Governor Rick Scott wasted no time as he began his four-year term as Florida’s 45th Governor on January 4, 2010, issuing executive orders suspending all rulemaking by state agencies until each rule can be reviewed for its fiscal impact on the private sector, and requiring state agencies to check the immigration status and job eligibility of state employees and contractors. He also made good on his campaign promise to sell the state’s executive jet (a Cessna Citation Bravo) and eliminate the state’s aircraft pool maintained by the Department of Management Services.
Job creation is Governor Scott’s self-stated mission, and he has pledged to make Florida a model in the nation for a business-friendly economy. Governor Scott will present his first budget to the Florida legislature in February. Significant property tax cuts, the elimination of corporate income taxes, and various incentives for job creation are proposals that Governor Scott promised during the campaign and are now eagerly awaited by the business community. However, his budget office will also face the challenge of a $3.5 billion deficit created by increasing Medicaid costs and the expiration of federal stimulus dollars.
The House and Senate have completed their respective organization and committee appointments. Committee appointments in both the House and Senate represent a considerable change in the composition of the transportation committees, and FATA has already started the process of educating the new appointees about those issues most important to the general aviation community.
It is still early in the legislative process, as few bills have been filed, but that will soon change, as House and Senate commit ees start meeting during the interim and before the March 8, 2010, start date for session. The three main issues expected o be addressed are the budget deficit, Medicaid managed are reform, and tort reform. For the first time four years it appears that the Governor’s office and legislative leadership are in agreement on most of the policy issues. If the apparent unity of priorities continues among the executive and legislative branch, we may see lightning-fast action on issues that heretofore have required years of deliberation and debate.
As for FATA’s legislative priorities, although we achieved a significant milestone last year with the passage of the use tax exemption legislation, your board of directors is committed to keeping the pressure on the legislature to remove statutory impediments to increasing the presence of general aviation business in Florida. As various legislative proposals are drafted and reviewed, we will let you know how you can assist in moving them forward—just like you did last year