Rick Scott pushes back on Castor, defends DEO
Gov. Rick Scott visited Brandon Honda on East Adamo Drive on Wednesday to talk about his plan to cut auto registration fees by $401 million.
He's planning to cut a total of $500 million in next year's budget, but he told reporters that he doesn't quite know where he'll find that additional $100 million.
"My budget comes out at the end of the month," Scott said. "We'll have it done in the next few weeks."
Scott gave reporters some spirited answers to their subsequent questions, including an icy retort to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. When asked by Creative Loafing's Mitch Perry about what he thought about Castor calling Florida's new $63-million website a "disaster" and a "debacle", Scott said Castor should be focused on her job in Washington.
"Well, first thing I think is that I think Kathy Castor should focus on some of the federal issues that they have," Scott said. "Let’s think about some of them. They raised the flood insurance on so many of our Florida families, we’ve got the 300,000 families who were told they were going to lose their insurance at the end of last year, so maybe she could focus on some of those issues."
As for the Department of Economic Opportunity's handling of the website, which has struggled ever since the website debuted, Scott said he was satisfied his staff was getting the job done.
"Now, DEO is going to get it fixed," Scott said. "They are working on getting it fixed. They’ve already fined Deloitte (the vendor) millions of dollars, they are fining them $15,000 a day, they brought in a new company (Capgemini) to help make sure that it gets fixed, but they’re going to get it fixed. Look, I want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for unemployment gets it, and at the same time I’m working everyday to make that people don’t have to rely on it, that they have a job. It’s the most important thing we can do."
Question: Do you have a deadline set to when you want it fixed and working?
"Oh gosh, we work on it everyday. And try to improve it everyday."
Question: Do you plan on going to Washington at all and speaking to them about the flood insurance issue?
"Well, as you know, we’ve already done press conferences on it. I’ve called on Washington to fix it. What they did to raise flood insurance on our families is devastating to so many families. It’s impacted our housing market where the flood insurance rates have gone up. I’ve called on Washington to fix it, they haven’t done it yet, they should be doing it. You know, what’s so disappointing is that in a state we have to solve our problems. And to go solve problems you have to compromise, you have to figure out how to work with people, but up there, they seem to let things linger. And that’s one thing they’ve let linger. This flood insurance rate started going up in October and so it’s had a big impact on our families."
Question: Can you respond to the lawsuit to force you to appoint a lieutenant governor?
"I’m working very hard to make sure I get the right person. I want to make sure it’s the right person who will continue to improve our economy. We’ve had a big turnaround in our economy and I’m going to find the right person."
Question: Do you support allowing parents of kids who have seizures to have access to a special strain of medical marijuana?
"Well, look, I, I tell you what, I oppose illegal drug abuse, I’ve watched what it does to families. I think the attorney general (Pam Bondi) has done the right thing with the advice she gave the Supreme Court. Have a great day!"