State Representative Rachel Burgin was welcomed to the Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting by President, Lori Libhart. Burgin gave an insightful and in depth discussion of 2012 Legislative Session.
Earlier this month, State Representative Rachel Burgin was the featured speaker at the Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting. Burgin gave an informative and interesting run down on the 2012 Florida Legislative Session which ended in March.
Burgin explained that the Legislature focused on two primary areas: The budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013 and redistricting. Burgin is also proud to be Convention Representative for the area when the Republican National Convention comes to Tampa in August.
During this session, the Legislature passed a $70 billion balanced budget. Burgin said, “We cannot spend what we do not have.” Burgin added, “Many difficult decisions were made, but we were able to pass a budget which provides for more money to schools without raising taxes.” In addition, the state retained its AAA bond rating, which helps to keep interest rates and taxes low.
Burgin also explained the redistricting process and said, “For the first time, the Brandon, Seffner and Valrico areas will have their own representative.” This is important as the needs for the area differ greatly from those faced by residents in the city of Tampa. However, the map still must pass the Florida Supreme Court.
More than 2,052 bills were filed but only 292 bills passed. Burgin called this, “A light year.” Legislation which affects residents of the area include PIP reform, job creation bills which provide tax refunds and incentives to businesses, reduced regulation and creation of a three-day tax holiday.
Burgin discussed the situation involving USF and how the area’s Representatives and Senators worked hard to achieve an amicable agreement on the budget and the split with USF Poly University. All students currently enrolled will be able to graduate from USF, and USF was not disproportionately affected by budget cuts.
Additionally, $10.5 billion from cigarette tax was designated to Moffitt Cancer Center for research and treatment of cancer. The Port of Tampa, one of the area’s largest economic engines, was also designated a significant amount of money for reconstruction over the next several years.
Lori Libhart, president of the Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce said, “It is important for business owners to stay aware of legislative and legal issues as they impact the overall business environment.”
To review the complete budget, please visit www.myfloridahouse.gov and search HB 5001. Burgin’s office can be reached by calling 655-3742.