Governor Crist, thank you for your graciousness.
Mr.President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Cabinet, Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court.
Distinguished guests and my fellow Floridians.
We gather today to talk about Florida’s future.
To assess where we are, to define where we want to go, and to plan how to get there.
Clear goals and hard work can achieve amazing things.
Let’s begin by facing squarely the challenge of our time-a stalled economy.
This morning more than a million Floridians got out of bed and faced another day of unemployment.
For months they’ve searched for work.
They fill out applications.
They beg for interviews.
They face rejection after rejection.
For ALL the unemployed, life without a paycheck is a desperate daily scramble to provide the basics.
I’ve been a child in a home like that.
My father was often laid off…
My mother took in ironing just so we could have food on the table…
I have a very clear memory of their fear and uncertainty as they struggled to provide for five kids…
So, for me, job creation is a MISSION.
My personal memories fortify my commitment to this mission.
A lean and limited Government has a role to play in providing a safety net.
But prosperity comes from the private sector.
ONLY from the private sector.
The only path to better days is paved with new private sector jobs.
We have to remember that modern businesses can locate anywhere.
If the conditions Florida offers aren’t the best, businesses go elsewhere.
What does it take to create that favorable business climate?
Florida has to offer the best chance for financial success.
Not a guarantee -just the best chance.
Three forces markedly reduce that chance for success, taxation, regulation, and litigation. Together those three form “The Axis of Unemployment”.
Left unchecked, they choke off productive activity.
Under my plan we’ll eliminate the business tax and reduce the property tax.
The State of Florida raises enough revenues to meet its needs.
It should focus on spending those revenues smarter, setting better priorities and demanding more accountability.
We’ll also re-examine every regulation to make sure its benefits outweigh its costs.
Today, I will sign an Executive Order creating a state office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory reform to review all proposed and existing regulations to determine their impact on job creation.
Every Floridian should have the right to access the court system for redress of harm.
But, we will not allow excessive lawsuits to strangle job creation.
And we WILL NOT ALLOW a small group of predatory lawyers to stalk the business community in search of deep pockets.
Private sector jobs grow in places where public sector spending is kept within bounds.
All of us who are lucky enough to have a job working for the people of Florida have a duty to watch over state spending with great vigilance.
Let’s make it easy to build and grow a business in Florida…
So that new enterprises will compete with each other for space.
Let’s tell the world, “If you can dream it, it’s EASY to make it HAPPEN in Florida”
After all, we have always been the destination for dreamers.
The place where someone with a big new idea could give it a try.
Railroads into the wilderness, a magic kingdom, a trip to the moon, freedom from a foreign tyrant, better health, life without winter.
Large and small, dreams are the stuff that Florida is made of.
Floridians differ in their dreams for their children.
Every child is unique, and every child can learn.
We need an education system that offers the maximum amount of choice.
A system focused entirely on what’s best for individual student learning.
We can’t create a workforce for the future with an education model that’s stuck in the past.
To capture the world’s best jobs, we’ll need to offer the world’s best-educated workforce.
First, we’ll refuse to allow increased government intrusion in these areas.
We’ll put FLORIDIANS back in the driver’s seat with increased use of free markets.
Because when government does the buying, government chooses what services are available.
The truth is…he who pays the piper calls the tune.
We want EVERY Floridian to be in a position to call the tune.
We’ll also apply some of the key tools that private businesses use to create a culture of constant improvement.
We’ll measure everything…
We’ll implement changes based on what we learn from those measurements.
And, most importantly… We’ll hold everyone accountable.
No job – public or private —should be immune from accountability.
This is the time we can do great things together…
If we have the courage to act, our children and our grandchildren will someday thank us for it.
May God Bless the Great State of Florida.
Let’s get to work.