~Focused on Job Creation, Education, Economy
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Speaker of the Florida House Larry Cretul (R-Ocala) and House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach) issued the following joint statement regarding the successful conclusion of the regular Legislative Session 2010, also known as Sine Die:
“The 2010 Legislature concluded its work today by passing a balanced, responsible budget that ensures Florida is well-poised for job creation and the return to a more prosperous economy. We met our pledge to avoid new taxes, protect public school funding, include adequate reserves for unplanned needs and minimize the use of one-time federal money for ongoing programs. And we did this in a process more open than ever before,” stated Speaker Cretul.
“As we conclude the final day of the 2010 legislative session, we can point to significant accomplishments proving that the past sixty days have been productive and successful. We do not know if everything we passed will ultimately become law, but that is the way our system was designed to work. The Florida House can be proud that we have acted boldly and advanced innovative policies that will help position Florida for a vibrant and lasting economic recovery,” stated Leader Hasner.
“The House relentlessly focused on creating an environment that will help energize a sustainable Florida for the 21st Century. As I finish my service in the House, I’m very positive about the future and look to my colleagues to confidently pick up where we have left off,” concluded Leader Hasner.
Jobs for Floridians
The House’s top priority this Session was recharging Florida’s economy and putting Floridians back to work. No job this year has been more important to Florida’s families and economic future.
- The House has passed a $203 million jobs package (over 3 years) for Floridians designed to make our state more economically competitive and encourage companies to invest in our state and hire Floridians.
o Tax credits for companies hiring unemployed workers.
o Package favors Florida companies hiring Florida workers.
o Millions to help attract private aerospace contractors and to help transition NASA workers in the wake of the shuttle program’s discontinuance by the Obama Administration.
o Attractive incentive package to bring the film and entertainment industry to Florida.
- The House started session this year facing a $3 billion shortfall. This has meant tough decisions and looking for real ways to reduce expenses while continuing to offer Floridians the critical services they expect from their state government.
- The House is pleased that we were able to meet our goals in the budget:
o No new taxes or fees in the 2010-11 budget; we made sure the state lived within its means.
o Protected classroom spending for our schools; $111 million increase for K-12 education.
o Maintained adequate budget reserves to help maintain our AAA bond rating; saves billions of dollars for taxpayers long term.
o Did not use uncertain federal dollars (FMAP) for essential services and recurring expenses.
- This was the most open and transparent budget process to date.
o All new budget proviso was published ahead of time and discussed.
o PECO projects were discussed openly and recipients were brought forward to give each project a thorough vetting.
o Documents were released timely and were much clearer than previously; easier to understand exactly what was being discussed.
The House worked hard to restore the trust of Floridians in the budget process and to make sure that Floridians knew we were being responsible with their tax dollars.
- The House put forward a meaningful amendment to “Right Size the Class Size” amendment. House Republicans believe that principals and teachers should have flexibility in how they meet the class size requirements so they can focus on student achievement rather than how to restructure their classrooms. It’s now up to the voters to decide.
- The House passed meaningful standards for our students to help them be better able to compete in the global marketplace for the high-paying careers of the future. The global economy is changing and we owe it to our students to make sure they are prepared to be successful. That starts with more focus on math and sciences and greater emphasis on making sure our children are learning to read and reading to learn.
o The House is trying to stop the problem that Florida’s students can earn a high school diploma and still not meet the minimum college admissions requirements for any state university. For those who do enter college, a lack of rigor in high school adds up: 55-percent of students entering Florida’s colleges and universities require remediation in reading, writing and math, costing $130 million in 2005-2006.
o The House is pleased the Governor has already signed this legislation into law.
- The House recognizes the we owe it to our children and our state to make sure that our children are better educated on our democracy and the issues we face. This starts with a greater awareness of our system of government and our duties and responsibilities as citizens. The House passed, and the Governor has signed, legislation to strengthen civics education in our children’s classrooms.
Rewarding Excellent Teachers
- The House is disappointed that the Governor went back on his word and vetoed the House’s efforts; that was a decision driven more by polls than policy.
- The House still believes in the principles of:
o If a teacher works in a difficult environment or with disadvantaged students, that teacher deserves to be paid more for taking on those challenges.
o Rewarding our teachers for success in the classroom and for their role in helping our students succeed.
o Every child deserves a quality teacher in their classroom.
The House passed Property Assessed Clean Energy financing (PACE) to help create jobs in the renewable energy industry and make it easier for Floridians to adopt renewable energy technology.
· PACE is a no-subsidy, no-mandate, no-cost to taxpayers, consumer opt-in approach that can bring clean energy technology and windstorm hardening improvements to homeowners and businesses while creating jobs for Floridians.
· Many families in Florida are struggling to pay their utility bills or ever-increasing homeowners’ insurance costs because they lack the ability to mitigate those costs through energy efficiency or the hardening of their homes against storms.
· By helping consumers finance the upfront costs for energy improvements, local governments that choose to participate can help remove the largest obstacle to homeowners who want to make their homes more energy efficient and save money.
- The Legislature passed tough legislation to crack down and cut off the pill mills in South Florida that have become a national problem. This legislation has been sent to the Governor.
- This Session, the House put forward a meaningful, bipartisan reform plan for Medicaid. We are disappointed that the Senate did not consider it, but believe that it is a good starting point for next year.
o By 2014 Medicaid is expected to consume 33% of the state budget. A patchwork of fee for service and 20 different managed care waivers with a series of carve-outs, exceptions and special designations, Florida’s current Medicaid system is the most complex system in the nation. The status quo is simply unsustainable.
- The House passed legislation to close loopholes in the background screening process for individuals working with vulnerable Floridians. Florida’s laws were outdated in regards to the technology now available for screenings and for some of the ways that criminals were using those loopholes to escape detection. Under this legislation, we are helping make sure that the people hired as caregivers for our most vulnerable citizens will not be criminals looking to prey on Floridians’ loved ones.
The House passed legislation to crackdown on shadowy special interests looking to influence Florida’s elections without revealing who they are or who is paying for their attacks. This is legislation the Governor said he would sign.
CONTACT: Joseph Agostini