|Florida Legislative Session
and State of the State Preview
Next week, I will be delivering the annual State of the State address where I will outline my vision for Florida in 2012. Over the past year, our state has had many significant accomplishments. We are a nationwide leader in decreasing our unemployment rate — which has dropped by two percentage points since last January. In addition, Florida ranks third in the nation for job growth, creating 120,200 jobs in 2011. It is clear Florida is moving in the right direction, and I am confident we will continue to make positive strides in 2012.
This year, we are going to continue our focus on education, jobs and keeping the cost of living low for all Floridians. While our economy show signs of improvement, we must still address a budget deficit. We are going to balance our budget with no new taxes and no new debt, and while it’s going to be tough, I am committed to making sure we put another $1 billion into education and save money in our Medicaid system.
For the upcoming legislative session, I have three main priorities. First, I want to help continue to add jobs to Florida. Late last year, I unveiled my 2012 Job Creation & Economic Growth Agenda. This plan focuses on removing the barriers to both new and growing businesses in Florida. With these changes, we can continue on the path we began last year and bring more jobs to Florida. Prioritizing vital transportation projects, like preparing our ports for increased trade, will help facilitate important economic development opportunities.
Next, I want to keep the cost of living low in our state. We can achieve this goal by reforming rising insurance rates caused by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) automobile insurance fraud. We must protect Florida consumers and curb skyrocketing insurance costs.
My third main focus is ensuring that Florida’s children have access to a world-class education. Education has always been one of my top priorities, and I understand that ensuring an excellent university system will generate a workforce prepared to compete in the global marketplace and meet the demands of the 21st century. It is essential Florida becomes a long-term resource for companies to find the best educated employees.
Last year I traveled the state meeting with educators, parents and students, and they told me that in spite of the education shortfall we face, our top priority in this budget should be state funding for K-12 education. To that end, I will not sign any budget into law that doesn’t contain more state dollars for education than we had last year. The budget I submitted to the Legislature is the third largest amount of state K-12 funding in Florida history.
I was elected Governor to turn our economy around and get Florida back to work, and we are certainly headed in the right direction. Please share your comments about my plans for 2012 or any of your ideas for our great state by emailing me at Rick.Scott.
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