Gov. Rick Scott was squiring a friend around Tallahassee Monday: A bespectacled Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in town to keynote a Republican Party of Florida luncheon for donors at the Governor's Club on the day before the start of the 2014 session. Joking outside the Governor's Club with Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, Perry said Scott is "making a bow wave" with his emphasis on creating jobs.
Scott will deliver his fourth State of the State address to the Legislature Tuesday. The governor's office released excerpts that strike familiar themes of creating jobs, cutting taxes and fees and holding the line on college tuition.
Here are portions of the speech as released:
"We have added almost a half a million jobs. Together, we have cut taxes 24 times already... And my hope is that we are about to cut them again... by another $500 million this year. As I tell the hard-working people of Florida as I travel our state: We want you to keep more of the money you earn...Because it’s your money!
"Working together, we have made Florida not just a destination for tourists – but a destination for opportunity. And when I say that “we” have done it, I don’t mean just those of us here in this chamber today. No, the real credit goes to the hard working and industrious people of the great state of Florida.
"Today, we are moving the bar even higher. If we continue to pay down debt – like we do in this budget by another $170 million …
"If we continue to cut taxes – by rolling back the 2009 tax hike on annual motor vehicle fees so Floridians keep more of the money they earn…And, if we continue to cut taxes on small businesses - by cutting the tax on business leases and rolling back the business tax to now exempt 4 out of 5 Florida businesses from paying it. If we do all this, we can make Florida not just the Land of 700,000 New Jobs. We will make Florida the Land of Opportunity.
"Every parent wants their child to get a great education… and for many that doesn’t end at high school. That’s why we are recommending $80 million in our budget this year for those colleges and universities who graduate students best positioned to get a job.
"We are changing how we fund higher education... but if we want to make higher education more accessible to low and middle-income families ... We have to make it more affordable. Last year, I vetoed a tuition increase that would have taken a total of more than $42 million from Florida families.
"And, this year, with your help, we want to get rid of the 15 percent annual increase and inflationary increase on tuition. Undoing these 2007 and 2009 laws is another way we can keep higher education affordable and accessible. My commitment to every family dreaming to send their children to college is simple: We will hold the line on tuition."