It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget focuses on military, education and community values

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.  –  Governor Rick Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” enables the Florida National Guard to remain ready and be successful in its national, state and local missions. 

Governor Scott’s recommended budget of $78.5 million will assist the Florida Department of Military Affairs targets with enhanced facilities, for education incentives for Guardsmen through the Education Dollars for Duty program, and community programs operated out of armories for Florida citizens.    

Governor Scott’s recommended budget includes $12.5 million to renovate five National Guard Readiness Centers (armories) that serve as the core of our hometown-based units.  The ongoing renovation and recurring maintenance of aging armories throughout the state is critical to the readiness of Florida National Guard members.  The National Guard will use these facilities for their training and are also key facilities during domestic emergencies that require Guardsmen to mobilize. 

Under Governor Scott’s leadership, many of these centers have already been revitalized which greatly increased the Florida National Guard’s ability to gain new units with increased capabilities and made the buildings more energy efficient.  Additionally, keeping these facilities upgraded enhances the morale of the force, helping attract and keep valued Soldiers and Airmen. 

Additional funding totaling $1 million will cover maintenance, repair and future upgrade costs of the armories which have already been revitalized.  These armories have proven to have an economic impact of nearly $477 million to the state and are valued at nearly $313 million. 

Governor Scott’s budget also recommends funding of $2.5 million for the design and construction of a 10,000 square- foot facility for the Florida Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group.  This facility will contribute to this specialized unit’s ongoing training and readiness and allow them to move out of their current facility which was constructed in the 1950s, and is deteriorating because of leaking roofs and mold. 

The Florida National Guard appreciates Governor Scott’s commitment to the education of its military members by recommending additional funding of $1.7 million for the “Educational Dollars for Duty” (EDD), bringing the total funding up to the needed $3.5 million to maintain the program. 

“One of the great opportunities the Florida National Guard has to offer is being able to continue our education – not just to obtain a higher education level – but to build our knowledge base for the National Guard and life itself,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw said.  “Thanks to Governor Scott’s leadership we have the opportunity to encourage our members to pursue higher education.”  

The Florida National Guard hosts many community-related programs that add value back to Florida communities.  Two of the key programs receiving continued funding are Forward March and About Face, for which Governor Scott recommends funding totaling $2 million. 

Forward March has been offered to young adults ages 18 to 21 since 1998.  The program provided more than 9,000 Floridians the services they need to seek, secure and succeed in a high-demand profession.  Participants receive instruction in authoring resumes and cover letters, preparing for and succeeding in interviews, and excelling and advancing in the workplace. The year-round program also features an effective job-placement component.

About Face provides youth ages 14 to 18 with life skills training in key areas such as critical thinking and decision making, practical skills such as the development of a personal budget and management of a checking account, and basic work skills.  Since 1997, more than 25,000 youth have used the program as a launching pad to greater academic, life, and career success.

Readiness is a key to the success of the Florida National Guard.  Despite significant challenges from the federal government with sequestration and furloughs in 2013, the Florida National Guard continued to respond to the needs of our state and nation. 

“The Florida National Guard forces, supported by the Florida Department of Military Affairs, have answered the call of our nation for more than a decade and have mobilized more than 17,000 deployments for federal missions alone,” states Maj. Gen. Titshaw.  “Our commitment to state emergencies is just as strong.  Governor Scott’s recommended funding for state missions and readiness will continue to ensure the Florida National Guard sustains the momentum already established and that we meet the demands of an unknown future.”

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The “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” highlights are available HERE. <http://bit.ly/1eg6q5W>

The “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” FAQ is available HERE <http://bit.ly/1mXaAAB> .

The “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” prepared remarks by Governor Scott are available HERE. <http://bit.ly/Mupkfj>

The full “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” is available HERE <http://flitsyourmoney.com/>

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What they are saying:

 Representative Travis Cummings said, “Florida’s military installations are vital to Florida in so many ways, from defending our citizens to billions in economic impact. I applaud Governor Scott’s efforts and strong Department of Military Affairs Budget for prioritizing these needed funds to the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. These funds will provide important new systems for the base, allowing it to operate as effectively as possible.”

Bill Garrison, Executive Director, Clay County Economic Development Council said:  “We are pleased that Gov. Scott continues to strongly support Florida’s National Guard, and especially pleased that Camp Blanding is receiving funding to build a new facility for the National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group. Not only will that project provide a new home for soldiers that certainly deserve it, but it will also provide construction jobs for northeast Florida. Camp Blanding has been an integral part of life in Clay County for nearly 75 years, and it is exciting to see the base being modernized so that it can continue to provide training and protection for generations to come.”     

Capt. Harvey Rocha, Operations Officer with the Florida Army National Guard’s 260th Military Intelligence Battalion, stated:  “It’s vital and important for our soldiers to benefit from renovated armories.  They are motivated and eager to receive training with upgraded structure and equipment to better enhance their skills and serve our communities.”