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.
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.