Governor Rick Scott’s Florida First Recommended Budget
Introduction from Governor Rick Scott
We are truly blessed to live in the great state of Florida and there are so many reasons to brag about all of the exciting achievements happening here.
In less than five years, our hardworking businesses have created almost one million jobs, and because of this tremendous economic growth,
we have been able to invest more in areas that are important to Florida families. I am proud that by working with the Florida Legislature,
we have made historic investments in our education system, our transportation system, and our environment.
The economic prosperity that we see all across our state was not the reality in 2011 when I took office. Families were losing jobs, foreclosures were up and businesses were closing. We have worked too hard to grow jobs and turn our economy around to ever go back to double-digit unemployment should another national recession hit again. We must diversify our economy and support small business so we can survive any economic downturn. We know the national economy is cyclical and we have a choice this year to focus on diversification and job creation to make Florida First.
Our Florida First budget cuts taxes by $1 billion to grow our manufacturing industry and help Florida small businesses while further diversifying the economy. Included in our tax cut proposal is the elimination of the tax on business income for Florida manufacturers and all Florida retailers, which include many small businesses across the state. We are also cutting the tax businesses pay on their commercial leases which unfairly targets small businesses. Florida is home to half a million small businesses which are undoubtedly the lifeblood of our economy. The Florida First budget invests in job creators that are on the front lines of diversifying our economy and the creation of jobs. When small businesses keep more of their money as a result of lower taxes, they buy more equipment, spend more on research and marketing, and hire more employees.
We know that cutting taxes alone will not be enough to diversify our economy and allow Florida to overtake our number one competitor, Texas, to become first in job creation. That is why I am proposing to create the new Florida Enterprise Fund so we can diversify Florida’s economy, support small business, and compete against Texas.
I know there will be some critics who say we cannot afford to cut taxes by $1 billion while also creating a one-time $250 million trust fund for economic incentives. But, I want to be clear on the numbers. Our state’s economy is growing by over 2.7 percent, which means our state general revenues are up by $1.3 billion. In fact, total general revenues exceed this year’s recurring budget by $3.4 billion.
When I talk to business owners, the number one thing they ask about when considering moving jobs to our state is our education system. If we are going to become first in job growth, Florida must be home to the most talented workforce in the world. That’s why the Florida First budget continues our commitment to providing teachers and students the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and invests historic amounts of funding in our K-12 education system, state colleges and universities.
We are also investing in a competitive grant program at our technical centers because these institutions train students to get a great career with only a year of education. And, we are investing in our teachers by partnering with high-tech businesses across the state to give educators a paid-summer internship so they can bring new industry trends back to the classroom. We want businesses to know that Florida has the most skilled workforce in the world and that we are ready to immediately fill jobs in high-demand fields.
For too long, Florida’s economy relied on tourism and construction. Unfortunately, as we saw with the national recession in 2008, that is not enough to sustain Florida’s economy during tough times. I grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet and I know how hard it is when families cannot get a job. I want families in our state to have the opportunity to put food on the table and provide for their children. And I don’t want people to leave our state when times are tough.
Just like any proud grandparent, I want my grandchildren to stay here in Florida and live their dreams. We have to make our state the destination for jobs for future generations. The Florida First budget cuts taxes and makes important investments in our communities that will help us become first in the country for jobs, so we can help all Floridians have success during both good and bad times in the years ahead.
Governor Rick Scott