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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

An unapologetic Gov. Scott offers no regrets in his handling of Legislature




An unapologetic Gov. Rick Scott offered no regrets about how he has handled the Florida Legislature, even while lawmakers continued to butcher his legislative agenda on job creation programs and tax cuts.

Over the last six months Scott spent millions on television ads, a bus tour around the state, and trying to cajole business leaders to pressure legislators to give him his priority items.

It hasn't worked so far.

Legislators are on the verge of passing a state budget with a fraction of the $1 billion in tax cuts he asked for and no money for his job creation fund - a signature issue of his tenure as governor.

"My responsibility as governor is to do exactly what I ran on in 2010 and 2014," Scott said of his campaign promises to create jobs. "There is no question what I ran on. I'm very committed to doing everything I can, and I'm going to keep doing it."

Scott said if the legislature continues to refuse to give him $250 million for his job creation program, called the Enterprise Fund, it will result in lost jobs. The Republican governor said he has about 277 job recruitment projects on the table now that could generate another 50,000 jobs.

"Individuals are not going to have a job because of this decision," Scott said after a meeting of the Florida Cabinet in Tallahassee on Wednesday.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg in potential disappointment for Scott.The Legislature is working on a tax plan that is expected to be rolled out later this week that would cut just $110 million in taxes. Scott was adamant in pushing the Legislature to give him $1 billion in cuts, including eliminating corporate income taxes for manufacturing and retail companies.

Legislators have also effectively killed any potential of a gambling agreement passing this year.

Scott was asked by reporters if the combination of issues could lead him to veto the entire state budget that the Legislature is expected to send him next week. Scott refused to say, but repeated three times during the interview that after the Legislature passes a budget, it is his duty to review it.

"We still have 9 or 10 days left in this legislative session," Scott said. "Let's see what happens with the budget, then I will review the budget."



[Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 1:51pm]


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