Gov. Rick Scott lashed out at fellow Republicans in the Florida House on Tuesday — accusing them of not caring about jobs and of trying to kill his beloved job incentives and tourism marketing programs just to help House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s political future.
During a nearly 15-minute venting with reporters in Tallahassee, Scott ripped House Republicans for “lecturing” him about job incentives and for proposing legislation that would kill Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, two quasi-governmental agencies that are essential to Scott’s political agenda.
“When the House wants to stop Enterprise Florida, they are hurting our poorest communities. They’re hurting our rural communities,” Scott said. “When they want to say we don’t want to do any more marketing for Visit Florida what they are saying is that we don’t need any more jobs in tourism. Now what we’re seeing is, we’re seeing people that just want to run for higher office. They’re not concerned about what happens to other people.”
Scott was asked directly if he was saying the House was going after the programs because Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, might run for governor in 2018.
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“It’s pretty clear, if you’re not caring about people’s jobs you must be caring about something else,” he said. “I care about people’s jobs. What else can it be? How can anybody say they don’t want to help a poor family get a job? The only thing that would be is politics. You would never think this way in business.”
And there was more.
“But I’m extremely disappointed in the House’s actions,” Scott said. “They’re not thinking about the future of this state. The House doesn’t care about our rural communities, people who might be struggling for jobs, people who want better paying jobs.”
I have people who want to lecture me who have never done anything like this.
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott
Corcoran didn’t wait long to release a statement in response to Scott’s criticisms.
“I think the governor is a good man and a friend. However, we were elected to do what is right and clean up government, put an end to the waste of taxpayer money and end the culture of corruption,” Corcoran said. “The governor cannot be surprised that we will do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Whether it is EFI, Visit Florida, or Obamacare expansion, we never question the governor’s motives.”
When reporters tried to ask Scott a question about another topic, Scott refused, saying he liked the topic.
“This is so frustrating,” he said. “I just don’t understand how anybody can sit there and say they don’t care about a person getting a job. It’s shocking to me that anybody can even think that way.”
We never question the governor’s motives.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes
Scott’s comments come a day before a House subcommittee on Wednesday is scheduled to hear a bill that would dismantle Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. This comes after Corcoran has vowed there will be no more job incentive funding for Enterprise Florida and he has threatened to zero out Visit Florida’s budget.
Corcoran has called job incentive programs corporate welfare that picks winners and losers in the marketplace — something government should not be in the business of doing, he has argued.
Scott reminded reporters that he’s built businesses and knows the difficulty of growing them, “now I have people who want to lecture me who have never done anything like this.”