Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How governor Rick Scott created jobs and eliminated a $3.5 billion debt in Florida

This post at A View From The Right had the full transcript of the Florida governor’s recent speech at the recent “Defending the American Dream Summit”. I thought it was interesting to see what he was doing, since I have sort of been neglecting him and concentrating my attention on other Republican governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal and Mike Pence.

He inherited a bad situation from his predecessor:

In 2010, our state was in a free fall. We had lost more than 800,000 jobs during the four years before I took office. Our real estate market had collapsed. Our state debt had grown by about a billion dollars a year for two decades. And, thousands of government regulations were killing job creation.

[...]DC’s spending addiction had spread to Florida. Hard decisions had been delayed and replaced with the shortsighted policies of more debt and more spending. Florida was in a hole, and for about four years the state just kept digging.

When I took office, the bill had come due.

It was time to stop digging and climb out of the hole. We knew the only way out was to create jobs. Taxes are primarily paid by successful companies and people with jobs. In Florida, it was time to make the hard decisions to: Right-size government. Reduce spending. And pay down debt.

Here’s some of what the Scott administration has done:

I took office with a projected $3.6 billion budget gap. As we made the hard decisions to live within our means during my first year in office, there was plenty of criticism to go around. We streamlined services and targeted reforms to help businesses compete. But, we heard from the critics when we turned down stimulus funds and balanced the budget. They said, federal money was “free.” I was told to grab all the free federal money I could.

As part of our effort to reduce fraud and help families, we also passed legislation requiring drug testing for welfare recipients. The critics were mad. They said that drug testing someone applying for welfare was a violation of their rights. I disagree. Welfare is designed to support children, and parents receiving government assistance should be drug free. Illegal drug use has no place in any family. Unfortunately, this reform is still stuck in the courts. But, we will keep fighting.

To further reduce government waste, we reformed our unemployment assistance program. Federal unemployment money was pouring out of DC, but there wasn’t enough oversight in place to limit waste and abuse. We passed a law to require people on unemployment to show they were actively seeking a job every week.

And more:

I have now been in office for more than two years and we are beginning to see the results of conservative, pro-growth solutions in Florida:

*  We have turned around a four-year record of 800,000 lost jobs before I took office, and the private sector in Florida has now created nearly 370,000 jobs over the last 2 1/2 years.

*  Our unemployment rate has dropped below the national average, and Florida’s rate has had the second biggest improvement in the country.

*  We have paid off $3.5 billion in state debt.

*  We have downsized our state government workforce to the lowest level in the history of Florida. Why? Because the private sector is the engine to job creation -– not government.

*  We have eliminated more than 2,600 state regulations on job creators.

*  We paid back $3.5 billion in federal loans for re-employment assistance.

*  And, we did all this while also cutting taxes five times in three years, including: The elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment to help jump-start manufacturing investment. Continuing to roll back the business tax, so that today around 70 percent of our businesses no longer pay it. And, we cut property taxes for homeowners and businesses.

[...]*  After right-sizing government and cutting taxes, this year, we had our first budget surplus in six years. But, it gets better.

*  Just a few weeks ago, our State Revenue Estimating Conference announced that the general revenue now forecasted for 2014-2015 in Florida will be the highest ever. The highest ever.

How are they doing it? With big government spending on “stimulus” programs? No:

Working with the Florida Legislature, we have cut taxes year after year, even while forcing government to live within its means. This year, we are committed to returning even more money to the hard-working Florida families who earn it. I look forward to working with our friends in the Florida Legislature to make these tax cuts a reality.

They are cutting government spending and returning the taxes to the taxpayers. This is a good state to be in now, especially if you want to run your own business. What I liked about the speech is that he is passionate about pro-growth policies. While others seemed to be ashamed of low taxes and small government, Governor Scott is producing results and linking those good results to his conservative policies. I think that the next time we have an election, it should be about choosing the person who has proven that they know how to run an economy. Governor Scott should be in the mix. The best stimulus program is a job, and we should be picking people who have proven that they know how to create jobs.

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If you want to annoy the left, then raise your children to be like Texas senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Here’s a profile in National Review of my one of my favorite senators.

Excerpt:

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the Left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, the New York Times editorial board would have had to invent them.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea-party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2008 H.W. Brands biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a traitor to his class.

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

[...]In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded that his tea-party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.

One of the Left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a . . . Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.

Cruz hasn’t played by the Senate rules that freshmen should initially be seen and not heard. In fact, he joined the upper chamber with all the subtlety of a SWAT team knocking down a drug suspect’s front door.

For people who care about such things — almost all of them are senators — this is an unforgivable offense. At another hearing, as Cruz says that the highest commitment of senators should be to the Constitution, another senator can be heard muttering that he doesn’t like being lectured. Chairman Pat Leahy (probably the mutterer) eventually cuts him off and informs him he hasn’t been in the Senate very long.

Cruz lacks all defensiveness about his positions, another source of annoyance to his opponents, who are used to donning the mantle of both intellectual and moral superiority.

And here’s a quick review of where Ted Cruz came from:

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight’s FreedomWorks Free the People event.

Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro’s governance and President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn’t take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.

For his part in the revolution — one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country — Cruz was punished while in Cuba.

“I was in prison,” he said. “I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself — one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.

His plight in Cuba colored his American experience

“You can’t understand a loss of rights unless you’ve experienced it,” Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.

His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.

Fascinating.

Now people always complain when I say that I am trying to find a wife with the background, education, experience and temperment to raise effective, influential children. I have a whole list of influential people I want to clone, in fact. I want a William Lane Craig, a Wayne Grudem, a Michael Licona, a Guillermo Gonzales, an Ann Gauger, a Jennifer Roback Morse, a Scott Klusendorf, a Mark Regnerus, and… a Ted Cruz. And I’ve saved the money to be able to get at least a few of those, too. The truth is that I had some of the experiences that Cruz’s father had, and if he can make a Ted Cruz, then so should I be able to. They have to come from somewhere!

Now of course it’s hard to guarantee outcomes when it comes to raising children, but there are some things you can prepare for. You can study things you hate that are hard, and save your money for Ph.D tuition. You can go to grad school yourself and publish research. You can look for a wife who shows the ability to nurture people so that they get better and rise higher. And maybe, you might just raise the next Ted Cruz. I think the old adage “if you aim at nothing, then you will surely hit it” is a good saying for marriage. If you are going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of your life into a marriage, then you should aim at something. You might hit it. You’re not just there to make another person feel good – you’re there to make the marriage serve God. Raising influential, effective children is one way of doing that. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And it isn’t necessarily going to be “fun”.

By the way, my Canadian readers might like to know that Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta – the most conservative city in Canada. And it shows. You guys up north still have your Stephen Harper and your Ezra Levant, but we took your Ted Cruz and your Mark Steyn. We need them more than you do!

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Ted Cruz wins Texas Republican Senate primary election 56-44

CNBC reports on another Tea Party primary victory.

Excerpt:

Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz scored a stunning upset over a longtime Texas state officeholder in a Republican U.S. Senate primary runoff on Tuesday, transforming Cruz into a national conservative star and marking a resurgence of the movement to shrink the size of U.S. government.

Cruz, 41, a former state solicitor general who has never held elected office, became the third insurgent Republican this year to defeat an establishment Republican in a U.S. Senate primary.

He scored a surprisingly comfortable victory with about 56 percent of the vote to about 44 percent for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who a year ago was considered the frontrunner.

[...]Cruz spent a year and a half crisscrossing the state, introducing himself at Tea Party meetings and Republican women’s club gatherings as a “constitutional conservative.”

And he drew support from conservative stars such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and money from national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth. That group’s political action committee spent $5.5 million to support Cruz, the organization said.

Cruz, whose father came to Texas from Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear, would become the first Hispanic U.S. senator from Texas if he wins in November.

Dewhurst and Cruz had similar policy positions. Both pledged to do away with President Barack Obama’s health care reform and to rein in Washington spending.

Cruz, a Princeton University debate champion and a Harvard Law School graduate, stood out with sharp debate performances.

This is the third big Tea Party victory in a Republican primary. Richard Mourdock beat Richard Lugar in Indiana and Deb Fischer beat Jon Bruning in Nebraska. You can read more about Ted Cruz here.

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Tea Party conservatives and social conservatives endorse Ted Cruz in Texas primary

Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz

Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz

There is a Republican primary on Tuesday for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate seat, and my candidate is Ted Cruz. Tea Party leader Sarah Palin recently endorsed him.

Excerpt:

Sarah Palin told a cheering crowd late Friday that America needs to get back to its “clinging to God and guns” roots, as the tea pea party’s biggest names made a series of last-minute, high-profile appearances around Texas to support insurgent conservative U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.

The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate spoke to more than 1,000 boisterous and sweating Cruz supporters gathered under a mercilessly early-evening sun on a grassy knoll in The Woodlands, a well-to-do Houston suburb. She told them that “to make America great, we don’t need a fundamental transformation, we need a fundamental restoration.”

“Fighters like Ted Cruz can lead the charge for us,” Palin said.

Cruz, the former Texas Solicitor General, is locked in a fierce and increasingly nasty battle with the mainstream Texas GOP choice, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The pair face a runoff Tuesday because neither won a majority in a nine-Republican senatorial field during the state’s May 29 primary.

The conservative Club For Growth is backing Ted Cruz:

And social conservative leader James Dobson likes Ted Cruz, too.

Excerpt:

Today, we are excited to announce that national pro-life, family values leader Dr. James Dobson is endorsing our Senate campaign.

In his endorsement announcement, Dr. Dobson said: “I’m pleased to endorse Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate because he’s exactly the kind of candidate we need to turn this country around. Religious freedom is under assault every day. We need leaders with the courage to stand strong for conservative values in this battle. Ted Cruz is such a leader—one who will not only vote his convictions in the Senate, but will also lead the fight to defend life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.”

Dr. Dobson added: “Ted Cruz stands out among conservative leaders across the country today. He has a consistent record of standing up for faith, family, and freedom, and winning values battles on a national level….I urge all Texans who love life, family, faith, and freedom to not only vote for Ted Cruz, but to work hard for his campaign.”

Even moderate conservative George Will thinks that Republican candidate Ted Cruz is the man to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas.

Excerpt:

For a conservative Texan seeking national office, it could hardly get better than this: In a recent 48-hour span, Ted Cruz, a candidate for next year’s Republican Senate nomination for the seat being vacated by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, was endorsed by the Club for Growth PAC, FreedomWorks PAC, talk-radio host Mark Levin and Erick Erickson of RedState.com.

For conservatives seeking reinforcements for Washington’s too-limited number of limited-government constitutionalists, it can hardly get better than this: Before he earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude (and helped found the Harvard Latino Law Review) and clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz’s senior thesis at Princeton — his thesis adviser was professor Robert George, one of contemporary conservatism’s intellectual pinups — was on the Constitution’s Ninth and 10th amendments. Then as now, Cruz argued that these amendments, properly construed, would buttress the principle that powers not enumerated are not possessed by the federal government.

[...]At age 14, Cruz’s father fought with rebels (including Fidel Castro) against Cuba’s dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Captured and tortured, at 18 he escaped to America with $100 sewn in his underwear. He graduated from the University of Texas and met his wife — like him, a mathematician — with whom he founded a small business processing seismic data for the oil industry.

By the time Ted Cruz was 13, he was winning speech contests sponsored by a Houston free-enterprise group that gave contestants assigned readings by Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. In his early teens he traveled around Texas and out of state giving speeches. At Princeton, he finished first in the 1992 U.S. National Debate Championship and North American Debate Championship.

As Texas’s solicitor general from 2003 to 2008, Cruz submitted 70 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has, so far, argued nine cases there. He favors school choice and personal investment accounts for a portion of individuals’ Social Security taxes. He supports the latter idea with a bow to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said such accounts enable the doorman to build wealth the way the people in the penthouse do.

Regarding immigration, Cruz, 40, demands secure borders and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants but echoes Ronald Reagan’s praise of legal immigrants as “Americans by choice,” people who are “crazy enough” to risk everything in the fundamentally entrepreneurial act of immigrating.

You can find out more about Ted Cruz on his positions page. I was interested in his stance on social issues, in particular.

Excerpt:

Ted Cruz has fought to protect innocent human life. He played a leading role in several important cases, including defense of the partial-birth abortion ban, parental consent laws, and prohibiting state funds from going to abortion. These cases have all been part of the ongoing effort to ensure that every child in America  receives the protection and respect he or she deserves.

  • Authored an amicus brief for 13 states, successfully defending the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The ban was upheld 5-4 before the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • Authored an amicus brief for 18 states, successfully defending the New Hampshire parental notification law. The law was upheld 9-0 before the U.S. Supreme Court [note: this brief was awarded the Best Brief Award from the National Association of Attorneys General for U.S. Supreme Court briefs written in 2005-06];
  • Successfully defended Texas’s Rider 8, which prohibits state funds for groups that provide abortions, winning unanimously before the Fifth Circuit court of appeals.

Ted Cruz has worked hard in defense of traditional marriage, including his intervention in a case protecting Texas marriage laws. In addition, he has fought on the federal level to defend marriage between one man and one woman as the fundamental building block of society.

  • When a Beaumont state court granted a divorce to two homosexual men who had gotten a civil union in Vermont, Cruz, under the leadership of Attorney General Greg Abbott, intervened in defense of the marriage laws of the State of Texas, which successfully led to the court judgment being vacated;
  • Worked with Attorney General Abbott to send a letter to Congress in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

He has a solid recordconservative policies on that page: energy production, voter fraud prevention, border security, legal firearm ownership – you name it, this guy has been fighting for conservative principles. Like Michele Bachmann, he has actually tried to do pro-life and pro-marriage things. We don’t just have to take his word for it, he has the actions to prove his words.

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Mitt Romney raised taxes by $740 million while he was governor of Massachusetts

Deroy Murdock explains in this Scripps Howard News Service article.

Excerpt:

Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarry full of skepticism.

In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globe reports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and only approved an $85 million increase.

“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Boston Science Corporation chairman Peter Nicholas explained in the January 6, 2008 Boston Herald. Also, Romney raised the tax on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts from 5.3 percent to 9.9 percent — an 85 percent hike.

“Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations,” the Council on State Taxation’s Joseph Crosby complained.

Romney also created or increased fees by $432 million. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 fees. Romney charged more for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), a used-car sales tax ($10 million), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.

While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day, tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for signing $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and legislators rejected.

“Romney did not even fight higher death-tax rates,” notes former California State Assembly Minority Whip Steve Baldwin, a Romney critic. “When the (Massachusetts) legislature considered this issue, Romney’s official position was ‘no position.’ This echoed Barack Obama’s ‘present’ votes in the Illinois State Senate.”

As Romney drained his constituents’ pockets, the Public Policy Institute of New York’s Cost of Doing Business Index rated Massachusetts in 2006 as America’s fourth costliest state in which to practice free enterprise. The Tax Foundation dropped Massachusetts from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to No. 36. The Tax Foundation also calculated that, under Romney, Massachusetts’ per-capita tax burden increased from 9.3 percent to 9.9 percent. In real dollars, the Romney-era per-capita tax burden grew by $1,175.71.

As if impoverishing his own taxpayers were not bad enough, Romney’s March 5, 2003 signature raised taxes on non-residents retroactive to that January 1. Perpetrating taxation without representation, Romney’s law declared that, “gross income derived from… any trade or business, including any employment,” would be taxable, “regardless of the taxpayer’s residence or domicile in the year it is received.”

Consequently, according to data furnished by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, between 2002 and 2006, New Hampshire residents who work or do business in the Bay State shipped Massachusetts $95 million above what they paid when Romney arrived. The average tax paid by New Hampshirities to Massachusetts grew by 19.1 percent, from $2,392 in 2002 to $2,850 in 2006.

Romney has a pro-abortion record and pro-gay-marriage record. Not only did he pass Romneycare in Massachusetts, but now we know that he also raised taxes. Why is he running as a Republican? I don’t see anything in his record that would cause me to believe that he is a Republican.

You can see Mitt Romney explaining all of his liberal views in his own words in these videos.

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