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Scott Stumbles his Way into the Governor’s Mansion

Rick Scott was sworn in on Tuesday as Florida’s 45th Governor before several hundred state officials, private sector leaders and community members. At times, seemingly nervous, unprepared and flubbing several of his lines, Scott’s speech was dominated by the issue of creating jobs for the more than 1 million Floridians out of work.

Rick Scott sworn in as Florida's 45th governor on the Old Capitol steps in Tallahassee, Tuesday, January 4, 2011 (Photo credit: Michael Peltier/News Service of Florida)

“…Job creation is a Mission,” Scott said. “My personal memories fortify my commitment to this mission.”

Against the backdrop of Florida’s 12 percent jobless rate, Scott said that government does not create jobs or prosperity and that the barriers to unemployment–taxation, regulation, litigation–what he called the Axis of Unemployment, must be removed if productive activity was to increase.

“High unemployment creates a spiral down into hopelessness,” said Scott. “We will not let that happen in Florida.”

Scott said that Florida needed to manufacture more things and capitalize on its geographic location as the natural connector and distribution hub, so as to create new private sector jobs.  Under his plan, business taxes would be eliminated and property taxes reduced.

Perhaps learning from his own experience as a former health care executive in the private sector, Scott said much emphasis would be placed on accountability budgeting, mistakenly suggesting that all state agencies would be eliminated, before correctly stating, programs would be eliminated if each agency and department failed to justify spending and performance, every year.

Touching on education and health care matters, Scott said the time had come to offer Floridians more choice and more opportunities to select the services they need.

“We need an education system that offers the maximum amount of choice. A system focused entirely on what’s best for individual student learning,” Scott. “We can’t create a workforce for the future with an education model that’s stuck in the past.”

And as regards the health sector, Scott said that top-down government programs treat patients like interchangeable parts of an assembly line, setting arbitrary limits, without regard to the priorities of patients.

“But patients want to be treated like individuals. Choosing their doctors and making their own decision in consultation with those doctors,” Scott said.

While suggesting that special interests may seek to protect the status quo, Scott warned that he was prepared to make changes in order to bring about lasting improvements in the lives of all Floridians.

Scott said that Floridians are a resilient people and the state has all it needs to make the next four years “the most exciting time in our history.”

“This is the time we can do great things together”, Scott intoned. “If we have the courage to act, our children and our grandchildren will someday thank us for it.”

“Let’s get to work”, Scott concluded.

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