A new "white paper" issued by Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday calls for a
limited moratorium on new long-term debt by the state of Florida and
will require state agencies to recommend at least $100 million in
spending reductions as part of the budget he'll submit to the
Legislature early next year.
Those proposals are in addition to
Scott's call for $500 million in taxes, which he trumpeted in a recent
statewide tour of business groups. The document underscores the fact
that Scott will ask voters for a second term in 2014 based in large part
on his fiscal stewardship of the state.
The six-page document is
part of Scott's "It's Your Money Tax Cut Agenda." It reads like a
CliffsNotes version of his next State of the State address to the
Legislature and a manifesto for his re-election campaign, including the
requisite digs at his predecessor and potential rival, Charlie Crist
(though he is not mentioned by name), noting the job losses in the four
years before Scott took office.
"Since taking office, Governor
Scott has insisted on a new way of doing business," the report says at
the outset. As the report states, since Scott became governor, state
debt has declined by $3.5 billion and now stands at $24.6 billion. "At a
time when Fitch Ratings has placed the United States credit rating on
negative watch, they have, conversely, revised Florida's outlook from
negative to stable," it says.
He says he will end his first term
next year as the first governor in Florida history to have less public
debt than when he took office.
Scott's paper says he will not
allow the state to take on new borrowing for roads, land or education
facilities "without specific and accountable returns on investment for
Scott's white paper does not suggest where the $500
million in tax cuts will come from. The two ideas that have gained early
momentum are a roll back of 2009 car and truck registration fee
increases and a repeal of the 6 percent statewide sales tax on
The memorandum says that Scott, as a private
business executive, knew that for companies to remain competitive, they
had to "reduce costs" by 2 to 3 percent each year. But the paper does
not note that the current state budget, which he signed in May, is about
$4 billion higher than the previous year's budget.
week, the agencies under Scott's direction submitted their annual
legislative budget requests to the governor, and they are larded with
proposed spending increases on everything from new patrol cars for state
troopers to expanded voter education programs to technology
-- Steve Bousquet