Rick Scott’s 2014 Budget: A Textbook Case Of Election Year Pandering

As Governor Rick Scott delivers his 2014-2015 budget address, Floridians would do well to see Scott’s budget for what it is: A textbook case of election year pandering. While Scott’s budget plans included hundreds of millions of dollars in vague tax breaks for special interests and dramatic cuts to various revenue sources, the Tea Party governor has also discovered an election year infatuation with spending on Everglades reconstruction, child welfare, and teacher pay raises. Scott’s predilection for election year pandering is nothing new, but the extent of it in his latest budget proposal is staggering.

Scott Has A History Of Election Year Pandering (VIDEO). According to a news segment highlighting clips of Governor Rick Scott, Scott has a history of election-year pandering. In the clip, a FOX reporter states of Scott: “He’s the Tea Party Republican who slashed school funding then raised it as he prepared for re-election, after he tied teacher pay to performance, before giving out raises regardless of performance.”

Corporate Fees

Proposed Reduction In Corporate Filing Fees

Scott Proposed Reducing Corporate Filing Fees By $33 Million. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Gov. Rick Scott released another fee reduction proposal Friday. Like his proposal to roll back auto tag fees by about $400 million, the latest proposal appears to have a link to his likely opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott will ask the Legislature to reduce corporate filing fees by $33 million next year for businesses that must submit annual reports to the Department of State’s Division of Corporations. Some of those fees were increased in 2009, when Crist was governor and Kurt Browning was secretary of state.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/24/14]

Scott Did Not Release Details On Proposed Reduction In Corporate Filing Fees. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “The governor’s office did not release specifics on which corporate filing fees would be reduced and by how much, or how the penalties might change.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/24/14]

Environment

Pledged $130 MILLION For Everglades Restoration

Scott Pledged $130 Million For Restoration Of The Everglades. According to WPTV, “Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday pledged $130 million to Everglades restoration in the upcoming budget. Scott said during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet that the 2014 budget request would be used to help restore the Kissimmee River north of the Everglades.” [WPTV, 1/23/14]

Avoided Responding To Question Connecting Election Year To Everglade Funding

Scott Dodged Question Regarding Connection Between Everglades Funding And Election Year. According to video footage from an event in Florida, Rick Scott was asked the following question: “Governor, what do you say because it’s the election season that you, like, this is part of you campaigning.” [Governor exited the room.] Reporter to staffer: “I thought we were going to be able to ask him that question? [Staffer speaks inaudibly and blocks the door through which reporters could have pursued Scott.] Yeah but that one question.” [Rick Scott in Florida, 1/22/14]

Child Safety

Announced Child Protection Funding, OnlY After String Of Deaths

Scott Announced $31 Million Of Addition Funding For Child Protection Efforts. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “In an effort to repair his child welfare track record, Gov. Rick Scott will announce Tuesday in Miami that he is steering $31 million in additional money to child protection efforts, a move aimed at reducing caseloads and increasing oversight of vulnerable children in Florida.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/13/14]

Announcement Came In Wake Of Dozens Of Child Neglect- And Abuse-Related Deaths. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “The announcement comes in the wake of dozens of child deaths from abuse and neglect in the past year, and amid calls for reform of the Department of Children & Families from the nonprofit Casey Family Foundation and Democrats in the Legislature.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/13/14]

Education

Pledged Additional Education Funding During 2014 Election Cycle…

December 2013: Scott Pledged $480 Million In Teacher Pay Raises. According to WPBF ABC, “Governor Rick Scott pledged $480 million dollars toward teacher raises last spring.” [WPBF ABC, 12/13/13]

…But Cut Billions From EDucation Funding During 2012 Election Cycle

February 2011: Scott Unveiled His State Budget. According to Politifact, “Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his highly anticipated state budget on Feb. 7, 2011, which, as promised, calls for major reductions to government spending along with tax cuts for property owners and businesses. Scott’s two-year spending plan would shrink the overall state budget from $70.3 billion to $65.9 billion in 2011-2012 and to $63.3 billion in 2012-2013.” [Politifact, 2/8/11]

February 2011: Scott’s Proposed Budget Included Billions In Education Funding Cuts. According to Politifact, “Cuts were expected almost everywhere — except in the area of education, where Scott has said that funding would remain the same. At least, that’s what people thought. Scott’s proposed budget for next year includes billions of dollars in education cuts. (The actual cut depends on what education budget figure you consult, but the cut would be between $3.3 billion and $4.8 billion, with per-student funding to decrease by 10 percent.)” [Politifact, 2/8/11]

…After Promising His Budget Would Not CuT Funding From Education

Scott Committed To Funding Schools At Same Level As In Previous Year. According to Politifact, “During an announcement where Scott said he would cut local school property taxes, called the required local effort, he was asked specifically about the effect on education funding. Here’s the question and answer from Feb. 3, which we just happened to record. Question: You referred to cuts in the RLE (required local effort) property tax. Do you have a plan to make up that revenue or will the schools take that as a loss? Scott: ‘No, ‘my commitment is to make sure the money that they’ve received they’ll get again. Where I’m getting the savings is, I’m reducing the state government. What I’m trying to do is keep the school budgets the same.’” [Politifact, 2/8/11]

Scott Denied Going Back On His Promise To Keep Education Funding. According to Politifact, “When Scott met with reporters after announcing his budget, he was asked if he had flipped on his campaign rhetoric. ‘No, it’s not going back on anything I promised,’ Scott said. ‘What I said throughout the campaign and what I’m saying today — any money that came out of state general revenue, we’re not cutting that. Any money that they relied on federal bailouts, that is different.’” [Politifact, 2/8/11]

Jobs

Scott Pledged 45k Jobs In Return For $266 Million In Tax Breaks

Scott Pledged $266 Million In Tax Breaks In Return For Nearly 45k Jobs. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “Going to the newspapers [visual cite from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald], Governor Scott pledged $266 million in tax breaks in return for nearly 45k jobs.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

Review Of Scott’s 342 Job Creation Deals Revealed That They Included Tax Breaks For Companies That Promised To Bring Jobs To Florida. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “The Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald reviewed public records on Governor Rick Scott’s 342 job creation deals. Those deals included big tax breaks for companies that promised to bring jobs to the sunshine state.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

Only 4% Of The Jobs Were Created

From The Time Scott Took Office, 445k Jobs Were Created In Florida. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “What are the hard numbers? How many jobs have we gotten in the state of Florida? Well. We’ve created more that 445k jobs in the state of Florida, since the Governor took office.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

FOX News Station Questioned How Many Of The Jobs Were Created As A Result Of Scott. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “But what’s at stake here, what’s at questions, is how much did the Governor’s actions create and cause that.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

December 2013: From The Time Scott Took Office, Only 4% Of Those Jobs Were Created. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “So far, only 4% of jobs have been created.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

Tampa Bay Times Report Showed That 96% Of All Of The Jobs Scott Claimed To Have Created Never Materialized. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “Now, the Tampa Bay Times has done an extensive report showing that 96% of the jobs that he says he’s created by his tax incentives have never even showed up. We’re talking about 45,000 jobs here and only 4% of those have actually arrived.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

Scott Claimed Process Could Take Years

Scott Claimed The Process Could Take Up To Years. According to a news report from WOFL-ORD (FOX), “He said this is just a process that needs time, perhaps years in some cases.” [WOFL-ORD (FOX), 12/7/13]

Medicaid Expansion

Avoided Commenting On His Former Support For Medicaid Expansion

Tampa Bay Times: Scott Declined To Comment On Support For Vital Medicaid Expansion Funding. According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial, “At least twice last week, Scott declined to publicly reaffirm his support for accepting billions from Washington to expand Medicaid.” [Tampa Bay Times, 12/13/13]

Tampa Bay Times: Scott “Chokes On His Own Words Of Support As He Gears Up His Re-Election Campaign.” According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial, “The Republican governor’s embrace always sounded unenthusiastic, and it came hours after the Obama administration approved his request in February to convert the state’s entire Medicaid program into a managed care system. Scott did not push the House to adopt a Senate plan to take the federal money, and he dropped the subject after the Legislature adjourned in May. Now he chokes on his own words of support as he gears up his re-election campaign.” [Tampa Bay Times, 12/13/13]