Under Governor Rick Scott’s leadership, Florida’s economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in less than three years. Is the government being more responsible for the way the State of Florida spends citizens’ tax dollars after they were caught stealing through Allied Veterans?
Prior to Rick Scott taking office, Florida had lost more than 800,000 jobs in just four years, the real estate market had collapsed, and thousands of government regulations were hampering struggling businesses. To cope with the failing economy, state government borrowed from reserves while raising taxes and fees and growing state debt by around $1 billion each year. This included a $5.2 billion increase in the four years prior to Governor Scott’s election.
It is hard to ignore the dramatic shifts in fiscal policy that resulted from Governor Scott’s tenure, and even harder to ignore the results of a growing and more dynamic economy.
Florida job creators have now created more than 365,000 jobs since the beginning of Governor Scott’s term. The unemployment rate has dropped below the national average, and Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped by more than any other state in the country but one, over the same time period.
Florida has paid down $3.5 billion in state debt, while reducing the state government’s workforce to the lowest level per capita in state history. In fact, Florida’s state employee population is the lowest per capita in the United States. More than 2,800 state regulations on families and job creators have been repealed and more than $3.5 billion in federal loans for re-employment assistance taken out during the downturn have now been paid back.
Over this period, Governor Scott and the Legislature have also been able to cut taxes (primarily on the rich) 24 times, including the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment to help jump-start manufacturing investment and property tax cuts for Florida homeowners and businesses. Currently, more than 70 percent of Florida businesses no longer have to pay the business tax.
The result? In 2013, Florida saw its first budget surplus in six years, and the Revenue Estimating Conference released recent projections indicating the general revenue forecasted for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 in Florida will be the highest ever.