Petrogram - Winter 2009 - (Page 17)

Enviro CORNER Winning in Today’s Environment Change Is the Only Constant he downward spiral of the global economy has caused dramatic and negative economic and financial changes across the United States and is forecasted to continue into the foreseeable future. The state of Florida’s finances have been torn apart by the strong winds of a Irv Heath financial hurricane that has no name. The economic effects of these hurricane-like changes have impacted all of us – both personally and professionally. The following hurricane-like facts are not a secret but are the result of the negative downward pressures that resulted in the Inland Protection Trust Fund (IPTF) and others being swept by the legislators. This fund was specially set up for the purpose of remediating petroleum contamination sites in Florida. However, due to extreme financial pressure and the need for other program funding, more than $200 million was taken from the IPTF, and another $10 million in debt was added to service $90 million in bond funding. There were many factors that contributed to the raiding of this trust, and those factors continue to negatively impact revenues for Florida and present the real threat that this trust may be swept again in the near future. Negative changes include the continuing growth of unemployment in Florida that hovers around 10 percent – even excluding those who have stopped seeking employment. These unemployment numbers resulted in not only lost jobs but an increase in foreclosures that placed Florida, at one time, among the top three states in foreclosures, with a rate of 3.1 percent of all homes in foreclosure. These and other factors such as (for the first time) 60,000 people leaving Florida each month rather than coming into the state resulted in further erosion of revenues that would help the state and protect the IPTF. Florida Tax Watch reported that the General Revenue Estimating Conference reported revenues were down $147 million this year, and they were already projecting another $44 million next year. They are also forecasting that fiscal year 2009-2010 will mark the fourth consecutive year that Florida’s General Revenue Collections will decrease from one year to the next. This is remarkable because this year-to-year revenue drop has never happened in Florida before this four-year stretch. While we understand the need for funding education, health care and other state programs, we must also come together as marketers and environmental support contractors to spread the word and protect the waters and citizens of Florida. Although change T is the only constant in life, and this economic cycle will eventually end; our joint efforts and increased communications with the legislators is critical to our success. This is true because there are many negative and unknown individual hardships that occur when the IPTF is swept or limited funding results in a start-andstop approach for program funding. Many businesses must close or lay off staff, stop clean-up activities or delay real estate transactions when their financial demands are increased as program costs are incurred. Equipment sits idle without needed maintenance and is left to rust in the heat and rain. To counter the changes these challenges impose, we must ask ourselves, “What can I do differently to prevent what has occurred before from happening again?” We must understand that we can influence and determine what changes occur, and together we must take action. We have heard the ways other states reacted to this economic hurricane, actions we hope Florida will not be forced to consider. California issued IOUs to meet future debts; Arizona plans to sell and lease back state buildings to generate $75 million in needed cash; New Jersey plans to lease its turnpike toll roads; and others are doing whatever is necessary to survive the current challenges. Some Florida high schools are even trying to grow revenues by leasing out signage on their school properties e and athletic jerseys. Together we have developed information and ed implemented several programs to get the message o out in order to avoid having the IPTF swept e again in 2010. Remember, together we gether can positively impact this decision and on manage the one constant in our lives: change. We can do this s when we accept the responsibility to Adopt a Legislator and contact him or her to share our message, with our goal of protecting the waters and citizens zens of Florida. That message is: Do not sweep the IPTF. We must act now! Feel free to contact o me for additional information. ❍ Irv Heath is president of HCR, SE, LLC. Irv , is also the vice chair of the FPMA Environmental Committee. You can contact Irv at or 352-735-1800. 2-735-1800. Petrogram | Winter 2009 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Winter 2009

Petrogram - Winter 2009
President’s Perspective
2010 FPMA Patron Members
Enviro Corner
Danger Ahead: Hometown Democracy
Out & About the Industry
Insurance Issues
Drop and Swap, Fishing and Dogs
Barrister’s Counsel
Index of Advertisers/

Petrogram - Winter 2009