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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT….Gainesville Sun Op-Ed by CFO Jimmy Patronis: “Let’s get Florida working”

“Let’s get Florida working”
By: Jimmy Patronis (Guest Columnist)
Gainesville Sun
October 16, 2020
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Just weeks ago, folks in Tallahassee got some bad, although not unexpected news. According to the state revenue experts, over the next two years Florida is going to be short over $5 billion as a result of COVID-19.
While there is some good news, and we’ve already seen signs of a recovery as the state’s unemployment rate begins to drop, if we hope to balance the budget it will be up to us to act with urgency in right-sizing state government while helping the private sector get back on its feet. That’s why I’m committed to prioritizing liability protections for the upcoming legislative session.
The first principle is encouraging businesses to do right by their employees and customers through taking steps to fight the spread of COVID-19. When I travel the state, I see business owners doing the right things: They’re wearing masks, they’re cleaning their facilities, they’re making sanitizer available to the public and they’re encouraging social distancing.
The second principle is keeping liability protections consistent and simple. In my years in the Legislature, many times I’ve seen everyone agree on something and then rewrite a bill to give someone a leg up or punish another group. We can’t allow a politics-as-usual to succeed when there is such urgency to get our economy back on its feet.
My third and final principle is making sure justice comes before exorbitant legal fees. No doubt, there are some businesses that are indifferent as to who gets hurt by the coronavirus, and they should rightfully face consequences. All it takes, however, is a few activist judges to open the floodgates to predatory attorneys who will target businesses — even if those businesses are trying their best and what’s right. As the Legislature deliberates, let’s figure out a way to make sure the only reason to bring a COVID lawsuit is justice — not attorneys’ fees.
Let’s support the men and women that make our state great and let them do what they do best — get Florida working.
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