Scott says failure of PIP reform would be a tax hike
Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he's still optimistic that the Legislature will pass a bill to combat fraud in the PIP no-fault car insurance program. But Scott, who for months has described the level of PIP fraud as a "billion dollar tax on Floridians," agreed that if the Legislature doesn't act, it will be the equivalent of raising taxes by that much, because the fraud would continue.
"Absolutely," Scott said. "Look. This is something we can fix. It's something the state created and it's something we ought to fix."
On other matters, Scott said he was glad to see that the state budget that was printed Tuesday accommodates his demand for $1 billion more for public schools and his support for a few business-friendly tax cuts. Asked whether the $70 billion budget is one he can sign with pride, Scott paused, knowing the spending plan contains tens of millions of dollars in pet projects in lawmakers' districts (most of which he vetoed last year).
"I'm hopeful there's not enough things in there that cause me any problems," Scott told reporters. Asked whether he would veto a project if he vetoed the same one last year, Scott said: "I want to see what the returns are for the taxpayers." The most obvious example of a repeat project is $5 million for a world class regatta sailing center in Sarasota.