RECHARGING THE ECONOMY
Throughout this past Session, we stayed focused on our responsibility to Florida's families and businesses. Every budget decision and every bill was viewed through the lens of getting Florida's economy back on track and helping create jobs for Floridians. We took important steps forward to incentivize new businesses, stimulate job creation and remove barriers to economic growth in Florida. In particular: we continued forward with reforming Florida's workers' compensation system to prevent job losses and help job creation in the state; we created jobs and increased economic development by expediting the permitting process and construction projects identified by local governments as target industry businesses; we also created economic incentives to encourage business growth across the state--our budget provided $13.5 million in the Quick Action Closing Fund to attract new companies to Florida which offer high wage jobs; and we increased funding for Film and Entertainment Incentives to attract more film and entertainment projects to the state which employ thousands of Florida workers (such incentives result in seven dollars back to the state for every dollar invested).
We know that home sales will provide important fuel for Florida's economic recovery. Our budget also helps out Florida's families directly by providing $30 million for first-time homebuyers. Because I value our limited state dollars, and believe that no one should be allowed to game the state retirement system, I supported legislation to end the process known as double-dipping. During the 2009 Legislative Session, we closed the loophole that has allowed a growing number of elected officials and state employees to collect retirement benefits and a state salary at the same time. We also continued our commitment to lending a helping hand to those Floridians who have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn.