Scott keeps pressure on Legislators
Standing in a zoo, Gov. Rick Scott made clear today that he’s not done handing out political retribution to state legislators who have dared oppose him on two of his biggest priorities.
At the Brevard Zoo, Scott ripped into state Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, for being one of 9 Republicans that voted to eliminate funding for the state’s primary economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, and Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency.
Scott told business and tourism leaders that the committee Fine sits on decided “we’re not going to spend any more money on marketing our state. We’re not going to spend any more money trying to get jobs from other states.”
Scott said Fine’s vote was hard to take because of his background in business.
“What’s even more frustrating is that you have a local state Rep that’s a business person - Randy Fine - and he’s saying the same things,” Scott said with television camera’s rolling.
Fine said he would not comment until he heard all of Scott’s comments. But on Wednesday, Fine sent Scott a letter that read as a warning for him to not call him out by name.
“Rather than us talking at each other in the media, I’d prefer to talk to you in person,” Fine wrote in the letter he delivered to the Governor’s office. “It’s much easier for me to make a five minute elevator trip from the 14th floor to the first floor of the Capitol than you to fly to the Brevard Zoo.”
Clearly it didn’t cause Scott to change his plans. Scott’s trip to Brevard marked the five stop this week to a district of a Republican on the House subcommittee that voted to kill the bill. In each stop, Scott has been sure to call out members by name for voting to kill the two agencies. Later today, he was expected to be in St. Cloud, the home district of Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud.
La Rosa expected the visit. On Wednesday he said he welcomed the governor visiting with business leaders in St. Cloud, but doesn’t regret his vote at all.
“Because I think it was the right vote,” La Rosa said.
Scott’s stops in La Rosa’s and Fine’s backyards come as House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, released a new 3 minute video that shows how Florida taxpayers gave millions of dollars to companies to locate in Florida that later went bankrupt. But both examples in the video - Sanford Burnham and Digital Domain - are from deals struck before Scott was elected.
Scott has argued that there are now protections in place that require companies to create jobs before they get their money. In addition, there are provisions that require companies to maintain the jobs for years, otherwise they face the potential of clawbacks.