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Gov's staff say job cuts will spur job growth

By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-951263.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Florida lawmakers are doing a line by line review of Governor Rick Scott's first budget proposal. James Call reports members of a House subcommittee are questioning his assumption that cuts in taxes and government spending creates jobs.

Governor Rick Scott proposes cutting spending by 4.6 billion dollars and eliminating 86-hundred state government jobs. When he unveiled his spending plan he called it Florida's first jobs budget. Brett Raymond is a policy coordinator in the governor's office. He gave a budget presentation to the House government oversight subcommittee and fielded this question from North Miami Beach Representative John Julian about Scott's plan which would leave thousands of state employees without a job.

"Seven steps, seven hundred jobs in seven years. How does eliminating so many positions create jobs?"

"The question was asked of the governor the other day, Mr. Chair. He believes by shrinking government we are reducing the burden on the tax payer and on the business man. We are returning more dollars back to them so that they can create private sector jobs and those are the kinds of jobs that the governor would like to see created that is private sector. So that anyone who is let go from the state as they create jobs in the private sector he expects them to fill those."

The governor's proposal would also cut property taxes by a billion dollars and the corporate income tax by 1.5 billion dollars over two years. The coupling of tax cuts with job creation led to this exchange between Julian and Raymond.

"If you help me to save money in a business I am already running very efficiently, streamlined and you help my bottom line. I'm not necessarily going to hire more people I'm just going to pocket more money, so. How do we create 700 thousand jobs?"

"You're competitor may want to make more than you and try to take what you are making away from you and he or she may take those folks who are no longer working for the state and expand their business thereby creating more revenue for the state if we need it and expanding the economy at the same time."

The state spending plan begins in July. In March, lawmakers will receive an official estimate on how much money the state will have to spend. The governor proposes spending 65 point 9 billion dollars next year. Committee members told Raymond they have a lot of questions about the plan.