Scott to call for $500 million cut in taxes and fees, criticize Crist in speech to conservative group.by George Bennett | August 30th, 2013
ORLANDO — Look for Gov. Rick Scott to call for a $500 million election-year cut in taxes and fees when he speaks to a conservative conference here this afternoon.
According to an advance transcript of his remarks to the Americans For Prosperity gathering, he’ll also take a swipe at Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who’s mulling a run against Scott next year as a Democrat.
“My predecessor had made a name for himself by hugging President Obama‘s non-stop spending – and even hugging the President. When asked about taking all the stimulus, he said he ‘needed the money.’ As a result, spending and debt increased at an alarming rate,” says an excerpt of Scott’s prepared remarks.
Anticipating a budget surplus in 2014, Scott will call for lowering taxes and fees by $500 million. The excerpts don’t specify which taxes or fees he’ll ask the Legislature to reduce.
“More revenue into the state means we must return more tax dollars to the hardworking people of Florida. After all – it’s your money,” Scott’s remarks say. “That’s why, I am excited to announce today that I will fight to cut taxes and fees for Florida families by half a billion dollars in our next proposed budget. It’s your money – not the government’s.”
Read more excerpts after the jump…
Some excerpts of Gov. Rick Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery to Americans For Prosperity conference today in Orlando:
I came into office just as President Obama’s stimulus money was on the way out. My predecessor had made a name for himself by hugging president Obama’s non-stop spending – and even hugging the President. When asked about taking all the stimulus, he said he “needed the money.”
As a result, spending and debt increased at an alarming rate.
DC’s spending addiction had spread to Florida.
Hard decisions had been delayed, and replaced with the shortsighted policies of more debt and more spending.
Florida was in a hole – and for about four years, the state just kept digging.
When I took office, the bill had come due.
It was time to stop digging and climb out of the hole.
We knew the only way out was to create jobs. Taxes are primarily paid by successful companies and people with jobs.
In Florida, it was time to make the hard decisions to: Right-sizing government. Reduce spending. And pay down debt.
I took office with a projected $3.6 billion budget gap.
As we made the hard decisions to live within our means during my first year in office, there was plenty of criticism to go around.
We streamlined services and targeted reforms to help businesses compete. But, we heard from the critics when we turned down stimulus funds and balanced the budget. They said, federal money was “free.” I was told to grab all the free federal money I could.
I have now been in office for more than two years and we are beginning to see the results of conservative, pro-growth solutions in Florida:
We have turned around a four-year record of 800,000 lost jobs before I took office – and the private sector in Florida has now created nearly 370,000 jobs over the last 2½ years.
Our unemployment rate has dropped below the national average, and Florida’s rate has had the second biggest improvement in the country.
We have paid off $3.5 billion in state debt.
We have downsized our state government workforce to the lowest level in the history of Florida. Why? Because the private sector is the engine to job creation – not government. We have eliminated more than 2,600 state regulations on job creators.
We paid back $3.5 billion in federal loans for re-employment assistance. And, we did all this while also cutting taxes five times in three years, including: The elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment to help jump-start manufacturing investment. Continuing to roll back the business tax, so that today around 70 percent of our businesses no longer pay it. And, we cut property taxes for homeowners and businesses.
I hope the critics – and the tax and spend liberals who think you have to grow government to grow the economy – are paying attention to what happened next…
After right-sizing government and cutting taxes, this year, we had our first budget surplus in six years.
But, it gets better.
Just a few weeks ago, our State Revenue Estimating Conference announced that the general revenue now forecasted for 2014-2015 in Florida will be the highest ever.
The highest ever.
Conservative, pro-growth policies are clearly working in Florida.
And, more revenue into the state means we must return more tax dollars to the hardworking people of Florida. After all – it’s your money.
That’s why, I am excited to announce today that I will fight to cut taxes and fees for Florida families by half a billion dollars in our next proposed budget.
It’s your money – not the government’s.
Working with the Florida Legislature, we have cut taxes year after year, even while forcing government to live within its means. This year, we are committed to returning even more money to the hard-working Florida families who earn it. I look forward to working with our friends in the Florida Legislature to make these tax cuts a reality.
Conservative, pro-growth policies are working in Florida, and that is something to brag about.
I hope our federal leaders in DC are paying attention. Florida is proving that conservative policies work. Cutting taxes, right-sizing government, and reducing regulations means businesses have the support they need to create jobs.
President Obama was here a few weeks ago. He said he has decided to turn his attention back to jobs.
Am I the only one wondering what in the world the President has been focused on if he wasn’t focused on jobs?
In Florida, we have one focus – jobs.