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Economist: Florida schools need help if economy going to get stronger

With the economy in the pits these days, there's increasing talk of hope on the horizon with Florida so focused on building its knowledge and technology based "innovation economy." Nice talk and good jargon but a recent report from economist Tony Villamil, the former advisor to Gov. Jeb Bush and current advisor to the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, says it's time for more than just talk.

''We talk the talk but we're not walking the walk,'' he said. ``When I see the governor say we're going to increase education by $1 billion and the Legislature says we're going to cut education half a billion, I think we've got a problem. We need a consensus.''

In the report, commissioned by the United Teachers of Dade, Villamil concludes:

Floridians have the capacity to put more into education. The business climate tax index is ''one of the best'' compared to competitors such as New York, California, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas. ''Florida has significant potential to increase investments steadily in its education and workforce development systems without eroding its competitive position,'' the report says. Read more here.