Rick Scott Archives - Page 4 of 152 - SaintPetersBlog

House to Enterprise Florida: Drop dead

The Enterprise Florida economic development organization and a multitude of business incentives would be eradicated under legislation passed by the Florida House Friday.

The bill (HB 7005) passed on an 87-28 vote, with some members voting against their respective parties’ position.

The measure was pushed by Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has derided Enterprise Florida as a dispenser of “corporate welfare.”

But the legislation goes to a Senate that largely backs incentives and wants to keep the organization that, though a public-private partnership, doles out mostly public dollars.

Gov. Rick Scott supports it, saying it helps bring companies and their jobs to the state. The House earlier Friday also voted to overhaul VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency.

“Today, politicians in the Florida House passed job-killing legislation,” the governor said in a statement. “We can all agree that VISIT FLORIDA and EFI need to be absolutely accountable and transparent, and both agencies have already taken major steps and implemented reforms to ensure their operations meet our high expectations.

“However, today’s actions by the House curb the mission of VISIT FLORIDA and bury it in more government bureaucracy – along with decimating Florida’s economic toolkit and the very programs which are directly tied to the creation of thousands of jobs for Florida families,” he added.

“Many politicians who voted for these bills say they are for jobs and tourism. But, I want to be very clear: A vote for these bills was a vote to kill tourism and jobs in Florida. I will continue to fight for Florida jobs and never stop standing up for the families and businesses whose livelihood depend on a strong and growing economy,” Scott said.

Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, delivered an impassioned defense of the organization: “I don’t want it to end, I want to keep it going … I want to keep the governor on his plane recruiting companies to this state.”

He added: “Killing this program will hurt people. I will not be a part of this … I want to preserve something that does so much good for our communities.”

But Evan Jenne, a Dania Beach Democrat, said the data on the organization’s effectiveness “is not kind,” in fact showing it an “abject failure,” and eliminating it “is not going to kill jobs.”

Legislative chief economist Amy Baker has told lawmakers that state incentive programs are more often losers than winners, with only a few incentives making money for state coffers.

In particular, Orlando Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith derided the Quick Action Closing (QAC) Fund as Scott’s “slush fund.” He can draw up to $2 million from it without legislative approval to entice businesses to the state.

Though the state’s “return on investment” from QAC projects was $1.10 per dollar four years ago, it’s now down to 60 cents per dollar, Baker said last month.

Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican, homebuilder, and chair of the state’s Republican Party, told the chamber how he moved from New York to Florida in 1996 with $1,600 in his pocket.

“I moved for one word: ‘Opportunity,’ not ‘subsidy,’ ” he said.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Florida tries again to fix death-penalty law

Florida lawmakers are trying for the second year in a row to fix the state’s death penalty law.

The Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to require a unanimous jury decision to impose the death penalty. The House is also prepared for a vote on the issue. It could be the first major bill sent to Gov. Rick Scott this year.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January 2016 declared the state’s death penalty sentencing law unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges.

Last year, a bill requiring a 10-2 jury vote was enacted. The state Supreme Court struck it down in October, saying a unanimous decision was needed.

The Republican-dominated Legislature isn’t happy about having to make the fix, but lawmakers say their hands are tied by the court.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Report: Richard Corcoran urges Democratic support of Enterprise Florida bill

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is asking for Democrats support to legislation that would abolish Enterprise Florida, saying if Democrats join the House will be able to override Gov. Rick Scott’s expected veto of the bill.

POLITICO Florida reported that Corcoran asked Democrats for their help to “get a veto-proof majority” during a House Democrats dinner.

The dinner came on the eve of the bill (HB 7005) first hearing by the full House. The House is also expected to discuss a bill (HB 9) today that would tighten restrictions on Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency, when it goes into session later today.

There are 41 Democrats in the House, and 79 Republicans. In the Senate, 25 of the 40 members of Republicans. POLITICO Florida writes Corcoran told House Democrats it was time for the Senate, which has stayed out of the fight, to “pony up and say ‘are you going to clean up these agencies.’”

POLITICO also reported Corcoran told Democrats he wants “to vote their conscience.”

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Florida doesn’t need an elected Secretary of State, or Agriculture Commissioner

It would tax the imagination to come up with anything that Florida needs less than to elect a secretary of state once again. Why would the Legislature even consider that?

Sen. Aaron Bean, the sponsor, explained it the other day. As reported by FloridaPolitics.com, the Fernandina Beach Republican told the Senate ethics committee that in the main he wants a fifth position on the Cabinet to avoid tie votes that require the governor to be on the prevailing side or the motion fails.

Actually, he and nearly everyone else are incorrect when they refer to that group of four as “the Cabinet.” Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution provides for the Cabinet to consist of an attorney general, a chief financial officer, and a commissioner of agriculture. The governor is NOT — I repeat, NOT — a member of the Cabinet.

And because they are elected, it’s not “his” Cabinet even though the members too often vote as if it were. They oversee 12 agencies in their collective role as — to put it accurately — “the governor and Cabinet.”

To the extent that the tie vote issue is a problem, there’s a simpler and less expensive way to deal with it than the creation of yet another statewide pooh-bah with yet another six-figure salary.

That’s to get rid of the elected agriculture commissioner. Let the governor appoint the position, as does now with the secretary of state. Or have the governor and the remaining two Cabinet members jointly select someone in the same manner as the head of the office of financial regulation.

But avoiding a tie vote situation strikes me as the lamest possible pretext to elect the secretary, which Florida last did in 1998.

The more important issue is how best to oversee elections, which is the function of the office that the public cares most about. The record-keeping, the corporations’ division, the arts, library and archives are less about policy than professional management. You don’t need to elect anyone for those.

But electing a secretary of state doesn’t guarantee that the duty will be carried out in a bipartisan, nonpolitical and professional manner. The present secretary, Ken Detzner, has been accused of doing what the governor wants to discourage rather than encourage voting. The last elected secretary, Katherine Harris, is best remembered for the infamous 2000 campaign in which she was first a co-chair of George W. Bush’s campaign and then made critical decisions in his favor.

Harris’s predecessor, Sandra Mortham, spoke at the committee hearing and referred to the dicey position of governor-appointed secretaries as “very, very, very difficult” for them. She also noted that local elected supervisors of election would be better off with a popularly elected state leader than with one named by the governor.

Those are better points, to be sure, than the tie vote issue. Harris’ tenure, though, was hardly a shining example of political independence.

Though nearly half the states have elected sectaries to state to manage elections, nine have appointed boards or commissions that are bipartisan, at least in theory. One of them is in North Carolina, where despite fierce efforts by a Republican and legislature to suppress voting, the GOP-dominated board acted respectably last year. Florida should consider that method of governance.

“I think there is no magic bullet,” says Ion Sancho, Leon County’s recently retired election supervisor, who is a nationally recognized figure in the field. “It doesn’t matter a darn bit if you elect the person if they have to follow the rigged election laws passed by the Florida Legislature.

He sees no point, however, in enlarging the elected Cabinet.

There used to be six Cabinet members, plus the governor, each with their own departments, in charge of an array of agencies they governed collectively. That system was created in the aftermath of post-Civil War Reconstruction to deliberately keep the governors weak. Trouble was, with everyone supposedly watching the store no one actually did. In modern times, two of Florida’s best governors, LeRoy Collins and Reubin Askew, tried unsuccessfully to be rid of the system.

Twenty years ago, the Constitution Revision Commission set out to trim the Cabinet to the only two offices that truly need to be independently elected: the attorney general and the chief financial officer. But agricultural lobbies threatened to defeat the entire reform at the polls if it didn’t retain the agriculture commissioner. Finding themselves with four voting officers instead of the intended three, the Commission came up with the curious tie-breaking rule. Eliminating the elected agriculture commissioner would dispose of that.

Agriculture is still one of the pillars of Florida’s economy, but it’s difficult to see why it needs its own surrogate governor any more than tourism or construction do. Rick Scott’s well-advertised faults as governor don’t mean that his successor shouldn’t be trusted with agriculture to the same extent as education, which once had its own elected Cabinet member too.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

State lawmakers applaud Florida TaxWatch during annual State of Taxpayer dinner

State lawmakers applauded Florida TaxWatch this week, hailing the organization for its role in the legislative process.

“The folks that formed Florida TaxWatch had a good focus in mind,” said Sen. Jack Latvala. “And as a result of Florida TaxWatch’s efforts, we’ve turned things around.”

The taxpayer advocacy group hosted its State of the Taxpayer dinner Wednesday. The annual event is meant to highlight issues affecting the average taxpayer, and features speeches from Latvala, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Rep. Jim Boyd and Rep. Manny Diaz. House Speaker Richard Corcoran was scheduled to attend, but was unable to make it, according to a spokesman for the organization.

While speakers used the event as a chance to promote the work they’re doing, some took a few moments to show their support for Enterprise Florida, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top priorities.

Latvala, who serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said at some point the state needs to start thinking about how it can balance its desire to keep taxes low, while still meeting the needs of the state.

“I believe the way we do that, just like the governor believes, is by growing the economy organically,” said Latvala. “We need to bring in high paid employees and get them in to the Florida economy, get them buying homes. And that’s been a function that’s been performed admirably by Enterprise Florida.”

While the program has come under fire in recent years, Latvala told attendees the program was the “creation of Republican leaders.” And before Enterprise Florida, there was a “zero match” when it came to companies putting in dollars to recruit businesses.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “If we get rid of our (economic incentive) programs, we’re going into the world in a competition situation naked as a jaybird. And I don’t want to do that.”

Florida TaxWatch has opposed legislation by the Florida House that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and a slew of other economic incentive programs. The bill cleared the House Appropriations Committee last week, and is scheduled to get its first hearing in the full House on Thursday.

“The session has gotten off to a slow start, with not much happening in the next couple of days,” joked Lopez-Cantera.

Boyd, the chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, discussed what his committee was doing, and said the House wants what is best for Florida.

“I do believe with all of my heart, and I know leadership of the House does as well, that we’re all out for the same thing. At the end of the day we want a vibrant economy, we want jobs, we want good education,” he said. “I know that as we move through this process … we share the same goal. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re getting closer every day.”

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Ed Miyagishima departing position at Port Tampa Bay

Ed Miyagishima, the Vice President of Communications and External Affairs at Port Tampa Bay and a senior adviser to CEO Paul Anderson, announced that he is leaving his position to “lead the charge” to have Tampa Bay host the 2019 Medal of Honor Convention.

Miyagishima, who had been with the port for four years, made the announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday night.

“I’m humbled and excited for this new chapter which will allow me to represent and showcase the American heroes and military community I love and honor, in the city I’m proud to call home,” Miyagishima wrote.

Tampa is working to win the bid for the 2019 convention and will make a presentation to the Medal of Honor Society later this month in Washington, D.C., he said, reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal. If the city wins the bid, a non-profit host committee will be formed and he will serve as president and CEO.

A prominent figure in Republican politics before coming to Port Tampa Bay in 2013, Miyagishima has worked with a number of GOP officials over the years, including Florida Governor Rick Scott. After Scott’s victory over Alex Sink in 2010, Miyagishima worked in the state’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.

Prior to coming to Port Tampa Bay, Miyagishima had served on the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Connie Mack IV in 2012. He also served a stint on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign in 2011.

A California native, Miyagishima served briefly with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, before going to work for Meg Whitman’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign against Jerry Brown in 2010.

His resignation comes a day after WFTS-Channel 28 reported that Port Tampa Bay is lagging significantly behind when it comes to the number of containers coming in, dramatically behind smaller Florida ports like Jacksonville, Miami and Port Everglades.

WFTS also reported that Anderson’s annual salary of $382,287 is more than the annual salaries of the CEO’s of the ports in New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles, despite the fact that those two ports bring in millions of containers every year, compared to Port Tampa’s thirty-nine thousand.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Could Pat Neal’s anti-Donald Trump hurt his chances of becoming CFO?

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump hasn’t been too keen on hiring those associated with the “Never Trump” movement of conservative policy who surfaced in last year’s presidential campaign.

The most glaring example of this is the case of former State Department official Elliott Abrams. A meeting between the two last month reportedly went well, according to CNN. Ultimately, though, Trump opted not to hire Abrams for the Deputy Secretary of State position once he learned that Abrams criticized him during his White House run.

With the in mind, might strong criticism of the President during the campaign turn off Rick Scott, a close ally of Trump’s, specifically when it comes to naming a new Chief Financial Officer?

While there have been a host of names floated as possible contenders (including state Senators Jack Latvala, Jeff Brandes, Tom Lee and Lizbeth Benacquisto, state Rep. Jim Boyd, former interim head of Citizens Property Insurance Tom Grady, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera), Pat Neal, the Manatee County real estate developer and former state lawmaker, is being looked at by many as the top choice to succeed Jeff Atwater.

Atwater announced last month that he would step down as CFO to serve as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Financial Officer at Florida Atlantic University at the end of the Florida Legislature’s regular session in May.

Neal announced last June that he would not be a candidate for the CFO position in 2018, telling the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he was “dispirited with what I see every morning having to do with the Trump campaign.”

He went on to tell reporter Zac Anderson that he viewed Trump as an incredibly “vulgar” candidate  who “is leading our party off a cliff.”

Neal later told the Times’ Adam Smith: “I, Pat Neal, have never had a bankruptcy, never had a bank default. When you sign a note of bonds, or sell stock with investors the right thing to do is pay them back. Not only did he lose money for people he borrowed from, but for a period there he lost money for his investors, particularly in the casino deals. That isn’t the way you do it, and I would not say he is a credit to the real estate industry.”

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Scott simply sent the same statement that Scott said when Atwater announced he would be leaving the CFO spot last month.  It was filled with effusive praise for the Palm Beach County Republican, with Scott adding, “The role of the CFO is incredibly important to our state, and I will begin the process to appoint someone to serve Florida families.”

It should be noted that not everyone who has had critical words for Trump has been banned from working with him in his new administration.

Take Rick Perry, Bush’s Secretary of Energy.

On the campaign trail, the former Texas Governor called Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” before ultimately endorsing Trump for president calling the the New York City real estate magnate “one of the most talented people who has ever run for the president I have ever seen.”

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Report: Rick Scott committee releases robocall targeting Republicans who support killing Enterprise Florida

Voters across the state will be getting robo-calls blasting their representative for voting for a bill to kill Enterprise Florida.

POLITICO Florida reported that Let’s Get to Work, the political committee backing Gov. Rick Scott, has funded another round of robocalls hitting Republicans who voted for a bill (HB 7005) that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and a slew of other economic incentive programs.

“Unfortunately, your state representative … is playing politics with Florida’s jobs,” the ad says, according to POLITICO Florida. “He voted to decimate Florida’s tourism and jobs programs. And that will destroy our economy and lead to higher taxes.”

The ad, according to the report, is targeting Reps. Larry Ahern, Ben Albritton, Michael Bileca, Jason Brodeur, Travis Cumings, Jose Diaz, Manny Diaz, Blaise Ingoglia, Clay Ingram, Larry, Metz, George Moraitis, Jeanette Nunez, Jose Oliva, Elizabeth Porter, Ray Rodrigues, Chris Sprowls, and Carlos Trujillo.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Second poll pitting Bill Nelson and Rick Scott head-to-head gives Democrat the advantage, again

Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t announced he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2018, but a new survey shows he’s already trailing in the polls.

A poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research shows Sen. Bill Nelson holds a five-point lead over Scott, who is widely believed to be mulling a 2018 U.S. Senate bid. Statewide, the Orlando Democrat leads Scott 46 to 41 percent, with 13 percent of respondents saying they were undecided.

The poll was first reported by POLITICO Florida.

The poll found Nelson has a big lead in Southeast Florida, where 60 percent of voters said they backed Nelson, compared to 24 percent who picked Scott. He also leads in the Tampa Bay region, 47 to 40 percent.

Scott is favored in North Florida, 56 percent to Nelson’s 34 percent. And the Naples Republican has a big lead Southwest Florida, his home turf, where 52 percent of voters backed Scott, compared to 37 percent who picked Nelson.

The poll of 625 registered Florida voters was conducted from Feb. 24 through Feb. 28. It has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Pollsters noted the outcome of the race would “likely be shaped by the political fortunes of President Donald Trump.” While Republican carried the state by one percentage point, his “personal popularity has slipped into slightly negative territory.”

“He was elected on a change message and swing voters, who have shown they are less interested in the circus, bought into his agenda. How they still feel about that agenda and his success or failure implementing it is going to be a very important factor in 2018,” according to the polling memo. “Given the narrow margin that he carried the state by, he doesn’t have much room for error in Florida.”

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Democratic gubernatorial maybe Gillum, Graham, Levine maybes weigh in on Rick Scott speech

Three current or potential Democratic candidates for governor criticized Gov. Rick Scott‘s State of the State speech Tuesday for what he did not talk about, with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine critical of low-wage jobs, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum of Scott’s reading of the Pulse nightclub massacre and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham his priorities.

Gillum, the first major Democrat to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race, blasted Scott’s speech Tuesday for not addressing two issues Democrats have tied to last year’s Pulse nightclub massacre: Gun law reform and support for the gay community.

“No mention of common sense gun law reforms, nor the continued discrimination against the LGBTQ community in @FLGovScott’s State of the State,” Gillum tweeted after the speech.

Graham also weighed in, criticizing Scott and other notable Republican leaders — led by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, though she did not mention names — for fighting with each other rather than working together for Florida.

Levine took Scott’s side in his battles with Corcoran over support for Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida, but said the governor is saying and doing little to attract good-paying jobs to Florida.

“Florida has clearly become a low-wage, high-cost state,” Levine said. “The governor didn’t offer any idea in how do we create good-paying jobs in our state. We get to tourism, and I’ll say it again. We love tourism. We love Disney World. But how can we make sure that all Floridians can visit Disney World, not just folks from outside the state?”

Before the speech, Gillum anticipated that with a prebuttal statement that said Floridians are looking for someone to champion “the issues and values that matter to us, and sadly Governor Scott will not and cannot rise to that level.”

Scott spent much of the opening minutes of his speech discussing the Pulse shooting, in which madman Omar Mateen, who declared he was inspired by ISIS and who avowed hatred of gays, killed 49 people and wounded 53 in Orlando’s popular gay nightclub last June 12. He spoke of meeting with families in the days that followed, and with police and other first responders, and praised Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

Yet Scott spoke, as many Republicans do, exclusively of Islamic terrorism behind the attack, not hatred of gays, which most Democrats refer to first.

Nor did the governor talk of any of the efforts by Orlando Democrats to call for restrictions on the rapid-fire assault rifle or the high-capacity ammunition magazines Mateen used, or address President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.

“We all join the governor in mourning the tragic mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub, but the governor continues to fail to put forward common-sense gun safety reforms we need to keep our communities safe,” Gillum stated in his prebuttal.

“Instead of standing up to President Trump on his unconstitutional Muslim ban or his immoral executive order on sanctuary cities, Governor Scott appears poised to be silent, even when our values are threatened.

“Times like these call for champions on the issues and values that matter to us, and sadly, Governor Scott will not and cannot rise to that level,” Gillum concluded.

“Rather than fighting for the people of Florida, Rick Scott and Republicans leaders are wasting time fighting each other,” Graham responded in a statement. “We need leaders who put the people of Florida before their own political self-interests.

“Through this session and every day at the state Capitol, the top priorities should be helping workers get ahead, protecting our environment and improving schools,” she added. “We need our leaders to fight for families, children and seniors — not fighting each other.”

Another announced candidate, Orlando businessman Chris King, has indicated he is declining public discussions until he formally launches his campaign April 1.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, who said he might run for governor but wouldn’t decide until late this year, said he did not hear Scott’s speech.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons