Senate President Bill Galvano has big plans for the 2019 Legislative session.
Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has an ambitious agenda to tackle in the upcoming Legislative session, which starts March 5.
But speaking at the Argus Foundation annual meeting Tuesday, Galvano, a Bradenton attorney, had a clear message for the Sarasota-Bradenton business community about taking care of his backyard. “I’m Senate President, and that’s a statewide role,” says Galvano. “But I’m still parochial. I still care about this area.”
The Argus Foundation, based in Sarasota, is a nonprofit organization that promotes pro-business policies. In addition to Galvano’s speech, Argus Executive Director Christine Robinson introduced the 2019 President, Keith Mercier, a longtime area insurance executive and Florida West Coast President of CBIZ.
Galvano, meanwhile, gave a broad overview of what he expects from the upcoming Session, including addressing water quality issues and red tide causes and solutions. Funding and new programs are on the agenda. “Whatever we do,” he says, “it will be science based.”
• Galvano, in answering a question on the business rent tax, which has been lowered incrementally for two years, says “if we can (eliminate) it in one fell swoop, that’s what I’d like to do.” The tax, the only levy on commercial leases in the country, was trimmed from 6% to 5.8% in 2017, and to 5.7% in 2018;
• The state budget will be around the same as 2018, Galvano says, around $87 billion. “The main focus,” he says, “is to do what we always do: be good fiscal stewards of your money.”
• Echoing a speech he gave in Tallahassee, Galvano says civility among lawmakers, regardless of party, will be at the forefront. “We share the common goal of moving away from gamesmanship,” he says. “We need to bring honor and respect back to government.”
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