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Rick Scott celebrates jobs and tax cuts in St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Florida Governor Rick Scott is touring the state celebrating job creation and tax cuts. During a stop in St. Pete Monday on his “Million, Billion Jobs Victory Tour” Scott announced 44,300 new private sector jobs in the Tampa Bay area over the course of a year.

The region’s unemployment rate also dropped one percent to 4.8 percent in January. The state unemployment rate is five percent.

Scott stopped at Kobie Marketing in St. Pete for the announcement where that company recently announced it plans to add 255 new jobs over the next few years with 160 of those positions opening this year.

Kobie Marketing Chief Financial Officer Ashby Green attributed the company’s success to Scott’s commitment to lowering taxes for businesses. Scott’s victory tour is claiming to have created more than one million jobs since 2010 and to have cut taxes by $1 billion over the course of two years.

Scott said very little other than announcing the latest jobs numbers instead leaving the talking to a host of support from Republican lawmakers. Senators Jack Latvala and Jeff Brandes both praised Scott for his commitment to creating jobs with a pro-business, free market approach.

“I think your focus is largely responsible for the million new jobs, for the resurgence of our economy in Florida,” Latvala said.

Representatives Chris Sprowls, Kathleen Peters and Larry Ahern also thanked and congratulated Scott. Citrus County Representative Jimmie Smith also praised the Governor’s work saying it’s even had an effect on rural areas like his district.

“It’s having a ripple effect throughout the state,” Smith said.

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman was on hand but was not quite as congratulatory as the others. He said he supported Scott’s plan to inject $250 million into the state’s Enterprise Fund that was axed by the Florida House. The money would have been used to incentivize businesses to relocate or expand in Florida.

The job markets most impacted by the latest growth numbers include professional and business services. Those industries expanded by 14,900 new jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry created 9,100 new jobs.

The Tampa Bay region was also first in the state for job demand in January with nearly 45,000 job openings. Nearly 15,000 of those openings were in the targeted high-skill industries in science, technology, engineering and math.

“This state’s on a roll,” Scott said. “These jobs are creating more tax revenues in our state so we can cut taxes and we can invest in priorities for our state.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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