Scott has other fights, though.
He fiercely opposes raising college tuition and the Senate agrees, but the House insists on an increase between 3 percent and 6 percent. The House would have to capitulate to Scott or risk him vetoing part of the budget.
The Senate may not confirm one of Scott’s top appointees, Dr. John Armstrong, the state surgeon general and a former official at USF’s medical school.
On economic incentives, Scott, the “jobs governor,” wanted $278 million to attract and keep businesses, but the Legislature appears unwilling to approve anywhere near that amount.
On Sunday, as budget negotiations continued, the Senate offered $75 million, which includes $26 million unspent in this year’s budget, and the House was proposing $62 million.
Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, who oversees economic incentives in the House, said Scott’s team hasn’t spent all the money is has in the current year’s budget so it makes no sense to ask for more.
“We don’t want to kill incentives. We think they’re important,” Hooper said. “But we can’t just park $200-plus million off to the side for the governor to use as he sees fit.”
On Medicaid, Scott supports accepting the federal money and predicts that the Legislature will “do the right thing.”
Fasano remains puzzled by Scott’s relative silence on the need to expand the Medicaid program to cover an additional 1 million Floridians.
A two-decade veteran of the Capitol who has served with four governors, Fasano said Scott should seize the moment and order lawmakers into special sessions until they agree to take the federal Medicaid money, estimated at $51 billion over three years.
“I don’t get it. What does he have to lose?” Fasano said. “His political life is on the line.”