State Address Tackles Jobs, Disregards Health and Immigration

Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez, Senator Oscar Braynon II and
Senator Jeff Clemens address crowd of immigrant coalitions outside of House of Representatives. 

Governor Rick Scott heavily focused on jobs, tax cuts and small business incentives during the 2016 State of the State address Tuesday morning at the Capitol.

Scott expounded upon two objectives: continuing what’s worked for the past five year and diversifying the economy and helping small businesses grow.

To progress his objectives, Scott introduced a $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund, and plans to cut taxes for business owners by $1 billion.

The Florida Enterprise Fund is a new trust fund where incentive fund dollars will remain untouched in the state treasury until companies under job creation contracts meet their job requirements. This will allow the state’s investment to accrue more interest than the current escrow account.

“Our $1 billion tax cut package and creation of Florida Enterprise Fund will be key elements to make Florida first for jobs in the nation for years to come. Lets work together to diversify our economy, help our weakest, our poorest and our most disadvantaged live their dreams and get a job,” Scott said to the crowd.

Some expressed discontent during the address because they felt as if they’ve heard Scott make the same speech in the past.

Dianne Williams-Cox, candidate for Florida House of Representatives for District 8, said that citizens of Gadsden and Leon counties need more and better jobs, and pay raises for state employees.

“[We don’t need] low-level paying jobs. We need jobs where people can earn a living and be able to take care of themselves,” Williams-Cox said.

As a 19-year veteran of the state employee system, Williams-Cox said she knows how hard state employees work to keep Florida moving forward.

“We really need to put monies in their pockets so they can use that to help keep the economy going,” Williams-Cox said.

Anne Williams, who works on Williams-Cox’s campaign, expressed that she is tired of hearing “the same spill over and over again.”

“So many people in the state of Florida are unemployed, living on the streets, with children are not being fed; I’m wondering where these millions of dollars are coming from,” Williams said.

Though Scott did not address immigration in his address, several immigrant coalition groups from south Florida stood outside the house chambers with organization banners, chanting “Si Se Puede – Yes We Can,” nearly disrupting the state address

We Are Florida Immigrant Coalition stands
outside State of the State address. 

Yvonne Stratford, member of the Miami Worker’s Center, voiced passionately that immigrants with children born here should not be deported, leaving their children behind.

“They’re a part of this as much as we are. They shouldn’t be running anybody out of this country. This is nobody’s country,” Stratford said.

Scott also didn’t address health care, a critical issue in District 8 that Williams-Cox said underlines every other matter.

“We’ve got to have a healthy citizenship so that we can get the good jobs and good quality education because if we’re not well, we cannot learn. Our children cannot learn, we cannot learn, and we won’t be able to get those good jobs so it all goes hand in hand,” Williams-Cox siad.