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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott heading for Louisiana to poach businesses

Hoping to capitalize on Louisiana’s budget woes, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is planning a trade mission to that state next week to try to convince businesses there to move to the Sunshine State.

His visit comes after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, called the Republican-led Legislature back for a special session on Monday to reduce tax breaks and raise other revenues to plug a $600 million budget shortfall. Already this year, Louisiana has raised it sales taxes and increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and reduced other tax exemptions for various businesses.

“As Governor Edwards continues to rally behind tax increases and bad business policies, we stand ready to help Louisiana companies grow and create jobs in Florida,” Scott said in announcing his trade mission. “Florida has added over one million new jobs and our job growth rate is growing almost 60 percent faster than the national average. Many Louisianans already vacation in Florida, and they will save more of their money by moving their businesses to our state.”

Scott’s office said he will visit New Orleans and Baton Rouge but did not say which companies he is targeting while in those cities. 

Tweaking other governors - primarily Democrats - and trying to lure businesses in those states is nothing new for Scott, a Republican first elected in 2010. Last month he took a similar trip to California and traded jabs with that state’s governor Jerry Brown. And Scott’s made other trips to Connecticut, New York, Kentucky and Pennsylvania in recent years.

When Scott arrives in Louisiana, he'll find a political situation that might look a little familiar. The Times-Picayune reports that the Legislature let their regular session expire on Monday without passing a state construction budget and it will have to be finished in the special session. That brought complaints from lawmakers there about the growing distrust between the House and Senate. Last year, the Florida Legislature failed to pass a state budget by the end of its regular session, which forced them to meet in special session amid similar tension between the House and Senate.


[Last modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 6:31pm]


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