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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Gov. Rick Scott’s Budget Recommendations

February 7, 2011

“Gov. Rick Scott‟s proposed „Jobs Budget‟ sends a strong signal that he is serious about getting Florida‟s financial house in order. Government at all levels has ballooned beyond our ability to pay for it. By cutting more $5 billion in government spending and simultaneously sending $2 billion back to taxpayers, this Governor is counting on the fact that taxpayers know how best to spend their own money – better than government bureaucrats.

Decreasing spending more than 10 percent overall, and applying available dollars to the areas with the best potential for return on investment, sets the right tone for job growth. A $600 million boost for economic development activities and a rollback in the corporate income tax will bring more jobs to Florida‟s doorstep.

Cuts to education and health care will inevitably raise concerns among some, but in the midst of a recession, government must cut expenses because raising taxes is a death knell for job creation. Critics will certainly accuse the Governor of using state employee pension plans and health care to further his budget goals. But, the truth is, Florida taxpayers are the ones getting fleeced by a pension system and health care benefit program unlike any now available in the private sector.

The only way to help the more than one million Floridians who do not have a job is to foster a climate where small businesses can grow and other companies want to set up shop in the Sunshine State. This budget seeks to take a giant step toward accomplishing that goal.

Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) supported Gov. Scott because we needed radical change and this budget begins to make the sort of changes we have long needed. Prosperity and success can be achieved through a willingness to make tough decisions and by implementing the forward-thinking ideas this budget provides. AIF also applauds those in the Legislature who are working hard to make those same kinds of tough decisions in their respective chambers. We encourage the Legislature to support Gov. Scott in his quest to get Florida a budget that will fulfill each of our desires for a thriving economy in the years ahead.”