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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Seminole Tribe's Chairman Billie and Gov. Scott call gaming compact 'historic'



A day after signing a new multibillion-dollar compact, Gov. Rick Scott and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James E. Billie separately commended the deal as historic. 

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida salutes Gov. Scott for his leadership in working with members of the Senate and the House to finalize this important compact for our 4,000 Seminole tribal members and for all Floridians,'' Billie said in a statement. "We are especially grateful to Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz for the important role they played throughout the process."

Billie said the new compact "will serve Florida well for years to come" and said it saves 3,500 jobs and could create up to 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.  "There is nothing more important than investing in Florida’s economy and continuing to help our workforce grow.

Reached before his meeting with the Florida Cabinet, Scott called it "an historic day yesterday" when he signed the deal to bring a minimum of $3 billion over seven years.

"The last compact five years ago was $1 billion,'' Scott told the Herald/Times. "But I'm just the first part of the process. Now it goes to the Legislature. I respect the decision of (Senate) President Gardiner and Speaker Crisafulli. It goes to them. They'll make a decision."

He noted that he understands that the Legislature must ratify it. "But if you look at the law, the law is that the governor is required to look at this first. I did. I took the time to do an historic compact. It's a good compact for the state. Again, I respect the decision of the Legislature. They'll make the final decision whether they want to go forward with this."

Scott disagreed that the provisions in the compact that allow for two new slots casinos, one each in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, are an expansion of gambling. 

"It does not. If you look at the compact, it puts a cap on Seminole gaming and limits gaming,'' he said. 

He would not answer whether he supports a reduction in the tax rate for South Florida parimutuels which is being contemplated as a companion bill to help win support from the industry. 

Steve Bousquet contributed to this report. 


[Last modified: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 12:13pm]


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