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Helping Florida Families Requires a Team Effort

January 20, 2014 - 6:00pm

There's no question that Gov. Rick Scott's pro-business policies are producing results that benefit Florida families, but it is not a one-man show. The Florida Legislature deserves a share of the credit as well.

Each year Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) tallies up the votes on business-related bills and last year the Legislature voted with business and the taxpayers 90 percent of the time.

Among the bills approved by lawmakers in 2013:

HB 7065, to protect water quality standards and ensure the protection and restoration of the Everglades.

HB 7007, to eliminate the sales tax on manufacturers' equipment.

HB 7015, to reduce frivolous litigation.

As important as passing helpful legislation is the effort to fend off harmful legislation, such as SB 1832. This was, in effect, a huge tax increase on insurance companies that was defeated in committee.

Scott stressed before being elected that job-creation would be his top priority and he has delivered on his promise.

Florida's economy is growing, jobs are coming here, state debt is down significantly, college tuition costs have become level and the budget is in the black again, Barney Bishop, former head of AIF told the Republican Party.

But Scott's efforts would have been for naught without the help of legislators similarly inclined.

That included Democrats, who voted 78 percent of the time for sound policies in the 89 bills AIF tracked. This is an indicator of how moderate Florida Democrats, who are closer to their constituents, differ from the job-killing approach of the national liberal party.

Democrats in Congress think mailing out unemployment checks is the way to revive the economy.

Standing out in the Florida Senate was Kellie Stargel, a Republican from Central Florida, who had an amazing 99 percent rapport with AIF's agenda.

Equally impressive 14 Republicans in the House matched that percentage.

Among Democrats, Sens. Bill Montford and Gwen Margolis, and Reps. Katie Edwards and Larry Lee got high marks.

For this year, Scott and some legislators hope to provide even more tax relief, including a reduction in the cost of driving a car. Little wonder Florida is among the leaders in states bucking the national trend.

The U.S. economy remains moribund five years into a recovery. Although liberals continue to blame the former president, history shows that a deep recession is followed by steep and quick recoveries unless government suppresses that tendency.

Nationally, we have 92 million Americans not in the workforce, record numbers on welfare, food stamps and disability, and an unsustainable debt. Liberals now brag about the fact that Congress has reduced the amount of debt being heaped on future generations each year!

The president, meanwhile, has addressed the most pressing threat to long-term prosperity unsustainable entitlements by making it worse.

To be swimming against that tide indicates that Florida is on the right track and should stay the course in the upcoming legislative session.

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. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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