State CFO Roundtables in Panama City

The man who could be Florida's next governor was here in Panama City Tuesday to hear the concerns of small business owners.

Tom Gallagher is Florida's Chief Financial Officer and considered a strong contender for the 2006 GOP gubernatorial nomination.

He met Tuesday with a half dozen local business owners and officials to hear what state government can do to solve the problems of the small business owner.

Workers Compensation, Gallagher said, is finally becoming cheaper, due to tougher enforcement. Gallagher acknowledged there are problems getting business property insurance.

There were 1.6 million damage claims from last year’s four hurricanes. Gallagher says 94 percent of those have been satisfied.

The state’s CFO has held several of these type roundtable discussions around the state and he says there's a central theme.

"Primarily they want Tallahassee to stay out of their business. I think they have a good point there. Jobs are created in the field. They are not created in Tallahassee, Florida. Government doesn't create jobs, private industry does. "

The ever growing cost of providing employee insurance was another hot topic at Tuesday’s roundtable in Panama City.