Bay County's Chamber of Commerce has big things planned for 2018

Published: Oct. 18, 2017 at 6:22 PM CDT
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The Bay County Chamber of Commerce has released its 2018 legislative agenda, including a variety of local, state and federal items.

"There's things at all levels that affect our community," Bay County

Chamber of Commerce President Carol Roberts said.

One of the key items on the list is reducing business rent tax. According to chamber officials, Florida is the only state in the country that has a tax on business leases.

"During the last legislative session, there was a reduction in it, but we want to totally eliminate it," Roberts said.

"Any reduction would be good. My hope would be to eliminate it all the way around but anything they can get down. That sales tax on a commercial lease is an absolute drag," Business Owner Brad Stephens said.

"Another item that's critical to our businesses is workers comp. If the cost of doing business goes up, they have to reduce their employment roles," Roberts said.

The agenda also touches on items regarding tourism and the military.

"Federally, for example, is the off-shore drilling issue. No drilling within the military mission line. That asset out there for military training is key to the existence of the military," Roberts said.

Other items on the agenda include fishing regulations, Panama City Marina redevelopment progress and funding for Port Panama City's East Terminal project.

"It's very important to both Port Authority and to the WestRock Company that we get deeper water in the channel to the east terminal. The Port Authority is making a significant investment there and needs to have deeper water for those facilities to be attractive in the future," Port Panama City Executive Director Wayne Stubbs said.

Bringing STEM and engineering programs to local colleges is also on the list, among many other priorities.

Chamber officials will be traveling to Tallahassee to present their agenda November 8th.