Florida Families First
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Introduction from Governor Rick Scott
Four years before Governor Scott took office, Florida lost 825,000 jobs, which was an increase in unemployment rate from 3.5 per cent to 11.1 percent. The state debt also increased by $5.2 billion. Since his taking office, there has been a creation of around 200,000 private sector jobs, declining Florida’s unemployment rate by 8 per cent. Over 2,300 burdensome regulations have been eliminated; government positions reduced; and the permitted process for business streamlined. For the first time, a trade debt has been paid since 1994 at a rate of $ 1 billion per year for the two consequent years (“Gov. Rick Scott releases…”, 2013).
Governor Scott has succeeded in the funding of the Florida Families First Budget through cuts in the state’s economy and cost-savings efforts. Other sources that have helped in the funding were the trade surpluses of $ 24 billion and the booming tourist industries, which attract 90 million tourists to Florida beaches every year. All this, hence, gave high profits to Florida’s economy (Kane, 2013).
The Florida Families First Budget
In early February this year, Governor Rick Scott unveiled the Florida Families First Budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014. The budget included $18.47 billion meant to fund the K-1 education. This showed an investment rise of $1.25 billion or 7.3 per cent over the last year’s budget concerning K-12 education (“Gov. Rick Scott releases…”,,2013). The increase represented $6,800 funding per student, an increase of around 6.5 per cent over the present fiscal year. $480 million were also included in this total to set to support a $2500 pay rise for the Florida’s K-12 full time classroom teachers, $100 million were directed at helping digital learning initiatives, and $ 10.5 million were issued for safety of schools at a total amount of $74.9 million.
The $ 2,500 increase in salaries for the classroom teachers was as a reward by Governor Scott for the students and the teachers in Florida being ranked 6th in the world for quality education and their fourth grade students scoring worldwide the first place according to an international survey. The Florida students appeared top in the percentage of students that took the AP exam (“Governor Scott presents $2.5 million…”, 2013). The funds that were set for technology are to provide a more digitally motivated classroom setting with more learning tools. The unrestricted funds increase was to ensure that districts have the flexibility to allocate the money where needed in order to ensure a smooth transitions.
The Florida Families First budget further directed more of its resources to the college system with an aim to increase access to a more affordable and high quality post-secondary education. The funds that were directed here included $ 1.1 billion funding for the state college system, $50.3 million as operating funds for the college system, $13 million for competitive workforce programs, and $10 million as competitive grant for the Florida Distinguished College Teacher. This package will not only provide access to high quality level education to individuals but also make sure that they have the educational opportunities at low costs (“Gov. Rick Scott releases…”, 2013).
The proposed budget supports also the elimination of barriers like sale taxes that are imposed on manufacturers buying equipment. This will assist in the building up of Florida’s manufacturing sector and ultimately create enough jobs to the graduates and other residents (“Gov. Rick Scott releases…”, 2013).
In his speech, the governor briefed that in all the undertaking of his government, the focus should be set on the ways to help families pursue their future dreams. They having access to better jobs and quality education will achieve the fulfillment of their dreams. He added that for the last two years, they have succeeded in reducing taxes and the elimination of unfriendly business regulations. That resulted to creation of thousands of jobs in the private sectors. Consequently, the unemployment rate diminished greatly, making Sunshine State appear among the best states in the country (Turner, 2013).
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