By: Gina Pitisci
Tallahassee, FL - Lawmakers are in town, getting ready to kick off the 2013 legislative session. The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) hosted their annual reception honoring the Florida legislature. According to the Chairman, Government Operations Sub-Committee, Jason Brodeur, "the hottest topic in every session is always the budget. Florida is unique in that we have a balanced budget amendment and that we only spend what we bring in. Now fortunately this year we're doing better than we've done in previous years but that doesn't mean we have tons and tons of cash floating around."
Besides the budget and pension reform, Brodeur says Medicare expansion will also be a center point for discussion over the next 60 days. He says, "that's an obligation that is going to be with us for a very long time should we choose to make that decision and do we think we have the funds necessary to meet those obligations in the future."
Former senator, Al Lawson says he expects the hot topics this session to also include, insurance, healthcare, funding education and increasing pay for teachers. He states “of course if you've been in Tallahassee and you haven't seen a pay raise in 7 years, it's going to be a big issue and the Governor has really started the ball rolling by saying that he is going to give teachers a $2,500 one time bonus."
Representative Jose Diaz (R, Miami), feels that the improving economy will be helpful this session. He says "I don't expect this to be a difficult session, we've seen the worst of the recession, so we actually have a surplus for the first time in 6 or 7 years, so we're actually going to be conflicted as to what programs we're going to give additional money to."
Those who attended the pre-session reception say it's an opportunity for people to come together, talk, greet each other and mingle before they get down to business. President and CEO of AIF says “AIF has a great tradition where we bring a lot of people from around the state, businesses, all sorts of different interest groups that care a lot about the future of Florida."
AIF is known as "the voice of Florida business", they are a not-for-profit association, owned by its members, and they represent the link between responsible public policy and a thriving marketplace. A-I-f hosts this event each year the day before the legislative session begins.
Before lawmakers get to work, they're putting their differences aside and coming together at the annual Associated Industries of Florida reception.
Headquartered in downtown Tallahassee, AIF hosts this party every year as a way to formally kick off the legislative season.
This is an invitation only event, and will start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. tonight.
The majority of the legislators are expected to be in attendance as well as AIF members and corporate sponsors.
AIF is known as the voice of Florida business, and they are a not-for-profit association, owned by its members, and their mission is to represent the link between responsible public policy and a thriving marketplace.
This event takes place each year, the day before the legislative session begins. It's an opportunity for people to come together, talk, greet each other and mingle.
Some of the hot topics this session are pension reform, state employee and teacher pay raises, election reform and ethics reform.