News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 5/21/13
Rick Scott Vetoes Go Far and Wide posted on 5/21/13
by JIM SAUNDERS | NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
Gov. Rick Scott spread the pain.
As Scott signed a $74.1 billion state budget Monday, he used his line-item veto power to eliminate proposals that ranged from spending $14 million on a building project at Gulf Coast State College in the Panhandle to earmarking $20,000 for the Hialeah Junior Fire Academy in South Florida.
"My filter was this,'' Scott said. "One, is it going to help our families get more jobs? Two, will it help improve our education system in our state? And three, will it make government more efficient so we can keep the cost of living low in our state?"
In issuing $368 million in vetoes, the governor spared no region of the state and showed he was willing to delete projects backed by powerful lawmakers. The lawmakers who got zapped included Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who supported the Gulf Coast State College project and also saw vetoes of other projects in Northwest Florida.
Gaetz, who last week reacted angrily when the group Florida TaxWatch called for vetoes of some of the projects, issued a statement that was more philosophical about Scott's decisions.
"While many will disagree with some of Governor Scott's line-item vetoes, that is his constitutional role as chief executive,'' Gaetz said.
But Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, criticized Scott for reversing legislative budget decisions.
"As a newcomer to the office and the process, the governor misses a critical understanding about the role of the Legislature in crafting a spending plan,'' Smith said. "As he sits high and looks down low, he seems to be under the mistaken impression that all good ideas for job creation originate in the governor's mansion."
by Adam C. Smith | Tampa Bay Times
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich is campaigning in Pinellas County today, where she caught up with The Buzz at the Safety Harbor Library. It's time Democrats nominate a south Floridian for governor, she said, and whether Bill Nelson or Charlie Crist runs, she's staying in the race.
The former Florida Senate Democratic Leader also suggested that Democratic senators this year misplayed their hand on Medicaid expansion. Rather than immediately embracing the Senate GOP's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion, Rich said, Democratic senator may have been better off calling for straight Medicaid Expansion. That could have helped persuade the Florida House to view the Senate Medicaid alternative as a more palatable compromise.
Gov. Scott building political bridges posted on 5/20/13
by Jeremy Wallace | Herald-Tribune
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is risking nothing when it comes to maintaining key relationships in the region.
Last week the Republican quietly spent time on Longboat Key at an event with State Sen. Bill Galvano. He then had a private meeting in Lakewood Ranch with John Saputo, a GOP donor and president of Gold Coast Eagle Distributing.
Neither event was open to the press nor disclosed publicly before the events.
And already, Scott is expected to return to the region for Memorial Day weekend to attend a Republican Party event in Venice with state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice.
"It meant a great deal for him to go out of his way to come out here," Galvano, R-Bradenton, said of Scott's attending an annual golf fundraiser his family holds to support local education.
With the governor's help, the 17th Annual Phil Galvano Classic — named for Galvano's late father — raised more than $300,000 for the Manatee Education Foundation. That money helps pay for science equipment, field trips and other activities such as helping the Odyssey of the Mind team travel to Washington, D.C., for a competition.
Galvano, the Senate Education Appropriations chairman, said Scott did not have to show up, but showed how much he cared about education by making an appearance.
It's a big change from Scott's first two years in the governor's mansion, when Scott was frequently criticized for not doing more to build relationships with the Legislature. But, in the last year, lawmakers say Scott has been more approachable, meeting in private settings and building ties with them.
In Florida, Incentives Only the Beginning for Favored Companies posted on 5/20/13
by Steve Miller | FCIR
Incentives are the bedrock of Gov. Rick Scott’s economic policy agenda. Scott’s administration awarded more than $130 million in economic incentives in 2011 and 2012. Scott’s predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush, shared the same enthusiasm for incentives...
Through economic incentives and state contracts, the state of Florida every year chooses winners in a selection process that open government advocates criticize as too secretive.
The incentives come in the form of grants, tax breaks, low-interest loans and training reimbursements. Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership, recommends to the state companies it believes should receive economic incentives. Some of Enterprise Florida’s board members own companies that benefit from the very incentives they approve.
Yet incentives are the only beginning of how state money flows to the bank accounts of corporate America.
Gartner isn’t alone in receiving both state economic incentives and state contracts. Target, Publix, Lowe’s and other corporate giants have been contractors for dozens of state agencies, earning millions while also receiving millions more in economic incentives, such as work training grants and tax breaks.
Financial firm T. Rowe Price, one of the state’s employee retirement system providers, has received both incentives and state contracts.
According to a review of state data by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, 25 companies have received substantial state contractor payments and economic incentives in Florida.
“This is more proof that Enterprise Florida is picking winners, and most small businesses cannot imagine being successful in securing these awards,” said Dan Krassner, executive director of the Tallahassee-based watchdog group Integrity Florida. “The whole incentives strategy needs further review to see if it is truly in the public interest.”
Scott's LG dilemma posted on 5/17/13
by GARY FINEOUT | The Fine Print
The state of Florida has been without a lieutenant governor since mid-March.
Don't look for that to change anytime too soon.
And that plain fact raises interesting questions about the state constitution and Scott's re-election campaign...
Since then there has been a steady stream of speculation about who Scott would pick for LG ranging from state representatives such as Dana Young (plausible) and Anitere Flores (understandable but unlikely) to former U.S. Rep. Allen West (absolutely not).
Here's what it is clear: Scott, the former CEO used to running the show by himself, appears to be in no hurry.
First Scott said that he would wait until after session was over. He then shuttered the lieutenant governor's office and required the handful of employees in the office to find work elsewhere.
Now the governor is deciding what to veto from a proposed $74.5 million budget. He is also going on a trade mission next week to Chile.It is unlikely Scott will name a LG before he leaves the country - meaning that Attorney General Pam Bondi will become governor if something should happen to him.
And that's where the constitutional dilemma comes in.
The state constitution states that there "shall be a lieutenant governor."
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