TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Gov. Rick Scott wants more tax cuts this year, as well as protections for people who report sexual misconduct, laws to fight the opioid crisis and more child protective investigators.
Scott laid out his goals for the legislative session during his final State of the State speech Tuesday.
“I know how disappointed you all must be that you won’t get to hear me give another great speech like this, try to hold back the tears,” he joked at the start of his speech.
All joking aside, the Governor stressed he does not want the State to raise taxes.
“I want 2018 to be the year that Florida voters pass a constitutional amendment that makes it harder for politicians to raise taxes. My proposal would require 2/3rds of the legislature to vote on a tax increase for it to become law. Some have asked if this proposal would be in effect during a financial emergency or another national recession, and my answer is clear – ABSOLUTELY. It is during times of economic downturn where this proposal is needed the most. It will force leaders to contemplate living within their means rather than taking the easy way out and just sticking it to the public by raising taxes on families and job creators.”
Scott reflected on the state’s recovery after Hurricane Irma and pursuing the death penalty for people who kill law enforcement officers.
Scott wants to expand a sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies, as well as reduce driver’s license fees. He noted that his father was a truck driver, and putting more money in his pocket would have meant a lot.
He also spoke about helping the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida in the wake of Hurricane Maria and the children.
“This year, I am proposing $12 million in funding to establish the English Language Learners Academy. This program will focus on reading improvements and making sure students displaced by Hurricane Maria have access to important learning programs.”
He is proposing a pay raise of $30 million for all state law enforcement officers and he’s supporting a measure to give free tuition to the families of fallen first responders, state law enforcement officers and military members who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“The last thing our military men and women and first responders need to be thinking about when they go to work every day is “will my family be taken care of if I am gone?”
On the issue of Florida’s opioid crisis, he said, “This year, I have proposed to invest $53 million to fight opioid abuse in Florida. I have also proposed legislation to prevent drug addiction on the front end, reduce the ability for dangerous drugs to spread in Florida’s communities, give vulnerable Floridians the support they need, and ensure law enforcement officers have resources to protect those impacted by opioids.”
Scott is forced to leave office next January due to term limits. He is considering a run for U.S. Senate.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)