Gov. Rick Scott and GOP Senate candidate Adam Hasner spoke this weekend at RedState Gathering 2011, an event for conservative politicians and organizations who are looking toward the 2012 elections.
Scott and Hasner both told the audience that conservatives can govern better and that they will be able to take back the White House and take America in the right direction if they are willing to work hard to achieve those goals.
Scott said Florida is doing what needs to be done around the nation: cutting taxes and reducing the size of government. He said that he walked into the office with a $3.2 billion budget deficit and that for the fiscal year starting July 1, his office is projecting a $1.2 billion surplus.
Scott said his administration has done four things in education: eliminate more teacher tenure; pay teachers based on standardized test results; support and increase charter schools (which Scott defined as public schools run by a third party), and offer scholarships.
Scott said he rejected high-speed rail because the deal was that the federal government would give $2.4 billion, but the state would have had to put up $1 billion in construction costs. PolitiFact reported that Scott’s claim is false: “The state’s share to build the line would have been capped at around $280 million (and legislators hoped the final number would be even less).”
Scott also said that, in order to create jobs, he is reducing taxes, regulation, and litigation. He said “we generated 85,500 jobs,” balanced the budget, and cut property taxes by $210 million and business taxes for almost 50 percent of business owners in Florida.
When he spoke about immigration, Scott said that the federal government needs to secure the borders, create a legal immigration policy we understand, a work visa program that works and the authorities should be able to ask if a person is here illegally.
He added, “I tried to get a [immigration] bill passed last year. It got through the Senate. It didn’t make it through the House. It will happen this session.”
Adam Hasner started off saying he came from a Democratic household but gets his politics from Ronald Reagan, who according to Hasner, “didn’t manage America’s decline; he reversed it.” Hasner called Reagan “the original tea party insurgent.”
Hasner said the changes demand principles first and that is why he “believes so strongly in” and “was the first candidate to sign on” to cut, cap, and balance:
- Cut: Requires nearly $111 billion cuts in spending. Cuts would be made across the board and would include programs like environmental preservation and medical research.
- Cap: Enforces major spending caps and across-the-board budget cuts in an effort to shrink federal spending to about 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product starting in 2015.
- Balance: Requires both houses of Congress to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which will require a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses in order to raise taxes.
He added, “We need to be aggressive on sweeping tax reform to flatten and simplify the tax code,” and lower tax rates to individuals and businesses. He called tax reform a “matter of fairness.”
“President Obama wants 4,200 new regulations on businesses,” Hasner also said, claiming that the EPA wants 330 new regulations on everything from farms to business sites. He called for domestic energy exploration and a shakeup of government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board, which Hasner said advances the “big labor agenda.”
Hasner also called for the repeal of “ObamaCare,” saying it is a $1 trillion “nightmare that will make our health care system worse, not better.”
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This event was sponsored by Heritage Action for America, FreedomWorks, the Faith, and Freedom Coalition, Let Freedom Ring, and South Carolina Fair Tax, organizations that actively promote, among other conservative policies, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, strong support for school choice and anti-abortion policies.
Full video of Hasner’s speech: