Scott unveils three-point budget agenda for election yearby John Kennedy | October 22nd, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott put out a three-point plan Tuesday that he says will guide his state budget proposals heading into next spring, an election year.
Scott’s top item was unveiled earlier this summer — a $500 million reduction in state taxes and fees. But the Republican governor is following that up with a pledge to continue reducing the state’s debt and the size of government.
Scott dubbed the outline the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut” agenda. The narrative that stretches the three bullet points across six pages includes plenty of pronouncements that fit neatly into next year’s campaign.
“Since taking office, Gov. Scott has insisted on a new way of doing business: the government of the state of Florida must make decisions with Floridians’ tax dollars the way Florida families would if they were sitting around their own kitchen tables,” the agenda reads. “Just as families would do, Gov. Scott has made decisions that respect the difficulty of earning a living.”
The aspirational goals Scott settles on are largely built on steps he has taken his first three years in office.
Scott has reduced state borrowing by slowing environmental land purchases and school maintenance projects, reducing debt by $3.5 billion from a record high $28.2 billion in 2010. Tax and fee cutting also has been a central part of every one of Scott’s budget proposals, although lawmakers have scaled back each year’s recommendation.
One element of Scott’s outline that may be fresh: He wants state agencies to reduce their spending by $100 million in the coming year. Since last October, the governor’s office says state agencies already have identified $146.3 million in cost savings, mostly through renegotiating contracts.
“In business, Gov. Scott knew that companies had to become more efficient and reduce costs for better services by 2 to 3 percent each year to remain competitive,” the agenda states. “Taxpayers deserve no different from the government that they fund.”