KEEP TAXES LOW
During my first two years in office, I worked with my colleagues to help pass $1.3 billion in lower taxes for working families, small businesses, and active military and veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country. I will continue to work to keep taxes low because hard-working families deserve to keep more of what they earn.
As a small business owner, I know first-hand the challenges of meeting a payroll and dealing with burdensome regulations. We need to eliminate outdated regulations and government overreach so we can continue to grow jobs. I am committed to nurturing a sustainable business friendly climate that grows our jobs and and attracts new 21st Century business opportunities.
INCREASE SCHOOL FUNDING
I think everyone agrees that our public education system is improving in Florida. As our economy improves in Florida, population growth and state revenues are increasing too. We must increase state and local funding to ensure that every student has more options to get an education that prepares them for a 21st Century job market. Adequate funding and accountability go hand in hand. More and better education opportunities for our students in each school should be rewarded with greater funding from the state. For example, when a student completes a college level course while in high school, the school should be financially rewarded from state resources, as it currently is for workforce accreditation.
SAVE OUR ESTUARIES
Water is the lifeblood of South Florida's economy and quality of life. Plentiful, clean water drives our tourism industry, our fishing industry and our real estate market. Water supply and water quality is the most urgent issue facing Florida. We must protect our precious water resources and ecosystems. Complicated problems require comprehensive solutions and all parties working together.
As a legislator, I have fought diligently for state resources to be directed toward protecting our estuaries by reducing the damaging fresh water flows and I have secured funding for beach re-nourishment.
Florida is experiencing increases in economic growth, tax revenues and population growth. We must increase funding to protect all our natural resources and increase water supply to meet increasing demand for potable water.
Concerning Lake Okeechobee, we have two converging problems. First, we must fix the Hubert Hoover Dike ASAP, because our estuaries are getting “too much fresh water at the wrong time”. We must also spend tax dollars to fund more water storage and water diversion projects, to dramatically decrease harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges during our rainy season.
Secondly, we must do more to regulate and reduce nutrient pollution at its source. I support state matching funds and state/local bonding to finance critically important point source pollution projects.
Medicaid is the healthcare program that helps low income families or individuals pay their medical expenses. Florida spends 20% of state funds on Medicaid, which is also the national average. The top 5 states by population are California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. The top 5 states in Medicaid spending are California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Everyone needs affordable healthcare. Historically, the Medicaid portion of the state budget has increased the fastest of any budget item, including education. Government assistance creates new questions. Who decides who gets, and how much? Some argue that young, able-bodied single adults should be excluded from Medicaid. And how do you monitor all the payments to prevent fraud? That pushes the discussion back to the marketplace and competition, where people making decisions in their own self-interest provides the greatest opportunity to distribute resources at the lowest cost.
2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
Public Safety and 2nd Amendment rights are the critically important issues that the Florida Legislature had to balance following the shooting at MSD High School. The legislation was a bi-partisan first step that we took to address mental health, gun rights, and government accountability. Government at federal, state, and local levels failed to prevent the loss of 17 students by a fellow student that was mentally deficient and allowed to possess firearms. New requirements to share information amongst all government agencies can dramatically reduce such incidents if bad actors are reported and eventually prosecuted.
The ‘red flag’ provision addresses gun restrictions. It allows law enforcement with court oversight to remove firearms from a mentally deficient person immediately, and search for firearms later. The law also added minor and temporary gun restrictions to make it more difficult for under age students to obtain firearms. I do not support additional broad gun bans.
The state of Florida received the Triple A Bond rating in July 2018. Florida is ranked the lowest tax state among the top 5 in population, and 4th nationally. Florida has decreased its debt by $10 billion since 2008. By comparison, twenty -two states have not replenished their rainy day funds since 2008.
Our best defense against an unknown future is to increase government transparency and fiscal accountability. Lower taxes spur our economy and state revenues increase, allowing us to appropriate more tax dollars for local and state- wide projects to protect our natural resources, improve our infrastructure and improve education.