Gov. Rick Scott is showing he means business.
The 2012 Legislature produced a lean $69 billion budget and Scott pared it down even more by lopping off more than $600 million in “turkeys” -- pork-barrel projects the state did not need to fund.
This produced the usual complaints but there is no reason for the state to pay for local projects that have not gone through the normal process. That is not to say some are unworthy; but, if they are needed, let those who benefit from them pay for them.
Clearing away the thicket of regulations is another way to spur employment. Reducing the burden of taxes that business has to collect for the state also makes Florida businesses more competitive and more profitable, which also spurs job growth.
Scott even invited 100 businesses in New York to relocate in Florida. It makes perfect sense.
New York piles taxes upon taxes (including regulations, which are simply another form of taxes) and any business that does not have to be in the Empire State would do itself a favor by looking south to forward-looking states such as Florida.
Florida is a right-to-work state with no personal income tax, low business taxes, great teachers, the best weather and beaches anywhere and a coveted quality of life, Scott reminded the New York business owners.
By slashing the unemployment tax this year, the Legislature sweetened the package.
Florida already is gaining employment and these changes could add to the momentum.
Taxpayers, unemployed people, underemployed people and business owners will welcome the changes wrought by Scott and the Legislature. But, not everyone will be happy.
Those who oppose all growth in Florida will be making the usual claims of gloom and doom.
These go back at least to the 1970s, at the height of the environmental hysteria, when loud voices were urging state leaders to curtail growth so as not to exceed the state’s “carrying capacity.”
This was some kind of junk science calculation that purported to show how many people Florida could accommodate without experiencing environmental apocalypse.
The state’s population at the time was about 8 million and as I recall the figure of 10 million was said by some to be the upper limit. Florida today has more than 18 million people and most people can still wiggle their fingers and toes.
It reminds me of the New Jersey congressman who was quizzing an admiral about plans to transfer more troops to the island of Guam a few years ago. The politician was greatly concerned that adding so many more people might cause the island to capsize.
Another concern expressed by the anti-growth crowd is that the new jobs don’t pay enough. It is easy to sneer at someone else’s salary when you are a tenured professor, for example, but for most people, some salary is preferable to no salary.
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.
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