National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Florida state director Bill Herrle said he is happy to hear of Florida's high ranking in a recent report on the nation's business climate.
In CNBC's 2019 America's "Top States for Business," Florida ranks 12th in the country.
"I’m glad the study was done and I was pleased to hear where Florida was," Herrle said in an interview with The Florida Record. "My overall take on it is that there is an awful lot to crow about the Florida economy. Our economy is red hot."
Herrle said NFIB's small business owner members' biggest problem is delivering on all the business that is available.
"That usually gets articulated in the form of 'find us some workers,' and 'find us some employees,' and that goes up and down the labor spectrum, from high-skilled workers to entry-level workers," Herrle said. "It’s the most common concern I hear from my Florida members lately."
He added that he was curious how litigation and regulation were lumped into one category in the report.
"I certainly would’ve liked to have seen that separated out," Herrle said. "I think that Florida's leadership and legislative leaders have taken a very serious knife toward unnecessary regulations." He noted that if litigation and regulation were separated, regulation would have received a higher score, where litigation would have received a somewhat lower score.
NFIB recently released a study on the regulatory costs of litigation in Florida that found there is $7.6 billion in direct annual costs from litigation in the state economy, Herrle said.
"That’s a big number," he said. "Can something be done about that? We know all lawsuits are not frivolous. We’re asking people in a time of a very good economy, let’s take a look at friction costs."
Herrle said Floridians do not have a regulation-prone government in Tallahassee, nor do they want one.
"You don’t just get a bill filed involving regulation without some people really raising some eyebrows at you," he said. "The political culture in Florida tries to keep regulation at a minimum whenever possible."
The state director said next year NFIB plans to to recommend a new piece of legislation involving third party litigation financing.
"A lot of people hear that word and think of the small-town attorney taking on a mega-corporation," Herrle said." The real story is that this is starting to happen in garden-variety litigation. It’s very unknown to the average voter that in some courtrooms there is a plaintiff and a defendant, but also some parties there that are not even in the room that have a financial interest in the outcome of that litigation"
He said those third parties are essentially gambling on Florida's justice system.
"When more Floridians find out about this, we believe they’ll have a very repugnant reaction," Herrle said. "At the very least, we are asking the legislature to pull back the blinds on this. The legislature could very well take a look at simply prohibiting this because we think this is repulsive to the average voter."
Herrle said these third parties are only there for personal financial interest, adding, "They weren’t an injured party or the accused. They just want a piece of the action. I don’t think that’s what our justice system should be about."
Florida received a "B" rating in business friendliness, a "B+" in both economy and infrastructure and an "A" in access to capital.