Charles Caulkins, managing partner, Fisher & Phillips

Last week: The economy seems to be improving, but at a sputtering pace.

Looking ahead: Florida needs to do more to encourage the job creators. We can become a major manufacturing state, if we want. This would further diversify our economy and produce more high-wage jobs for Floridians. The Florida Legislature can help immensely by eliminating the sales and use tax on all machinery and equipment for manufacturing. This would make Florida much more competitive with other Southern states.

Aug. 25

Last week: Education. With K-12 schools starting back this week, what system do we have in place to monitor the effectiveness of our education programs?

Next week: The FCAT process has served us well. It is now generally accepted that we must have processes in place to measure the quality of our education system. Our leaders are starting the debate of this evolving process as we move to Common Core teaching. We need a good dialogue with parents, teachers and students to come up with a Florida plan for assessment, quickly.