Hillsborough businesses hear the latest from Republican U.S. Representatives

08/11/11 Josh Holton
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As Hillsborough County businesses are looking for a way out of the economic hardships facing the country, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce invited local businesses to their membership luncheon today, where some local legislators updated the chamber on the latest from congress.

While the nation struggles to reach compromise in the tenuous political climate, local business owners with the Brandon were mainly interested in a Republican perspective for economic solutions. Representatives Dennis Ross and Gus Bilirakis answered questions from the media and business leaders, and said that government should get out of the way.

Both Ross and Bilirakis opposed new taxes, but Ross said that closing some tax loopholes, including government pay for corporate jets, would be on the table.

As always jobs creation is a major priority for Republicans. Many progressives are promoting some government programs, like a renewed Civilian Conservation Corps, that would put unemployed veterans back to work. With 20% of veterans out of work, Gus Bilirakis said he might consider such programs.

A major goal for Republicans is removing excessive regulations on business, but some folks are wary when the environmental protection and public health take a back seat to profits. While groups like the Sierra Club demand stronger water quality standards in Florida to reduce harmful phosphorus levels Bilirakis says environmentalists are hurting business.

Bilirakis says the EPA should promote safety. But environmentalists say phosphorous runoff causes toxic algae blooms, which they say are tougher to clean up than to prevent. But Bilirakis says he thinks the water quality isn’t so bad.

Richard Budell, the Director of Agriculture and Consumer Services for Florida, testified that the new rule could cost nearly a billion dollars, but EPA administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming estimated the new rule will cost each household about 11 cents for clean water, totaling only one to two hundred million dollars.

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