My administration began at a historic moment when voters decided we needed reform. We responded by restoring honesty, transparency and accountability to government. Together with the County Commission, I led the way to cut bureaucracy, saving taxpayers over $400 million and delivering the largest tax cut in county history.
This may be good enough for some, but we still have a long way to go. While we face challenges, I will never stop fighting for the citizens of Miami-Dade County and for what I believe is right. Today, the state of our county is strong because we embrace the opportunities provided by our challenges, and we are moving forward, together.
Miami-Dade is now among the 10 most populous counties in the nation.
This growth is placing a burden on our infrastructure. Our challenge is to balance this growth while ensuring residents continue to receive the services they deserve, and most important, remaining fiscally sustainable. I will always protect the interests of the taxpayers, which is why I will present a balanced budget that holds the line on taxes.
We are taking the opportunity to reform the way we serve people by stretching every public dollar and pursuing opportunities to seek greater efficiencies, including partnering with the private sector. Today, we are more streamlined and focused on our core missions of maintaining public safety and delivering services, especially our young and elderly.
We continue to enhance our status as a global commercial and cultural crossroads by investing in the things that add value to our sense of place and community. Trade and tourism continue to grow, and our top two economic engines, the airport and seaport, are breaking records in terms of visitors and activity.
Ultimately, everything we do is seen through the lens of expanding economic opportunities for all residents, and it all affects our bottom line. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest since the start of the Great Recession, but it’s still not low enough.
As the world’s economy continues to evolve, our challenge becomes making sure we have the workforce to compete in this new economy. I chair the One Community One Goal effort that links business and government with education to create a workforce development continuum that aligns with target industries. This ensures that young people get an early start on obtaining the knowledge to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. We are also seeking innovative ways to connect libraries, parks, and arts and culture into neighborhood centers for our children to learn.
By having a well-prepared workforce, we are fostering the growth of our creative class. Miami is now viewed internationally as the emerging location for start-up companies. In May, I will host mayors from throughout the world for a summit to develop ways in which technology can improve our communities.
Finally, the world sees us as one Miami, and it’s time we see ourselves the same way. This is why I am seeking ways to further connect our communities by leading the policy team that will create the blueprint for Bay Link, bringing downtown Miami and Miami Beach closer, and giving us the mobility choices our community deserves.
We are also working in unprecedented ways with the mayors of Broward and Palm Beach counties to find areas of cooperation in transit, the environment, and commerce.
By seeking greater connectivity, we all work together to ensure that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to prosper.
The people of Miami-Dade County have given me a great responsibility over our collective future, and I will not let them down.
I pledge to move our community forward, to work together so that we can look back and say we turned our challenges into opportunities, and we left Miami-Dade County a better place for everyone.