Scott's State of the State Address - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Scott's State of the State Address

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Tallahassee, Fla. -

All eyes were on the state capitol Tuesday morning as Governor Rick Scott delivered his third State of the State address. Topping the Governor's list of priorities: the economy, education and Medicaid.

Scott says he came before the chambers two years ago with a crippling debt, record unemployment numbers and a downward spiral of job losses. However, on Tuesday, his tone was different; touting the work of his administration, which has tried to cut taxes, create jobs and now shifting to education reform.

"We cut taxes, we eliminated thousands of regulations on job creators and we paid down state debt for two years in a row," Scott said.

This year Scott called upon lawmakers to expand funding for education, more than $1.2 billion than the previous year. The hotly debated teacher evaluations and pay raises were also brought up; Scott is requesting that hard working teachers get a $2,500 pay raise. "We don't want a war on teachers; we want a war on failure," Scott said.

Also on the agenda, jobs. "We are now at 7.9% unemployment, and we aren't stopping there."

So was Medicaid. "I concluded that for three years the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care." Scott said.

Democrats responded, while Republicans also cautioned the road ahead. "I think he's made the right decision except I don't think it should be for just three years." Senator Eleanor Sobel (D)-Hollywood said.

"We are going to make sure that we do the right thing for our state. That we help those who are most vulnerable. But that we do not put our state at risk for years down the road." Speaker Pro Tempore Marti Coley said.

"I opposed Obamacare. I thought it was bad policy. But those issues have been settled at least at the federal level and what we have to do in Florida is to struggle with how this law will affect us." Senator Don Gaetz said.