Up in Tallahassee, Gov. Rick Scott's "State of the State" speech was all the buzz Tuesday.
But I'm guessing most of you missed it, having more pressing things to do — like work, care for your kids or watch paint dry.
So I'm here to help, breaking down 35 minutes and 3,400 words into bite-size chunks.
•This is a massive budget. Scott's proposed budget of $74.2 billion is the largest in Florida's history.
•The biggest winners: Teachers. They would get $2,500 raises. Scott proposed this increase, because … well, teachers put the fear of God in him. Seriously, you've never seen so many mild-mannered English-lit instructors ready to boil a bald man in oil after Scott gutted their budgets. So this is Scott's attempt to make nice. (Word of warning, teachers: Don't go blowing that money yet. The Legislature may shoot it down.)
•Other big winners: Corporations. No real surprise here. In fact, remember "It's a Wonderful Life" — when they said that, every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings? Well, in Florida, every time a legislative gavel bangs, a corporate lobbyist's dreams come true. This year, Scott wants to once again lower corporate income taxes (98 percent of for-profits already pay nothing) and give another $140 million break to manufacturers.
•Help for victims of human trafficking. They wouldn't do as well as the corporations, but these tragic victims would score $1.5 million in much-needed funding for safe-houses under Scott's budget. It's a good start.
•Restoring (some) help for the disabled. Two years ago, Scott recommended cutting $174 million from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. On Tuesday, he said he wanted to increase funding for the disabled by $34 million.
•Florida finally ties America on lousy economy. Scott bragged about Florida's 7.9 percent unemployment rate — not because it's particularly good, but because, for the first time since Scott took office, it's not worse than America's at large. It's a tie.
Deciphering key lines
Fact-checking and explaining some of Scott's key lines:
The line: "It's working."
The deal: This is Scott's new catchphrase. With the economy improving, he wants Floridians to buy into his pitch that, whatever he's doing: "It's working."
The line: "Some say they are afraid that giving raises to all teachers may mean that a teacher doing a bad job gets rewarded."
The deal: Those people are right. In fact, the $2,500-across-the-board raises are completely at odds with Scott's preaching about merit pay — which is why some of Scott's GOP peers believe this raise plan is more politics than policy.
The line: "We came into office saying we wanted to create an environment that would encourage businesses to add 700,000 jobs over seven years."
The deal: This is unmitigated hogwash. Scott vowed to create 700,000 jobs "on top of what normal growth would be" — meaning 1.7 million new jobs, according to state economists. But Scott quickly learned he couldn't meet that goal. So he's been walking back his promise ever since.
The line: "In the four years before I took office, Florida lost more than 825,000 jobs … Unemployment more than tripled … State debt increased … Our housing market had collapsed … Our economy was off track …"
The deal: This line was aimed directly at former Gov. Charlie Crist … the guy some Democrats want to run again. View it as a sneak peek of the 2014 campaign season.
email@example.com or 407-420-6141