Jeb Bush' State of the State by Mitch E. Perry03/07/06
Governor Bush today gave his 8th and final State of the State address today, and though his tenure has less than a year left in office, Bush shows no sign of being a lame duck.
His actual speech today was devoid of suprises, mainly because he has advertised since the New Year his plan of attack in 2006â€¦.
Bush took pride on where the state is economically from when he took office, saying Florida economically speaking is in perhaps the best shape it has ever been (roll tape#1 o.q.â€?of all that Florida can beâ€?)
Bush mentioned that since he took control of the Governors office in 1999, 16% of all new jobs in the country have been created in Florida, and boasted of the lowest unemployment rate in state history â€“ which currently at 3.3%, the 3rd lowest in the country.
Much of Governor Bushâ€™s energies have been spent on revamping education in the state, which could be argued to have had mixed results.
Florida has become an incubator for ideas on using School Vouchers. The State uses 3 different types of programs, one of which was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year as being unconstitutional (roll tape#2 o.q.â€?for educationâ€?)
The Supreme Court struck down the smallest of the voucher programs, Opportunity Scholarships, saying it violated constitutional restrictions against public money going to private schools. Experts said the ruling threatens other voucher offerings, including the state's pre-K program. Because of the court ruling, voucher supporters are preparing a Constitutional Amendment that would make Opportunity Scholarships more like the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarships, which offer businesses credit for donating state corporate taxes to organizations that provide vouchers. State Senator Ken Pruitt and Miami House Republican Marco Rubio are sponsoring that legislation (roll tape#3 o.q.â€?a moral imperativeâ€?)
The Governor also spoke about hurricanes. 8 have rocked the Sunshine state the past 2 years, and as he said , we know more are coming. He spoke about the state building more space for shelters, and asking for millions in hurricane preparedness (roll tape#4 o.q.â€?water recedesâ€?) But perhaps Governor Bushâ€™s greatest pleasure is in giving out tax breaks. He spoke about his general philosophy on the issue (roll tape#5 o.q.â€?less, is really moreâ€?)
Bush is asking that the Legislature this year approve $1.5 billion dollars in new tax cutsâ€¦He says it will help out everyone in the state (roll tape#6 o.q.â€?I hope youâ€™ll pass itâ€?)