May 8, 2009
Attached is a link to a video address from Governor Charlie Crist regarding the closing of the 2009 Florida legislative session.
Governor Charlie Crist’s Special Video Message
Regarding the Closing of Florida's 2009 Legislative Session
May 8, 2009
As the 2009 Florida legislative session comes to a close, I applaud the House and the Senate for putting together a budget that addresses the priorities of the people of Florida. I am grateful that during these challenging economic times, we have been able to avoid drastically reducing services.
I want to thank the Senate President and House Speaker for approving the use of $5.3 billion made available to us as a result of the federal stimulus package. These recovery dollars are helping us prevent deep cuts that would further burden Florida’s families and businesses.
We have also maximized dollars for education. We are able to increase per-student funding for Florida’s 2.6 million students. In addition, this summer I will begin negotiating an agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida based on the guidelines developed by the Legislature. The resulting compact can help create even more dollars for students and teachers in our schools.
I also commend the Legislature for approving the higher education reform that I proposed last November. These reforms will move Florida’s higher education system into the 21st century by helping them compete on the national level. Now our universities will have the resources they need to retain top faculty and researchers. They will also continue to provide access for low-income students and families.
In this tight budget year, we are continuing to invest in economic development and workforce training to strengthen our economy. We have been able to avoid deep cuts in services for our most vulnerable – and our children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. And we are maintaining Florida’s commitment to restore America’s Everglades and conserve public lands through Florida Forever.
Last year, voters approved the largest tax cut in Florida history by lowering property taxes by an estimated $25 billion over five years. I remain committed to reducing the tax burden on Florida’s homeowners and property owners even more. And we are lowering the tax burden of Florida’s property owners.
I applaud the Legislature for proposing Constitutional amendments that will allow the voters of Florida to choose whether to lower the annual property-tax increase on non-homesteaded properties from 10 percent to 5 percent. Voters will also choose whether to grant first-time Florida homebuyers a 25 percent property-tax exemption. And we have leveled the playing field between taxpayers and property appraisers when a property owner challenges the appraiser’s assessment.
I look forward to carefully considering the Legislature’s budget proposals during the next several weeks. I am confident that Florida’s brightest days are ahead of us. I am committed to working hard to improve the quality of life for the people of Florida.
Thank you, and God bless Florida.
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Thank you and God bless. It is a privilege and honor to serve you as Governor.
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