Jobs, education and tax cuts to take spotlight in Rick Scott’s ‘State of the State’ speech

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Three of Gov. Rick Scott’s most enduring themes — jobs, education and tax cuts — will get most of the spotlight tomorrow in the annual State of the State address to the Florida Legislature.

House Rules Chairman Rob Schenck filed motion HCR 8005 last week, scheduling Scott’s speech for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The 60-day legislative session officially gets under way just before that, starting with a 9 a.m. House meeting, followed by the Senate at 10 a.m.

Some of Scott’s talking points were released Monday in a statement by the governor’s office. He will lay claim to the state’s title of “Land of 700,000 New Jobs,” as well as rolling out details of the ambitious half-billion dollar tax-cut budget for 2014-2014 fiscal year.

Expect Scott to stress the half-million jobs created in Florida since he took office in 2011, and how his administration cut taxes 24 times, with hopes to reduce them again by $500 million in 2014.

“Working together, we have made Florida not just a destination for tourists,” the preview goes, “but a destination for opportunity.”

“And when I say that ‘we’ have done it, I don’t mean just those of us … in the chamber,”  he continues. “The real credit goes to the hard working and industrious people of the great state of Florida.”

Key elements of Scott’s $500 million tax and fee pledge will be rolling back the 2009 motor vehicle registration fee hike, as well as pushing further tax cuts for small businesses, primarily on business leases. He will ask lawmakers to exclude four out of five businesses from paying tax on business leases.

Not only will this make Florida the “Land of 700,000 New Jobs,” Scott says, but also the “Land of Opportunity.”

In addition to tax cuts, higher education will also be a significant theme. Scott’s has $80 million in the budget for “colleges and universities who graduate students best positioned to get a job.”

Scott — whose resolution will be to “hold the line on tuition” — will urge the legislators to eliminate the 15 percent annual growth and inflationary increase on tuition by undoing the 2007 and 2009 laws on tuition differentials.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.