“One thing that I think we all ought to do as Floridians is, we ought to brag more.''
— Gov. Rick Scott.
The governor is correct, of course.
In his campaign to snatch jobs from other states, Scott has become Florida's cheerleader-in-chief. He flirts, he bad-mouths the competition, he cruises around in his private jet.
Some might call it tawdry, but we prefer to think of it as confident.
So why not accentuate tax rates? Maybe add a little sparkle to the weather charts? And if you hear of any corporations looking for a good time, tell them we're up for anything.
Take the environment, for example.
No, seriously, you can have it. You can dredge, develop and destroy whatever you want as long as there are jobs involved.
The governor and Legislature have eased environmental regulations to the point that wetlands are arid and fertilizer is the new fluoride.
And since the governor stacked the Department of Environmental Protection with people who haven't shown an inclination to actually protect the environment, you can rest assured there won't be any tree-huggers crashing your board meetings.
Let me ask you, how many other states are willing to sell out their environment? Better yet, how many other states are willing to sell out their taxpayers? Because we're okay with that, too.
We'll fork over tens of millions of dollars to insurance companies that haven't been around long enough to celebrate an anniversary. We'll hand tax incentives to corporations that promise to create jobs, and then never hold them to their promises.
We'll even let energy companies collect money and turn a profit for nuclear plants they're not required to build.
We're business groupies.
You know what else we like? Guns. We like 'em big, we like 'em automatic, we like 'em concealed. Some of our legislators even like them strapped to our schoolteachers.
We're not saying you have to own a gun if you want to come to Florida. We're just saying if you want to, we're not going to waste a lot of time making sure you're sane.
Now, we would be remiss if we failed to point out that Florida doesn't spend as much money investing in students as a lot of states.
That would be 37 states, if you must know.
We know how concerning this might be for businesses seeking an educated workforce. So we try to make up for that lack of student funding by steering cash directly to for-profit educational companies.
This could be massive charter school corporations with no ties whatsoever to Florida, or it could be standardized testing companies that are friendly with our politicians. The details aren't important. The point is we'll send money your way if you want to privatize schools, prisons, Medicare or any other industry ripe for raiding.
Just remember, it ain't bragging if you can back it up.
Or sell it off.
As you can see, there is much to admire about the business climate we have created in Florida. If it means the governor can add more jobs to his personal tally, we are willing to look the other way for practically any idea that doesn't involve providing health care.
We draw the line at that nonsense.