Gov. Rick Scott visited Miami on Monday as part of what he’s billing as a seven-city “victory tour,” celebrating $400 million in tax cuts the legislature approved as part of the state’s new budget.
In his brief speech held in Doral at Sergio’s Restaurant, a local Cuban-American owned chain, Scott said he was pleased with the tax cuts and promised more in the future.
“Government should not be getting bigger; our taxes should be going down each and every year,” he said.
Scott wanted legislators to approve nearly $700 million in tax cuts. But lawmakers used some of the money to help the state’s hospitals and meet other needs in the state’s almost $79 billion budget.
Scott said he was “not going to complain,” despite getting about $300 million less than what he had asked for. The approved tax cuts include a 10-day back-to-school tax holiday, which would waive taxes on school supplies and clothes, and a tax exemption for gun club membership fees.
He highlighted a tax cut to communication services, which includes cable TV and cellphones and would save consumers about $20 a year.
Smartphone in hand, Scott chanted “Cut my taxes! Cut my taxes!” and then reaching out to Miami’s Spanish speakers, he chanted, “Recorta mis impuestos! Recorta mis impuestos!”
He assured Floridians the tourism industry would not suffer as a consequence of a closer relationship with Cuba, estimating that more than 100 million tourists would visit the state this year.
“This state is on a roll,” he said. “Everybody wants to be in Florida now.”
Speaking about the approved budget, the governor offered no insight as to what items he would veto, saying he started reviewing it over the weekend.
“I’m going to look out for your money,” he said.
Scott embarked on his tour, which appeared designed to garner publicity for his tax cut package, at a time when his popularity numbers are lagging. He narrowly won re-election last fall.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Scott’s job approval ratings are down to 39 percent, which is the lowest that they have been in more than two years. The poll, which was taken earlier this month, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
When asked about his low approval rate, Scott said he had no comment.