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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott 'absolutely' confident lawmakers will support tax cut and jobs incentive push



Some Florida Senate leaders in both parties are openly critical of Gov. Rick Scott's plan to give more money to Enterprise Florida for job incentives. And they've laid out priorities that differ from his during the upcoming session.

So is Scott confident the two chambers will support the two-pronged legislative agenda he laid out this week of jobs incentive money and a tax cut package that trumps the $427 million approved last year?

"Absolutely," the governor said during a visit to Tampa Thursday morning. "I'm very comfortable that the House and Senate are going to be supportive. They're like me: they want more jobs for all the families here, including theirs. In my case, I have grandchildren. Going to have my fourth soon in the next week or so. I want to make sure they stay in Florida."

Scott's comments came after he gave medallions to employees of USAA who had recently graduated from its training program focused on veterans. The insurer, which focuses on insuring members of the military, held the graduation ceremony in its Tampa offices for the 12th class in its "Combat to Claims" program since it began in 2012.

Among other topics discussed during a brief media Q&A:

• Scott acknowledged meeting with leaders of the Seminole Tribe Tuesday to discuss renewing their gambling compact. However, he made no assurances of a deal being reached before an Oct. 31 deadline, nor would he say if that deadline may be extended. "I'm working every day to make sure we get the right deal," he said.

The meeting with the Tribe was not included in the governor's publicly released calendar.

• With the Republican primary heating up for the U.S. Senate vacancy created by Marco Rubio's run for the presidency, Scott steadfastly declined to back any of the candidates, including his handpicked Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. "He's a good guy," Scott said. "He's done a good job."

• He said he would release his proposed budget by early December while declining to discuss any details. "I'm going to keep it interesting," he said.

• He praised progress made to improve Florida's education system, from gains for low-income students to a boost in per-pupil spending to graduation rates reaching an 11th-year high.

"Look at all the outcome factors in the education system," he said. "We have the best education system in the country."

[Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2015 2:37pm]


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