PBC’s newly elected Democratic legislators address business community

Palm Beach County’s newly elected state legislators gave the business community a sneak peek of the issues they’ll be tackling when they begin their official work in Tallahassee this month.

Thursday’s luncheon – sponsored by the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Health and business groups like BIZPAC — is an annual event that allows business leaders to hear directly from their representatives on the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation.

This year’s all-Democratic panel included newly sworn-in Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, Reps. Irv Slosberg and Lori Berman, three other veteran legislators and newcomer Rep. Bobby Powell.

[nggallery id=3]

 

The officials announced their newly released committee assignments and answered written audience questions about issues many expect will come up during this spring’s session. Some of the highlights included questions and answers that went somewhat like this:

Do you believe Florida should implement a cyber-sales tax?

“I see both sides of this issue,” Abruzzo said. “At the end of the day, our brick-and-mortar stores are suffering. As a proud pro-business, fiscal conservative Democrat, I can’t sign off 100 percent until I see the bill, but we need the revenue.”

Are you in favor of eliminating HOV lanes?

State Senator Jeff Clemens said Miami has turned its HOV lanes into pay lanes, and Broward is doing the same. Florida’s transportation secretary wants Palm Beach County to keep its HOV lanes intact so they, too, can be turned into pay lanes, he said.

“Within 12 to 18 months, Palm Beach County will have pay lanes,” Slosberg added. “I think it’s a good idea.”

Abruzzo said he’d like to meet with the Palm Beach County Commission to “find out how they feel about the HOV issue in Palm Beach County.”

What is going on with gaming?

Panel members agreed there is a lot of work to do in governing the state’s gaming operations, saying a strong effort will be made to establish a gaming commission to regulate Internet cafes and approve slot machines, as well as negotiate with the Seminole Tribe.

Does the Stand Your Ground Law need to be changed?

“Yes, we need a whole overhaul on gun laws in this state,” Berman said, adding that the ability for anyone to to go into a daycare center or a city hall with a gun “is a big problem.”

Rep. Kevin Rader, though, expected a big fight from the gun lobby.

“The NRA is the biggest lobby in the United States and the strongest in the state of Florida,” he said.

Powell said attempts to strengthen the state’s gun laws “may not happen this year or next year, but it definitely needs to change.”

Rep. Mark Pafford agreed: “It’s a disgusting system, and you are all part of it.”

Other topics covered briefly at the luncheon included Citizens property insurance, education, Obamacare and the state budget.

Following the event, several audience members made off-the-record comments about how disappointed they were to have such a one-sided panel speaking to the business community.

 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed
About Michele Kirk

Michele Kirk is a writer, editor, and field reporter for BizPac Review. Michele can be reached at michele@bizpacreview.com & @michelekirkbpr

  • Joe Budd

    Yeah real diversity of opinion on that panel… business community must be all warm and fuzzy about it. Gun control? They should probably check the facts. Significant reduction in violent crime in Florida since STAND YOUR GROUND down well above the national average.

    • RUSerious

      Joe Budd needs to fact-check his claim that violent crime has been reduced since the introduction of the 'Stand yer ground, shoot first' law was enacted. We can all be subjected to Joe's opinions, but no-one's entitled to their own facts.

  • Big Dem

    This bunch is pro-business only to the extent they see private business as a bucket of tax money waiting to be stolen and redistributed. If they say anything different to your face, thay are lying, including Abruzzo.

  • CB

    Here comes a tax from the county for driving on a federal highway paid for from fuel taxes. What will they think of next? How about a tax for mearly existing? That way we can tax the poor and homeless out of the county.

  • Joe Budd

    I'm a just the facts kind a guy… violent crime in Florida since Stand Your Ground dropped from 705.8 incidences per 100,000 of population to 519.3 per 100,000. That decline was 75% greater than the national average. All because the bad guys risk running into a good guy with a gun. Here's your fact check link: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/FSAC/Menu/Cri

  • Big Dem

    To Joe Bidd:

    In reading your retort to RUSerious you seem to have failed to recall that liberals have a penchant of accusing those who disgree with them of making up facts, especially when they have none of their own to substantiate their position. RUSerious has amply demonstrated how Progressives comment with great sarcasm and distain when faced with an opinion they dislike, then stand mute when they are proved wrong. Impervious to shame, they simply retreat and look for the next opportunity to slander those with whom they disagree. They actually could care less about truth. They are only interested in the outcome they desire and are happy to lie to achieve it under the egocentric belief they are empowered by a greater good, thus entitled to "take liberties" with the truth. It has existed since recorded time: Massive egos fueling a quest for power over others rationalized as somehow being "good." Todays liberals are simply totalitarians bent on giving unlimited power to the state.