Corcoran found 'cockroaches' in Scott's jobs, tourism programs
House Speaker Richard Corcoran sounded like a man in a hurry at Tuesday's annual AP legislative planning session in Tallahassee. The Land O'Lakes lawmaker began a 15-minute talk by noting that it was Day 71 of his two-year speakership, and with his two sessions in close proximity to each other, "It's 13 months from the end."
In a bit of creepy imagery that's not likely to endear him to Gov. Rick Scott, Corcoran said the House's discovery of spending problems at Enterprise Florida was like turning on a light in a darkened kitchen at 3 a.m.
"I don't mean this in a disparaging way to anybody, but there's cockroaches everywhere," he said. "Bonuses, severance packages, furniture, trips." He noted that even Scott told both EFI and Visit Florida "Clean up your act," and later told reporters there was no chance the House will approve Scott's requests for $85 million for job incentives and $76 million to promote tourism.
Corcoran was just getting warmed up. He declared Scott's education budget proposal dead on arrival because it would hold the line on the the local property tax rate but would produce $475 million more in tax revenue because of rising property values. Scott does not consider that a tax increase, but Corcoran does. "We're not raising taxes."
The House speaker poured cold water on Senate President Joe Negron's proposal for "reasonable, measured and cautious" borrowing by issuing bonds for improvements to the environment and higher education. "We're not bonding," Corcoran said.
Corcoran joked that he was going to show three different videos to symbolize the 2017 session -- one of which was two trains colliding and derailing. In a Q-and-A with Capitol reporters, AP's Gary Fineout said to Corcoran: "You just keep saying no." Corcoran replied: "No. No. That's not it at all ... There's good compromise and bad compromise, and I absolutely despire bad compromise."