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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Transcript of Scott interview with WSJ: don't duplicate regulations



 Gov. Rick Scott continued his sneak preview of his budget roll out with an interview this week with the Wall Street Journal 

The newspaper videotaped it and we offer this quick transcript. From our vantage point, there is nothing new here that the governor hasn't already said with one exception: Scott offered a little more explanation as to how he expects to get major savings from reducing regulations. He said he'll eliminate government functions that regulate things that are already being regulated by either the federal government or county government.

Scott repeated his promise to cut $5 billion from the budget and cut taxes without hurting education and concluded that legislators will "be fine" with his budget, presumably because he will unlock new approaches that Florida's legislative budget experts haven't discovered.

(As for how much he saves from eliminating government functions, we're guessing it's going to be huge because he's counting on $1.4 billion from pension reform but would need another $5.4 billion out of the $26 billion general revenue fund to get to his $2 billion tax cut pledge, and close the $3.6 billion budget gap and reach his $5 billion cut goal.)

Scott: “What we’re doing is accountability budgeting. Just look through every agency and where we save the money...We’ve got to prioritize that’s what we’re doing. One of the things I heard constantly in the campaign is that the Department of Management Services (we think he means Department of Community Affairs) everybody was frustrating with them because the permitting process just took too long so we’re going to fold that into the Department of the Environment.


“I care about the environment....But we also have to continute to develop  our state. Your kids our kids can’t live here because there need to be jobs.”

“The total I want to cut the budget is about $5 billion.” 

Q: How? “You look at every agency and figure out what you dont’ need or you can streamline. It’s just like what agency should be regule drugs ...Well, I think the agency that’s already regulating a whole bunch of other things should do that...Department of Revenue, you create some synergies there.

"...Some simple things we do we’re not going to keep doing. Everybody knows I'm  going to get rid of the state plane. We’re not doing alligator marketing anymore...It's just piece by piece and it adds up to pretty big dollars.

Asked which were the top three to five regulations that are impeding growth, Scott said: "The biggest is how much the state should be involve in regulating the growth in communities when you already have a county doing it or a city doing it. When I was just down in The Villages, I asked how many permits do you need just to start bldg. He couldn’t name all of them... 

"If it’s something that the federal government is  already regulating or if it’s something the county is already regulating whatever ever, why would you need that?"

Asked about how he could reduce propoerty taxes and keep the level of funding for schools, he said: "What I’m doing is...I'm taking the savings out of the state dollars not out of the school it leaves the funding for education the way it was.

"I also believe that funding for education is part of the success for education. The other part is who’s doing it best. We know in business that when you focus on effectiveness you can have much better outcomes...It’s not just throwing more dollars....What I want to do with teachers is measure the most effective teachers...Then you ought to get paid better

He was asked about the skeptical reaction from the House speaker and Senate president to his plan to cut taxes and fill the state's $3.6 billion budget hole: "I think what they said is they would like to cut the taxes they just want to see my proposal. I’m very comfortable that once they see my budget proposal they’ll be fine. So i’m very comfortable that they’ll be very supportive." 

[Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 8:27am]


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