Scott's major focus has been and will continue to be jobs and, of course, that is an appropriate concern for any Governor, particular one in a heavily populated state. And while statistically he has created a lot of jobs in an improving economy, questions remain about the type and quality of those jobs. For example, how many of the new jobs are part time? How many are good quality, high paying jobs? Finally, and most importantly, how many of those jobs being created are filled by Florida residents who have been out of work? This last one is critical for job creation wherein jobs and people move from one location to the other, while helping a particular local economy, does nothing to improve the national situation. Robbing from Peter to pay Paul has never been particularly advantageous.
I brought up this last point because the Governor made it clear in his speech that he wants to bring in new jobs and more people from out of state. Florida is already under some major stresses from growth earlier in this century and growth needs to be careful and take into consideration those things that make Florida beautiful. Today the Sunshine State has an estimated population of 19.9 million people and has just within the last month jumped into the position of third most populated state in the country, behind California (over 38 million) and Texas (26 million plus). This supposed good news brings with it a host of problems.
While Florida is the third most populous state, it ranks twenty-second in size. Texas is second and California is third; Texas being four and one half times in land size as Florida and California about two and one half times larger. So Florida is already more heavily populated per square mile than either of the two others and with this comes critical infrastructure, lifestyle and ecological problems.
What do people think of most when they think of Florida, excluding the man made theme parks? The answers are beautiful beaches and tropical settings with crystal clear springs and exotic areas with unique animals. All of these pluses which have made Florida such a great tourist destination are under great stress today and the lack of discipline that has often been displayed in zoning and development is quickly making things worse.
Here's a good example. With the state's population growth, there still remains enough land zoned for population growth to allow the state's population to grow by over four hundred percent. Think about that. Florida could have nearly one hundred million residents in a state that is not particularly large. Now this will not, of course, happen overnight but with the blue states going broke and raising taxes on everything, many look to relocate to sunny, warmer climes. And therein lies the problem: the wonderful Florida aquifer, the source of water for the entire state is dropping in its level and shows serious infusion of pollution and sediment which are turning the once crystal clear water to a murky mess. Mother Nature (i.e., God) is sending a message and no one is listening.
But back to jobs for a minute. Large numbers of lower skilled and older workers are now out of work. So I would ask Governor Scott, don't you think the priority should be bringing jobs here that need to be filled by our existing residents? After all, in the huge overbuilding of the early 2000's, the number of new residents swelled dramatically while many locals were out of luck. And with amnesty, the lower skilled amongst us are going to be passed over by what heretofore had been illegals, a problem which Florida has had in the trades for a long time. So I would ask the Governor to consider a little bit of better planning and more accurate statistical accountability so that his performance can be accurately measured, not by total numbers but by what was accomplished to truly help the citizens of our state.
And that leaves us finally with a couple of other questions for the good Governor. What are you going to do with a huge influx and people and jobs when the wells run dry? And do you really think that the beauty of Florida's natural wilds, when overbuilt with highways and condos at every mile post, is going to do under this onslaught to continue to attract those who are our best customers: tourists? Think about that before you blindly support developers and builders who create gigantic monstrosities that are not sustainable, then run out of state before the true results take effect. You, Governor Scott, will be able to go anywhere you want and live like a prince when your second term is over. The rest of us have to live with what is left.
Let's keep the beauty and glory of Florida in place and use common sense, not tax coffer greed, as Florida moves forward. For no matter how much money we put into tax coffers, politicians and bureaucrats will always want more. And for those of you in other states, watch things carefully. You face the same problems that we do.