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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott, reacting to Buzz blog post, calls out 'absurd' House Republicans for 'hypocrisy' and 'playing games'



Gov. Rick Scott on Monday went after "absurd" House Republicans for "hypocrisy" and "playing games" in response to a post on this blog that quoted two high-ranking GOP lawmakers as saying they would vote to wipe out Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida as part of a broader "conversation" about the future of the jobs and tourism programs.

The earlier blog post that immediately got the governor's attention can be found here.

As tensions continue to rise in the state Capitol between Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, Scott sent an opinion column to all Florida newspapers for immediate online use and for Tuesday's print editions. In the op-ed, Scott ratcheted up his criticism of his fellow Republicans.

"That's correct," Scott writes. "Many of your elected members of the Florida House have decided their top priority this year is to eliminate funding for Florida's economy. They want to eliminate Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida ... They have decided to try to totally eliminate funding for the one area where we can easily show a major return on the investment of your tax dollars -- jobs are being created by more companies moving to our state and our tourism industry has recruited a record-breaking number of visitors over the last few years."

Corcoran has repeatedly said both programs are expensive failures and has cited a number of Enterprise Florida deals that collapsed. He exposed a secret $1 million contract between Visit Florida and the hip-hop artist Pitbull; and considers both programs to be "corporate welfare," and released a taxpayer-produced video last week that included the message: "No more corruption." As governor, Scott is chairman of the Enterprise Florida board of directors.

In an obvious reference to a Times/Herald Buzz blog post, Scott said: "Even more absurd, the politicians in the Florida House who already voted for this bill say they don't necessarily want to abolish these programs but instead want to advance a 'conversation' ... meaning they voted for something they don't support. This is hypocrisy at its best and these are the kind of games I came to Tallahassee to change."

In yet another jab by Scott that appeared aimed directly at Corcoran, who's considering a bid for governor, the governor said: "I cannot allow thousands of Floridians to be denied jobs and opportunities in our state just so a few in elected office can get headlines in their campaigns for higher office."

[Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2017 4:09pm]


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