A stunning announcement out of Florida this week. The state that was exhibit A for economic disaster two years ago is now experiencing a tremendous rebound thanks to Gov. Rick Scott’s pro-growth policies. Washington should take a page – no several pages – out of Scott’s book.
Since December 2010, one month before Scott took office, the unemployment rate in Florida has dropped from 11.1 percent to 7.8 percent – that rate is lower than the national average. After two years of Scott’s policies, 282,000 private sector jobs have been created; in the previous four years the state had lost 825,000 jobs.
The past two years have set records for tourism, Florida’s biggest industry. In 2012, 89.3 million people visited Florida; up 2.3 percent from the previous record-setting year.
Conservatives remember the awkward embrace former Gov. Charlie Crist gave to President Obama in accepting the ill-advised “stimulus package.” Florida’s economy only got worse, the jobs kept disappearing, and no one knows where the money went.
When Scott took over he was handed an economy in the tank, large debts and budget deficits – a complete mess. Then he went to work.
· Reforming state government: He oversaw a reduction in over 2300 needless regulations and 12,000 government positions.
· Cutting taxes: He cut property taxes by more than $210 million and eliminated the state for 63 percent of the businesses that paid it when he was elected. He is doubling down in the current legislative session by proposing to eliminate the tax for all manufacturing companies – which would mean that 70 percent of all Florida businesses would no longer pay the tax. He intends to make that 100 percent before he’s done.
· Personal income has also risen by 6.6 percent in Florida since Scott took office, going against a national trend where the family dollars are being stretched razor thin.
Conservatives are also right to raise his decision to expand Medicaid as a point of contention. Candidly, I wish he and several other Republican governors would’ve not gone this route. At least Gov. Scott, unlike the other GOP governors, was able to exact waivers from the Obama Administration that will allow him to privatize Medicaid.
When looking at the whole record, however, Scott has now made Florida exhibit A for how pro-growth policies work. In addition, he has remained true to conservative principles on other key issues.
· On the sanctity of life, he signed bills that will: prohibit the use of state funding for abortions, require an ultrasound for all patients before an abortion procedure, and strengthen parental notification laws.