TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is touting Florida's improving economy in a State of the State speech that makes a case for re-election as much as it lays out his plan for the final year of his first term.

In the prepared version of Tuesday's address, Scott talks about the economic mess Florida was in when he took office just more than three years ago.

He then discusses Florida's improving employment picture and takes credit for making the state more business friendly by cutting regulations and lowering taxes.

Scott could be facing his predecessor, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, when he seeks a second term in November.

Without naming Crist, the speech clearly draws a contrast in the state's economy during each of the governor's terms.

"Let's be honest about it," Scott said. "We inherited a terrible mess."

Scott said his administration did the "politically hard thing" by trimming the state’s budget.

"When the hard thing is the right thing, we need to have the courage to the hard thing, and we did," Scott said.