For Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz, Tuesday’s opening of the 2014 session marked the beginning of the end of their tenures leading Florida’s Legislature.
But for Gov. Rick Scott, it was a day for touting the accomplishments of his first term in office – and building on his campaign for a second.
Before a joint session of the Legislature, Scott congratulated the lawmakers for the progress that’s been made during his administration and drew stark contrasts between the Florida he governs today and the one left him by former Gov. Charlie Crist – currently the front-running Democrat to challenge Scott for re-election in the fall.
Here are excerpts from Scott’s campaign-style state-of-the-state speech:
“Let’s be honest about it – we inherited a terrible mess.
“… Growing unemployment; dangerous levels of debt, growing deficits and a crippled housing market.
“We had two options – we could take the usual way out by raising taxes and running up more debt … or we could do the politically hard thing and trim our budget.
“When the hard thing is the right thing, we need the courage to do the hard thing.
“And we did …
“Together, we made government more efficient.
“Together, we have cut almost 3,000 regulations on small businesses.
“Together, we have now paid down $3.6 billion in state debt
“And paid back another $3.5 billion borrowed from the federal government for unemployment assistance.
“… Working together, we have made Florida not just a destination for tourists – but a destination for opportunity …
“Let’s keep working …
“To reject the tax-borrow-and-spend approach of D.C.
“Until everyone in our state, regardless of what country, family…or ZIP code they were born into – has their shot at the American Dream …
“Until we are not only the destination for the world’s tourists, but for the world’s businesses …
“Until all of our children and grandchildren can have any career they want right here in Florida.
“Members of the Senate, members of the House, I am asking you to join with me this session to say to all the people of Florida: .
“‘We have more work left to do; so let’s keep working.’”
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