Gov. Rick Scott on pros and cons of USF Polytechnic
Gov. Rick Scott is getting lots of feedback from both sides on the bill that spins off USF Polytechnic University as a separate 12th state university. As he sipped on a bottle of Perrier in his Capitol office Thursday, Scott said he hasn't made up his mind on the proposal. But he framed the arguments on both sides of the issue as he sees them.
"The question on one side is going to be, is this something that we can afford. Can we afford a 12th university when we know it's difficult," Scott said, citing the multi-billion-dollar budget deficits in his first two years in office. "The other side of it is that people in the Lakeland area think they're underserved. It's going to be something I believe in -- science, technology, engineering and math -- so that's a real positive. But there's lots of arguments."
"I have people on both sides, and they're calling," Scott said. "The people in the Tampa area are very much opposed to it and the people in the Lakeland area are generally very supportive of it, and the rest of the state's not that engaged in the debate."
Asked whether USFP's No. 1 supporter, the term-limited Sen. JD Alexander of Lake Wales, has lobbied him lately, Scott said: "Not since session ended." A flash of the Scott sense of humor appeared when the governor was asked if he would consider appointing Alexander to the USF Poly board if he signs the bill. "Wouldn't Judy (Genshaft, USF president) want him on USF's board?" Scott asked. "No one's asked me that and he hasn't asked me that."
The Legislature hasn't sent Scott the bill (SB 1994) yet. When he gets it, he must act within 15 calendar days.