2004 Florida Session Convenes

He bragged about improving student achievement and on Florida's growing economy, but many lawmakers don't think Jeb Bush is telling the whole story.

Gov. Jeb Bush says the State of the State is stronger than ever. He says students of all races and backgrounds have made dramatic improvement in reading and test scores over the past year and Florida leads the nation in job growth.

"More people are working in the Sunshine State today, and they're keeping more of their hard-earned money. Since 1998, we have provided more than eight billion dollars in tax relief to the people we serve,” says Gov. Bush.

The governor wants lawmakers to provide more relief this year in the form of another $140 million in tax cuts on the education front.

He unveiled a new reading initiative for middle schools. Jeb Bush has made believers out of Isaac and Catina Cuyler in the audience because their 5th grade son went from a struggling reader to one of the best in his class.

There are many lawmakers who do not agree Florida is on the right path when it comes to education and the economy. Democrats say the governor talked about the right issues, but he was wrong on all of them.

"The reality of it is we rank pretty low in almost every area with respect to education, and it's not the rosy picture that he painted. In addition, the jobs that he says that have been created have been low-paying jobs,” says Arthenia Joyner.

Florida's picture is the rosiest it's been in at least a couple of years and the governor hopes to ride that wave through his brother's re-election bid.

The gloomiest note in the governor's address was the news that Florida's proposed Medicaid budget is more than $700 million short for this year and next.