An unapologetic Gov. Rick Scott offered no regrets Wednesday about how he has handled the Florida Legislature, even while lawmakers have continued to butcher his legislative agenda on job incentive programs and tax cuts.
Over the last six months, Scott spent millions of dollars on television ads, took a bus tour around the state and tried to cajole business leaders to pressure legislators to give him his priority items.
It hasn’t worked.
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Legislators are on the verge of passing a state budget containing only a tenth of the $1 billion in tax cuts he asked for and no money for his job creation fund — a signature issue of his tenure as governor.
“My responsibility as governor is to do exactly what I ran on in 2010 and 2014,” Scott said of his campaign promises to create jobs. “There is no question what I ran on. I’m very committed to doing everything I can, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Scott said if the Legislature continues to refuse to give him $250 million for his job creation program, called the Enterprise Fund, it will result in lost jobs. The Republican governor said he has about 277 job recruitment projects on the table now that could generate another 50,000 jobs.
“Individuals are not going to have a job because of this decision,” Scott said, after a meeting of the Florida Cabinet.
Scott would not directly address growing speculation in the Capitol that he might veto the entire state budget — something that has not happened in Florida politics in decades. That would force legislators to return to Tallahassee for a special session to complete a budget.
“We still have 9 or 10 days left in this legislative session,” Scott said when asked directly about vetoes. “Let’s see what happens with the budget, then I will review the budget.”
Scott reminded reporters three times during the interview that after the Legislature passes a budget, he gets final say through the power of the veto. If Scott vetoed the whole budget, the Senate and House would have to agree to meet in a special session and either pass a new budget or override his veto by a two-thirds vote.
In addition to rejecting the governor’s jobs incentives fund and his ambitious tax cuts, lawmakers also have not endorsed a gambling agreement that Scott signed with the Seminole Tribe.