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Senate President Addresses Florida Economy
01/15/10 - 06:11 PM
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Elizabeth Cate - bio
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click for larger image Panama City, Fla:

There’s a rough road ahead as the state legislature prepares to restore the rocky economy. But positive signs, like construction and consumer spending, breed confidence among panhandle people.

“I think it’s getting better, we can still use a lot of help in a lot of areas,” said resident, Tanya Hill.

This year, the state government faces a $3 billion budget hole, but Senate President, Jeff Atwater believes he can help make a change.

“I’m not starting in a hole, I’m starting from scratch,” said Atwater.

He argues the answer to marketplace woes lies in a lean, limited government.

“If it’s not about feeding a child, if it’s not about schooling, if it’s not about healthcare needs, if it’s not about public safety, then now’s the time to eliminate it,” said Atwater.

As that fat is cut, which is about $8 billion in the past 24 moths, more than 1 million Floridians hope jobs are added.

“It is significant unemployment rates that we have not seen,” said Atwater.

The unemployment office is now a familiar place for many Floridians. The state unemployment rate sits at 11.5%.  That number is a little lower here in the Gulf Coast community, but it’s not about the numbers. It’s about real people like bay county’s own terry moore… Who recently lost his construction job.

“Makes me worried, we got bills, what are we going to do if we can’t pay all my bills?” said Moore.

Atwater says, the community concerns ring clear.

“The people of this community have a great pride and a sense of purpose and mission and I think they’d like to know that the people that they’ve charged with managing and operating their government, understand and appreciate that,” said Atwater.

Ultimately, it’s up to the representation to work from the ground up during the upcoming 60 day session.

Senator Atwater is also on the campaign trail to be the next Chief Financial Officer for the state.

The legislative session kicks back into gear on March 2nd.

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