TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will stress jobs, cooperation and improving education in his second State of the State address, titled “Let’s Get to Work … Together.”
While Scott plans to tell lawmakers Tuesday that he wants to listen to ideas from any person and any party, he doesn't plan to budge on his recommendation to increase school spending by $1 billion.
He also plans to share credit for job growth in Florida over the past year, saying that it helped the economy when lawmakers met a $4 billion shortfall by streamlining government and not raising taxes.
The speech comes on the first day of the 60-day legislative session. The joint session begins at 11 a.m., and the governor will address lawmakers in the House chamber beginning around 11:30 a.m.
Here are excerpts from the speech as prepared for delivery and released by the governor's office:
■ “In the past year, Floridians, not government, created almost 135,000 new private sector jobs. We netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011; the third most of any state in the nation.”
■ “Also deserving credit are you, the legislators in this room. Last year you passed and I signed a budget we balanced without raising taxes or fees despite a revenue shortfall of nearly 4 billion dollars. We did this by making government lean and effective.”
■ “After traveling the state and listening to parents, teachers … and our students, I heard one thing very clearly, over and over. Floridians truly believe that support for education is the most significant thing we can do to ensure both short-term job growth and long-term economic prosperity for our state...
“That’s why this session I ask you to continue your commitment to education...
“My recommended budget includes $1 billion in new state funding for education…
“And I ask you to please consider that recommendation very carefully. On this point, I just cannot budge.”
■ “Last session, together we made the changes necessary to improve the opportunities for the citizens of our state. Education, pension and Medicaid reforms coupled with government reorganization and deregulation have all helped to produce jobs, save taxpayer money, improve the education of our children and bring down the cost of living for all Floridians.”
■ “No person, profession or party has a monopoly on all the good ideas. The commitment I make to those here today is to keep open, clear lines of communication so that together our time in the Capitol can best be spent in the service of those who sent us here. That is my pledge to you.”
■ “From our shores, we have launched men to the moon. And with this same brave spirit millions have come to plant their flag in Florida soil to build something new and better. I know I did. I know many of you here today have felt this joy, too.”
■ “My fellow Floridians, I’m here today to tell you that promise and opportunity will return; in fact ARE returning even as we meet here today.”
■ “What government gives to one person necessarily had to be taken from the pocket of someone else. There is something arrogant and overreaching in thinking we have the superior wisdom to micromanage the economy.”
■ “Taxes and regulations. they are the great destroyers of capital and time for small businesses. Almost every dollar I earned as a shop owner went toward growing our little doughnut shops. So, every dollar taken in taxes slowed that growth. Almost every minute I had in the day also went toward growing our small business. So, every minute spent addressing some new regulation also slowed that growth.”
■ “If we are going to be serious about keeping the cost of living low for Floridians, we must get tough on the fraud and abuse in the auto insurance system.”
■ “I’d like to focus on what I believe are the three most important jobs I have as your governor: One, ensuring that Floridians are able to gain employment, two, securing the right of every Floridian to a quality education, and three, keeping the cost of living low, so that the families and businesses that are in our state can prosper and grow, and the ones that aren’t have even more reasons to get here soon.”