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Florida GDP outpacing all other large U.S. states, Rick Scott says

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Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that the Sunshine State’s economic output grew faster than all other large states and even outpaced the national average in the second quarter of 2015.

 “Florida’s GDP outpacing all other large states, and the nation as a whole, is another indicator that our economy continues to grow,” Scott said in a news release. “We have added over 1 million new jobs in the last five years and we are seeing the positive effects of this growth throughout our state.”

Department of Economic Opportunity head Jesse Panuccio echoed Scott, saying the gross domestic product growth “is another sign that our economy is on the right track” and that Florida’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in seven years.

According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Florida’s gross domestic product, the dollar value of all goods and services produced, went up 5.1 percent in the second quarter. Large states New York, California and Texas saw growth rates of 5 percent, 4.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. The national average growth rate came in at 3.8 percent.

Though Florida bested its closest competitors, Washington, South Dakota, Delaware, Nevada and Utah all posted higher growth rates in the BEA report. Hawaii tied Florida with 5.1 percent growth.

Scott pointed to the data to push his plans to cut taxes and increase incentives money for businesses in the upcoming 2016 session.

“We are working to be first in the nation for job creation by cutting $1 billion in taxes and creating the new Florida Enterprise Fund so that more businesses succeed and expand in Florida,” he said.

Scott’s tax cut plan includes a 1 percentage point reduction on the commercial rents sales tax, which would cut state revenue by $339 million over the next two years. The proposal is heavily backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and has been kicked around by lawmakers for several sessions. The governor is also aiming to eliminate income taxes for manufacturing and retail, which bring in about $770 million a year.

The governor’s incentives plan calls for $250 million in incentives money to kick-start the Florida Enterprise Fund. The funding level is far above the $43 million incentives were allocated last session, though officials say the money would last three years. The plan also calls for changes to how incentives deals are approved. Under the plan, only the governor, House Speaker and Senate President would need to sign off on deals worth more than $1 million, rather than the full Legislature.

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Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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