public Affairs Division; and Theresa Yong, Chairperson of the Education/Workforce Development Division. When we all work together we all win together! We also congratulate our chamber member, Jerry Gaddis, EA MBA, of Tropical Tax Solutions for making the top 100 Forbes/Tax Girl, must-follow Tax Twitter Feeds. You can follow Tropical Tax Solutions on Twitter @ TropicalTax Have a wonderful month!

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