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As legislators return to Tallahassee for the 2011 session, they are once again facing a sizable budget shortfall and difficult spending decisions. In February, Florida Gov. Rick Scott presented a $65.9 billion budget that promised to cut $5 billion in government spending. To compensate for the lack of revenue, cuts are being discussed in major areas such as social programs, education, and health care.

Deficits are not the only topic on lawmakers’ agendas. Driven by months of double-digit unemployment rates, politicians of every stripe — from the “Let’s get to work” governor to the rank-and-file — are focused on job creation and economic rejuvenation. Debate is occurring at all levels on policy options that will make Florida a more welcoming place to do business. Gov. Scott is advocating forcefully to slash and eventually eliminate corporate income taxes and to reform the regulatory process. Scott has often declared his disdain for regulation, claiming it adversely impacts job growth.

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