Gov. Rick Scott bagged 40 more jobs Tuesday at the expense of Kentucky, a state that has two things Scott doesn’t like: an income tax and a Democratic governor.
Or was it at the expense of Ohio, a state with a Republican governor?
Scott’s two-day trip to the Bluegrass State marks his fourth visit to a Democratic-led state in recent months to poach jobs. He earlier visited Connecticut, California and Pennsylvania.
After winning re-election last year with a big boost from the Republican Governors Association, Scott doesn’t invade states run by his fellow Republicans. That might appear ungrateful.
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But he came awfully close Tuesday.
Soon after landing in Lexington, Scott announced that an aerospace company that provides support services for commercial and military aircraft will add 40 jobs to its South Florida workforce by 2017.
Three weeks ago, Scott’s jobs recruiters signed papers giving $160,000 in state and local tax breaks to 1st Source Aerospace in return for creating new jobs at its plant in Miramar. The contract says the average wage of 1st Source’s jobs will be $66,000 a year.
Trumpeting the new jobs, Scott made much of Kentucky’s income tax and closed-shop union rules.
But until Tuesday afternoon, the company website showcased its “Florida location” and “Ohio location.” The firm has a base near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which is located in Hebron, Ky., south of the Ohio River that separates Ohio and Kentucky.
The site had listed Hebron as its “Ohio location,” but changed it later Tuesday to its “CVG/Kentucky location” after the Times/Herald highlighted the Ohio reference.
CVG, the designated abbreviation for Cincinnati’s airport, stands for Covington, Ky., the closest city to the airport.
A spokesman for Enterprise Florida, the Scott-led partnership that helps recruit jobs to the state, disputed the idea that Scott was indirectly raiding Ohio, whose governor, John Kasich, is a Republican and a presidential candidate.
“This is a Kentucky company that pays taxes in Kentucky that has decided to take its expansion and job creation to Florida’s low tax, business-friendly environment,” Enterprise Florida spokesman Stephen Lawson said.
Scott and Kentucky have a history. When Scott was president of Columbia/HCA, the hospital giant relocated its corporate headquarters from Louisville to Nashville in 1995 amid merger talks with a Tennessee hospital firm, rejecting offers from Florida and other states that wanted the company’s big payroll.