By Michael Newberger | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by Phil Sunkel
One of the largest sources of criticism for the current administration has been the decrease of funding to education. But Scott told members of the St. Augustine and St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce that he is adamant that options such as charter schools and coupons to private schools are the solution to problems of the educational system.
When asked about the Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG) — a state grant that helps a large number of Florida students attend private colleges — he said he would support whatever school is providing the best value for its pupils.
“We want to spend the state dollars as efficiently as we can,” Scott said. “No one has a monopoly on great education and when you have children you want what’s best for them.”
The Governor was joined by Florida House Rep. Bill Proctor and Florida Sen. John Thrasher to discuss with leaders of local businesses what they had accomplished this last legislative session and what they hope to achieve in the future.
The main focus of the discussion was improving the environment for business in Florida and streamlining government. The consensus of both the Governor and the businessmen was that government spending was too rampant and impeding growth in the state.
Scott outlined some of the accomplishments of his administration which included lowering the unemployment rate from 12 percent to a little over 10 and a half percent. Florida also has a 1.2 billion dollar surplus on its 69 billion dollar budget, which Scott feels is mainly thanks to his controversial cuts for state programs.
Bringing in companies from other states and even countries is also a focus of the Governor, which he feels will help bring in large amount of jobs to curb unemployment further. Scott has recently gone on an economic mission to Canada to woo potential businesses and is planning one to Brazil in the future. He also discussed plans to improve Jacksonville’s port to become a world contender on the East Coast.