Florida Governor Rick Scott made a clear and significant departure from his past during his State of the State address. Given on the first day of the legislative session, Scott told Florida lawmakers and the public that he supports that section of “Obamacare” as it relates to Medicaid funding in Florida.
During a somewhat jumbled, but personal recollection of his formative years with his late mother, Scott used their personal financial hard times as a major factor in his decision to take the Federal Medicaid funding, by saying “I cannot in good conscience deny the uninsured access to care.”
While that explanation of his 180 degree turn around on this Obamacare item met with wild applause from the Democrats in the House and Senate, Republicans mostly sat on their hands.
The Governor also spent a great deal of his message on the subject of education. Front and center is his determination to give teachers in Florida a $2,500 “pay raise” as he called it. $1.2 billion dollars in funding for K-12 education marks the highest state funding level in Florida history according to Scott. He asked for legislative help in moving this agenda.
The proposal was not met with a great deal of enthusiasm. Although discussed with legislative leaders, this idea was not endorsed by them. Teachers’ union officials in the state appreciate any increase in pay, but are not so sure of the price tag or the legislative maneuvers necessary to get the money.
Despite the fact that Florida has a budget surplus this year instead of a deficit, House and Senate Leaders are not receiving the Governor’s wish list as a “must do” list.
Next the Governor put forth the idea of removing the sales tax from manufactured goods. Another tax reduction, another source of revenue deleted. This continues along the well worn gubernatorial line that reads: lower taxes equal more jobs. This was coupled with the Governor’s continuing quest to remove the business tax from small businesses (and in effect all businesses) before he leaves office.
Missing from Governor Scott’s address was any indication that the 700,000 job pledge that he ran on will become reality before the 2014 election campaign begins. According to numbers quoted in “The Buzz” column of the Tampa Bay Times, in 2012 Scott’s policies have cut more jobs than he created. 7,800 private sector jobs can be attributed to his efforts, while he cut 9,600 jobs from state government.
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