Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Friday, August 8, 2008

Miami Herald: Amendment 2 bad for South Florida business

Amendment 2 bad for South Florida business

I'm a ''glass-is-half-full'' kind of guy. The way I see it, there are few places in the

nation that for decades have offered, and continue to offer, the opportunities for business growth coupled with the superior lifestyle we enjoy here in South Florida. That being said, our state currently is facing major challenges in regard to job growth, real estate, education and other key issues. The way we tackle those challenges will determine our well-being for years to come.

The solutions to our current problems will be determined by responsible public policy and an intelligent vision for the future that lights the way for private investment in our state. South Florida, and the state as a whole, must be able to attract new businesses as well as the best and brightest talent necessary to assure those businesses will succeed.

A proposed amendment to Florida's constitution on the November ballot could adversely impact our business development efforts. Florida Amendment 2, the so-called marriage protection amendment that seeks to define marriage as ''the legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife'' and states that ''no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized'' is an example of unnecessary government intrusion in people's personal lives that could diminish Florida's ability to attract businesses to expand or relocate here.


If passed, Amendment 2 could make companies and municipalities that currently offer benefits to unmarried employees the targets of legal action. It could damage morale among current employees and dissuade new job candidates from moving here. The Florida Legislature's Office of Economic & Demographic Research, which looks at the economic impact of political amendments on Floridians, cautions that the proposed amendment may result in higher costs of providing public services and benefits and increased litigation costs.

On the educational front, Amendment 2 could impede hiring efforts at the state's colleges and universities, thus contributing to the alarming ''brain drain'' already underway.

Faced with extensive fall-out from the housing bubble, challenges to our educational systems on every level and the need to create long-range policies for transportation and the environment, among other crucial issues, we must ask ourselves what can be gained by supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage that may have many unintended consequences.

Companies considering expansion or relocation to South Florida want to know about market demographics, education, business opportunities, tax structure, incentives, cost of land and a host of other important facts that impact their bottom line. They look for critical information that Florida is a superior place to live, work and do business.


I've lived in Miami for 50 years, and I'm as certain as ever before that we will keep our perch as one of the most desirable places in the nation to do business. By defeating Amendment 2 in November and focusing instead on positive business development efforts, we send a clear message to potential new businesses that this is the place where they want to be.

Hank Klein is executive director for business development, Cushman & Wakefield in Miami. He is past chairman of Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, immediate past vice chair of Miami-Dade College Board of Trustees and on the boards of Goodwill Industries, Dade Community Foundation and the Performing Arts Center Trust.

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