American Bridge attacks Rick Scott on history of education cuts

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At a college affordability roundtable Monday, Gov. Rick Scott repeated his claim to be working to keep college reachable for Florida’s students.

“We have to make college tuition more affordable,” Scott told the group attending the Miami Gardens event.

“I want to get rid of the 15 percent annual increase and inflationary increase on tuition, so that more Floridians can afford to go to college and live the American dream. My goal for tuition is simple: we must hold the line.”

But when a reporter pressured the governor about his past record on education funding, Scott responded “all that’s incorrect,” and quickly changed topics to “pivot away from the question.”

According to the progressive research and communications agency American Bridge, Scott denied “billions” in cuts to education and Bright Future Scholarships, as well as approved tuition hikes in Florida Colleges in 2011 and 2012.

And American Bridge is simply not letting go.

In launching a new 60-second anti-Scott digital ad, the group says the reason Scott evades the questions is obvious — he doesn’t want to address the billions in education funding that were cut during his first years a governor, just as November elections near.

Citing articles from PolitiFact Florida, the Tampa Bay Times and the Lakeland Ledger, a pattern emerges of the governor slashing budgets for K-12 education amounting to more than $1 billion, and cutting Bright Futures Scholarships —awarded to  high-performing Florida students looking to post-secondary education in the state.

Even as he vetoed a tuition hike upon taking office, Scott’s 2011 budget raised college tuitions by 8 percent, and approved a 2012 tuition rise in 2012.

Scott, who is up for re-election in November, categorically denies the charges.

The American Bridge video is available on YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.