Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott not giving up on across-the-board teacher raises

First, Gov. Rick Scott criticized the Florida House on Tuesday during a Cabinet meeting, calling it "very disappointing" that the House is pushing a 6 percent increase in tuition at state colleges and universities.

Later, in a Q&A session with reporters in his office, Scott suggested that if legislative leaders want their priorities, they should also pass his two top issues: a $2,500 across-the-board teacher pay raise and a sales tax break for manufacturing equipment. Scott is pushing lawmakers to back down from their demand that a teacher pay increase be tied to classroom performance.

"The House has their priorities, I have my priorities, the Senate has their priorities. I hope everybody ends up with a very successful session. We have time to do that," Scott said. "I've been very clear from before session started what my two priorities were."

Pressed to say whether he would veto the entire education budget if the teacher pay raise has strings attached, Scott said: "I'm sure the speaker of the House and the Senate president would like to have a successful session. They know my priorities."

Scott courts Illinois businesses

Gov. Scott sent letters to Illinois business owners this week, telling them to book a "one-way" ticket to Florida and set up shop in the Sunshine State.

In the letter, Scott touts Florida's economic recovery, low taxes and shrinking state debt. He continues his "It's working" theme by painting Florida as a state that has undergone an "incredible economic turnaround" under his watch. In contrast, Scott writes, Illinois is raising taxes and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

"While Florida's economic formula is working, we know Illinois' formula of more taxing and more spending ISN'T WORKING," Scott writes.

Scott's office said the letter went out to the top 100 businesses in Illinois.

Rubio meets Adelson in Vegas

Sen. Marco Rubio is deeply immersed in the immigration debate but that didn't stop him from traveling to Las Vegas on Saturday for fundraising and a meeting with uber-donor Sheldon Adelson.

Rubio attended a Republican Jewish Coalition and then raised money for his campaign committees, which took in nearly $2.3 million in the first three months of this year.

Rubio also discussed immigration with reporters. Noting his time as a boy in Las Vegas, he said, "I see the negative impact of illegal immigration. I also see the human face of it. Growing up here reinforced that."

Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralson wrote on his blog, "After the press availability, Rubio went on to a more important meeting upstairs at The Venetian: Gondolier Numero Uno Sheldon Adelson, the pre-eminent GOP donor in the country."

Listening tour stops in Pasco

Republican-turned-Libertarian operative Roger Stone is bringing his "Sunshine State Listening Tour" to Pasco County tonight to talk about the 2014 drive for medical marijuana. Stone will be at Boulevard Beef and Ale, 6236 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Blake High grad gets top post

Victoria Kirby has been named Florida coordinator for Organizing for Action, the extension of President Barack Obama's campaign machine. Kirby graduated from Blake High School for the Arts in Tampa and volunteered for the campaign in 2008 and 2012.

Adam C. Smith and Toluse Olorunnipa contributed.

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