Editor’s Note: The office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott submitted a guest article to state newspapers and publications, regarding recent legislation to help Florida businesses and improve Florida’s economy. The article, titled “The Specifics of Governor Scott’s 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda,” is reprinted here.
During recent weeks, I met with working Floridians to talk about what this legislation means to them. I would like to thank all of the great companies that I visited: ENTERA in Bay County, Load King Manufacturing in Jacksonville, Advanced Protection Technologies in Clearwater, Ring Power Inc. in Sarasota, as well as Metal Essence in Longwood and Workforce Central Florida in Orlando.
Overall, my 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda will eliminate burdensome rules and regulations, reform our unemployment system to a re-employment system, provide tax relief to our job creators and hold accountable the workforce boards tasked with connecting Floridians to job opportunities. I would like to highlight four reforms that we have put into place and how they better position our state to create jobs.
First, we took steps to restore accountability and credibility to Florida’s Regional Workforce Boards so they are better able to serve Florida’s unemployed citizens. In response to irresponsible spending of taxpayer dollars that should have been dedicated to getting people back to work, Florida’s Regional Workforce Boards will be held accountable and will be able to better serve Florida’s jobseekers. I have been monitoring daily rankings for job placements from each regional workforce board to ensure that they are serving the citizens of Florida. Members not fulfilling this duty can now be removed.
Next, we became the first state in the nation to reform our unemployment system into a system focused on re-employment. This new system will direct efforts to providing free job skills training to Florida’s out-of-work citizens who need it the most, while providing unemployment compensation tax relief to Florida businesses.
The next reform continues the process I started on my first day in office, the repeal of burdensome state rules and regulations that often discourages businesses from creating jobs. Since taking office, I have reviewed and repealed nearly five hundred unnecessary rules and regulations. I will continue this process to ensure that our state government is efficient and not standing in the way of business.
The last measure of my 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda is tax relief for Florida’s working families and businesses. Working with the Florida Legislature, we delivered two tax cuts. First, we continued efforts begun last year to eliminate the corporate income tax by doubling the exemption, representing a 66 percent re-education of total payers since I became governor. In addition, Florida’s manufacturers will now be able to more easily qualify for a sales tax exemption on machinery and equipment. Both tax cuts will help grow jobs in Florida, by helping business and families keep more of their hard-earned money.
In February, Florida recorded an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, a three-year low. We’re headed in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to do to make Florida the number one state in the nation for business. Since becoming governor, creating jobs in Florida has been my top priority. I am confident that my 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda will help Florida create, retain and attract jobs.