- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott plans to start his second term in office focusing on the same themes he stressed during his first four years in office, mainly limiting the size of government and cutting taxes to help Florida recover from the Great Recession.

The Republican chief executive will underscore those goals when he is sworn in on Tuesday.

“While we are focused on growing jobs in Florida, we must realize that positions our state as a fighter in a great movement against the silent growth of government,” according to an excerpt of Scott’s speech provided by his office. “Many states, like Florida, are fighting to limit the growth of government and grow opportunity instead.”

One of Scott’s top priorities is to cut taxes by $1 billion over the next two years. His speech also will include the argument that his push to cut taxes has helped increase the state’s population to the nation’s third-largest, the ranking previously held by New York state.

But as Scott is sworn in on the steps of the Old Capitol, he is not expected to announce any large initiatives, or enact sweeping new policies like he did during his first few months in office. Instead, he is pledging to keep up his commitment to attract new businesses to the state and create jobs. As part of the inaugural ceremonies, the governor plans to let four people who have gotten jobs or have started businesses since 2011 speak. He is also vowing to resume his effort to lure companies to Florida from other states such as New York and California.

“In addition to cutting taxes, we have an ambitious agenda to keep Florida working and become the global leader for job creation by the year 2020,” Scott said in the preliminary speech excerpt.

Four years ago Scott contended that taxes, regulations and lawsuits were creating an “axis of unemployment” and that the state had enough money to meet its needs. A few weeks after making that declaration, Scott proposed massive cuts in state spending and large cuts in taxes.

Scott did cut taxes during his first term, but nowhere near as much as he promised during his 2010 campaign. The number of state employees also dropped, as legislators cut state spending due to budget shortfalls - but when the economy began improving last year, Scott signed into law one of the largest state budgets ever.

Rep. Alan Williams, a Tallahassee Democrat, said he understands Scott’s push to limit the size of government, but he said the governor should reward state employees and make sure they are fairly compensated. State workers have only gotten one pay raise in recent years.

Practicing a bit of what he is preaching, Scott also has scaled back the traditional size of the inauguration.

He is not holding a large black-tie inaugural ball or a parade through the capital’s streets, as has been the case in past years. Instead, he is holding a formal reception at the mansion, along with a prayer breakfast and an event honoring members of the military and their families. Scott also has held several informal barbecues at businesses around the state.

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