Florida's 2006 legislative session is officially underway in Tallahassee. It kicked off with a joint session and the governor's final state of the state address.
This is Gov. Bush's final legislative session, and final State of the State Address. This time next year we'll have a new governor, but despite that lame duck status and looming elections for many lawmakers in the fall, the governor says this is not a year for rest or to polish his legacy.
Gov. Jeb Bush continued to beat the drum on some key issues that have marked his entire tenure: Education reform, hurricane preparedness, economic development and tax cuts.
Gov. Bush says, "We must take the next steps in reform to drive more improvement in our schools. We must create a culture of preparedness so we're ready for any future disaster, whether it's a hurricane, an attack or a pandemic, and we must continue to enhance our business climate and diversify our economy. This is not a year for caution or rest. This is not a year for legacy. This is a year for taking our progress to the next level."
Bush asked for $239 million for teacher recruitment and retention and called for lawmakers to reinstate school vouchers. He wants permanent tax holidays for both hurricane season and back to school, and he's calling for $100 property tax rebates as well as lower school taxes.