Scott Expected to Stay the Course in State of State

By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida
By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida


Don’t expect Gov. Rick Scott to deviate much from his frequent message as he delivers his first State of the State speech Tuesday night before a joint session of the Legislature.

Jobs and the need to attract more of them will continue to resonate through the governor’s public discourse as he makes his first major speech since his inaugural address.

“I’m going to continue to watch how we spend every dollar…make sure that we give money back to taxpayers,” Scott said Monday when asked about what themes would be in his upcoming speech. “Make sure we prioritize things. Make sure our education system is for the benefit of our children, not special interests. Those are generally the things I’m going to talk about.”

House and Senate leaders say they expect few surprises Tuesday evening, saying the governor has remained on message since jumping into the race in April. Given Scott’s strong performance among conservatives, they expect the governor to come back to his mantra of lowering taxes and cutting spending by redefining the role of what state government should do.

"I think he’s going to have an ambitious agenda,” said Senate President Mike Haridopolos. “It's one the American people are looking for."

Scott minimized potential conflicts with his legislative dance partners, who have questioned the ability to provide business tax cuts while dealing with a $3.6 billion budget deficit. House Speaker Dean Cannon said Monday he also wants to put $1 billion in reserve, making business tax cuts even more difficult to deliver.

Scott remained unfazed, but downplayed the idea he might take a combative tone.

“Everybody got elected and they got elected on a platform,” Scott said. “The positive thing is everyone knows the number one issue is jobs,” Scott said.

Not everyone listening Tuesday night will agree with the message.

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich said she’d like to hear a number of things from Scott Tuesday night.

“I’d like to hear how he is going to get the state back on track in terms of jobs and closing the budget gap without decimating health care, social services and our education system,” Rich said. “I’d like to hear how we can responsibly balance the budget by closing tax loopholes and looking for additional resources, not by cutting corporate income taxes or lowering property taxes.”

That said, Rich is not under the presumption that such proposals will be brought up by Scott when he addresses the chambers in a joint session.

“I expect to hear what we’ve heard for the last 12 years,” Rich said. “We’ll hear about cutting taxes, cutting services to our most vulnerable. We’ll hear about cutting education.”

Protests have been scheduled for Tuesday by teachers’ groups, environmentalists and others to express their concern over Scott’s agenda, which includes reduced funding for environmental programs, support for merit pay for teachers, and increasing the employee contribution level for the state’s pension fund. Scott said he welcomes the protesters.

“One thing that is great about our country is that everyone has the right to speak,” Scott said. “It’s good that people show up and say what they care about.”

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  • by uneployed Location: fl on Mar 8, 2011 at 06:40 PM
    like the old saying you got to fall to the bottom and rise again. we americans havent seen anything yet. i pass thru some towns and they look like gost towns. bussiness are still closeing the doors.
  • by Quest Location: Everywhere on Mar 8, 2011 at 05:30 PM
    To everyone that posts on here about city, county and state workers, think before you speak. The children are in the community asking for help due to the budgets in the school system now. What do you think will happen if the budget is cut more? What will you think when you call on a government agency and get no response, because there is absolutely no one left to the get the job done. Government workers are also taxpayers. Until you have done their jobs and understand what has to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis with first hand knowledge, I suggest that you keep your opinions to yourself as you are speaking from ignorance. Ask a teacher, how much money they are given to buy supplies for students or classroom accessories and ask how much they spend out of their pocket. Who do you think pays for the kid who has a family that is unable to buy supplies, the teacher. No lunch money, juice money, etc, the teachers pick it up. Think before you type hateful comment.
  • by can you help me rick Location: not a state workers on Mar 8, 2011 at 05:28 PM
    hey rick i dont have any children in school. why do i have to pay school taxes?
  • by beyond concerned Location: Tallahassee on Mar 8, 2011 at 05:02 PM
    Hi concerned. You will probably not have to be concerned about band or books much longer if the Gov has his way. There will be no band. There will be extremely limited athletic program, and text books will be harder to get to our kids than they are today. The public might even keep in mind that they may have to pay for their child's books, bus service and more. Yes the State has to cut back, but get ready, parents will be picking up the tab instead.
  • by just a normal citizen Location: Tallahassee,fl on Mar 8, 2011 at 03:29 PM
    I do not personally agree that Rick Scott is going to do anything, actually he is going to end up hurting the state of Florida. The teachers do not get paid enough now, they have our kids more hours of the day then the parents and they are trying to teach them so they can have a future. A future that hopefully will be better then the present time we are living in. I will support the teachers all day! As for the state well they all should go on strike then tell me where "KING" Scott would be if not one state employee showed up for work! I do not understand how the government allows someone who is being investigated for crimnal activity to run for governor!It astonishes me! But wait I forget the government is just as corrupt!These are such SAD days we are living in! The morals and ethics of people are so diappointing. It really makes me sick!
  • by poor man Location: fl on Mar 8, 2011 at 02:02 PM
  • by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2011 at 01:37 PM
    concerned, When I was in band, we (the band members) raised thousands (over 25) of dollars for uniforms, and this was thirty years ago. We also had to pay for our trips (we went to most football games). You do not know what you are talking about.
  • by Cicely Location: Tallahassee on Mar 8, 2011 at 01:34 PM
    Hummmm.....don't think so. I would never give him the time of day. American Idol is a much better show to watch. But.....thanks for asking!!!!
  • by Brenda Location: Tally on Mar 8, 2011 at 01:28 PM
    I am pushing for Scott's impeachment. Watch for more in the coming months! Just who does he think he is?
  • by Mimi Location: Tallahassee on Mar 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM
    anonymous on Mar 8, 2011 at 01:53 PM: are you trying to make a joke at the expense of state employees? If so, t'aint funny.
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