Gov Scott touts ‘Florida Exceptionalism’ during state of the state address
Rick Scott began his second term as Governor on Tuesday by giving his fifth State of the State address. He began by praising lawmakers and outlining his plans for the future.
We all share a love for our great state, but we all have our own ideas, and we debate with vigor,” Scott said. “But I do believe it is important to acknowledge that we all have common goals for the families that live in our great state. We want every person in Florida to have the opportunity to live the dream of America. I believe we are the best place in the country and the world to make dreams come true. I call this Florida exceptionalism.”
This exceptionalism would make a good title for a speech supporting Florida secession, but that is not what the Governor is going for here, unfortunately. He went on to promote economic strides Florida has made during the past four years. Also, he highlighted tourism, international trade & bringing new companies to Florida.
““In the last four years, the unemployment rate in Florida has dropped in half – from 11.1 percent to 5.6 percent – the second biggest drop in unemployment in the United States,” Scott said. “We have added over 728,000 new private-sector jobs. We have 279,000 job openings right now in our state. In the last year, around 250,000 people moved to our state and we are now the third biggest state in the nation — bigger than New York. From 1992-2011, Florida inherited $100 billion in adjusted gross income from other states. This is more than one-eighth of our annual GDP.”
“Our investments in ports are working, with over 150,000 trade jobs added in the last four years,” Scott said. “We have also made significant investments in our airports, which has helped bring record numbers of tourists to Florida. Enterprise Florida has won over 400 competitive projects for new jobs, projects like Hertz and Navy Federal Credit Union. We are a right-to-work state. We are the gateway to Latin America. We are the No. 2 state for trade infrastructure. We are also No. 2 for aerospace and aviation establishments in the U.S. We are the second best state for business by CEO Magazine, and we will soon be No. 1.”
“We are home to over 250 languages,” Scott said. “We are at a 43-year-low in our crime rate. We are clearly the best melting pot in the world. Housing prices are up. Taxes are down. We have cut taxes more than 40 times in four years. We have no personal income tax. The average person pays about $1,800 in state taxes in Florida – the lowest in the nation. Lowest number of state workers per capita in the country – and we are going to continue to look for productivity gains. Our LLC’s and Subchapter S corporations don’t pay a business tax. Over 80 percent of our C corporations don’t pay the business tax. We have reduced taxes for our small businesses.”
“Our fourth-graders are No. 2 in the world in reading,” Scott said. “The National Council on Teacher Quality says we have the best equipped teachers in the nation for two surveys in a row. Our state colleges offer $10,000 degrees in areas where our students can get a job. When we held the line on tuition last year, the price of a Florida Prepaid Plan dropped in half.”
“Florida has long been a place where dreams come true,” Scott said. “But, this is not just our past – it is our future. We have to ask ourselves who has the next big dream for Florida? Who are the inventors? The builders? The trailblazers? We want more people to chase their dreams in Florida.”
“I want to work with you this year to pass a college affordability bill that will hold the line on graduate school tuition and bring transparency to university costs,” Scott said. “Just like any business, we should expect education to become more affordable each year, not more expensive. Let us never again say that ‘we have to raise tuition because tuition in other states is higher than ours.’ We don’t raise taxes when other states have taxes higher than ours, and we shouldn’t raise tuition when other states have higher tuition.”
“We must invest in K-12 education,” Scott said. “This year, we are recommending an increase in K-12 funding to $50 above the historic level to $7,176 per student. Four years ago, I stood before you and said we would have to make some hard decisions. And we did. We made reductions that dipped into education, knowing that when the economy improved we could invest again. Many of these decisions were unpopular, but by living within our means it created an environment for success. Few thought we could add 728,000 jobs, have the highest funding for education, and invest in our environment just four years later. But, we did it together – and we have more work to do.
“Now that our economy is thriving, it is time to make major investments in education,” Scott added. “Let’s not squander our budget surplus on special interests. Our budget should reflect the principles we campaigned on, or in other words we should do exactly what we told voters we would do.”
All nice sounding ideas, but the Governor didn’t mention the cost to schools from the children of illegal aliens, or in state tuition for illegals. Rick Scott supports giving your tax dollars to those who invade Florida, but I guess there wasn’t enough time to put that in the speech.
The last thing Scott talked about was the environment.
“Our recommended budget includes more than $3 billion for environmental and agriculture programs which includes a total of $150 million in funding to protect the Everglades and another $150 million that will help protect land for the Florida panther,” Scott said. “It is important to point out that our recommended environmental investments in land and water programs will be $82 million above what is required by Amendment 1.”
The Governor closed his speech hoping legislators could work together to achieve common goals.
“We want Florida to be the best place in the world for our children and grandchildren to live their dreams,” Scott said. “ We agree on more than we disagree on. We want to give families back more of the money they earn, and reduce the burden of government. In the weeks ahead, I expect some people will try to divide us. They will try to distract us. But …I believe we can come together with our shared desire to improve this great state.
“I commit to all of you that I will be a tireless partner in your fight to make Florida the best place in the world for all of our children and grandchildren to get a great job and live their dreams,” Scott added.
“Everything is possible in Florida,” Scott concluded. “We are now in the lead; and it’s ours to lose. We have to avoid any temptation to stand down or rest on our laurels. And of course, even with our tremendous progress, there are still some Floridians who have not yet found their opportunity. Having grown up in a family that was at times down on our luck, I know the importance of each and every family having an opportunity. Remembering those tough times drives me every day to do all I can to give each and every one of our citizens the chance to realize their dreams. Government cannot guarantee outcomes for everyone, but we should all be united in our desire to guarantee opportunities for everyone who is willing to work hard. I am looking forward to working side by side with you during session to achieve our shared goals, inspire future generations to dream, and keep Florida working.”
Like most of these types of speeches, we get bi-partisan pandering & praise of the economy. Nothing of substance of course. These folks will go on to do more of the same over the next four years. Bickering about nonsense, while agreeing on major things that most people oppose. Most politicians couldn’t care less about what people make up the nation, just as long as they get the votes. A Southern Nationalist governor would address threats to the cultural identity of Florida. He would speak out against cultural Marxism and take a real stand against the ever encroaching tentacles of Washington DC.