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Governor's Appointed Task Force Begins Discussing Reopening Florida’s Economy

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a protective face mask during a news conference at the Urban League of Broward County, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Lynne Sladky
/
Associated Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a protective face mask during a news conference at the Urban League of Broward County, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A task force appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to figure out how best to reopen Florida’s economy.

Gov. DeSantis convened his “Reopen Florida Task Force” for the first time Monday via a conference call, where Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson told task force members there’s a lot at stake.

“There’s 3.4 million jobs in Florida that are at risk, and that’s out of just over 10 million jobs in Florida,” he said.

Wilson said Florida will have to take a very surgical approach to reopening its economy due to four main factors:

  • 20% of the state’s tax receipts come from tourism.
  • 79% of the state’s general revenue comes from sales and use taxes.
  • 21% of the state’s population is 65 or older.
  • Hurricane season, which begins June 1, is fast approaching.

“This is an unprecedented event,” said Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“Our rural counties in Florida, they’re going to have a more difficult time coming back,” he went on to say.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Parrish also pointed to lower income households as being particularly vulnerable.

“The probability that they’ll be in some of these jobs that are high contact is higher, and therefore the job loss is certainly going to affect them,” he explained. “So I hope the task force will take those groups into account.”

Monday’s inaugural meeting was largely organizational, with commentary on the state’s response thus far coming from DeSantis and various department heads.

The task force is scheduled to meet twice on Tuesday - once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

Members of the Re-Open Florida Task Force Executive Committee are:

  • Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida
  • Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
  • Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
  • President Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate
  • Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
  • Senator Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate
  • Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
  • Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
  • Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
  • Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
  • Mayor Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
  • Mayor David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
  • John Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital
  • Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets
  • Syd Kitson, Chairman, Board of Governors for the State University System
  • Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial
  • Alex Sanchez, President & CEO, Florida Bankers Association
  • Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
  • John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts
  • Patrick Sunderlin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Joe York, President, AT&T Florida and Caribbean

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.