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Rick Scott visits Tampa, takes credit for rising revenues

Reporters also question him on Puerto Rico, Tallahassee's sexual harassment allegations and the Hollywood Hills nursing home deaths.

Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times attended a Thursday morning news conference where Gov. Rick Scott went to an old talking point.

“I came there to talk about tax reductions,” Scott told reporters. “Look at what we’ve done in Florida. We’ve cut taxes 75 times, cut $7.5 billion worth in taxes and as a result we’ve added over 1.3 million jobs. People are coming to our state, about 350,000 people come here a year, we’ve got businesses coming here, we’ve been able to pay down debt, over $9 billion worth of debt, our general revenues are growing, all because we’re cutting taxes, we’re reducing regulations, we’re creating an environment that everybody wants to live here.”

That's a lot of cause and effect Scott is attributing to cutting taxes.

With job creation, remember that Scott claimed upon taking office that he would create 700,000 jobs on top of what the state would have created anyway. As Allison Graves of PolitiFact pointed out earlier this year, there's much ground to be made up before Scott reaches that promise.

It's true that state revenue has grown, but as Joshua Gillin pointed out last year for PolitiFact, economists say it's difficult to show that tax cuts have caused this growth. Gillin also showed that much of what Scott claims are tax cuts are better described as temporary exemptions. And some of the reductions benefit a narrow group that wouldn't include most Floridians.

Scott has been touring the state promoting his tax cut plan for next year. On Thursday, he chose Weather Tite Windows, a family-owned business, where he highlighted his plan to proposed $180 million in tax cuts for next year's budget, including $15 million in sales tax breaks during three one-week periods for hurricane supplies. He's also proposing $73 million for a sales tax holiday on school supplies.

Afterward, Guzzo asked is it's a conflict of interest for the Legislature to investigate claims of sexual harassment against its members and if was concerned it might prevent him from achieving his legislative agenda.

“So if you read the media reports, it’s pretty disgusting,” Scott said. “I have daughters, I have a wife. You expect them to be treated with respect. Everybody. If you’re a dad, if you’re a brother, if you’re a colleague, you expect the work environment to be a place where everybody is treated with respect. There needs to be an investigation. There will be an investigation. It needs to be an independent investigation. All of us need to understand the facts. We shouldn’t tolerate anyone doing the wrong thing. If someone is doing the wrong thing, they shouldn’t be in office.  As taxpayers, as citizens of the state, we should have very high expectations.”

He lauded state efforts to accommodate the number of evacuees from Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida after Hurricane Maria.

“I’ve been to Puerto Rico twice since Maria hit,” Scott said. “I was there last Friday, I took a lot of utilities from around the state to help them,  because they’re working hard to get the power back on.  We have about 4,000 to 5,000 people coming from Puerto Rico to Florida a day. We have two relief centers, one in the Orlando airport one at the the Miami airport, we’ll be enhancing our emergency operations center in Tallahassee to work with our local and federal government. But they’re American citizens, a lot of times they are brothers and sisters and relatives, and we’re a state that takes care of people, and I want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for people coming from Puerto Rico.”

And he bristled when it was suggested that the Legislature might investigate how his administration handled the Hollywood Hills nursing home deaths.

“Think about it,” he said. “Who thinks they should not call 911 rather than call somebody who is elected?  That nursing home made the choice to, we need to understand why they did it, they made a choice not to evacuate, they made the choice not to call 911,  we lost some Florida citizens as a result of that,  that’s why I did the emergency order that said  all of our nursing homes, all of our nursing facilities are going to have backup generators and fuel in case we have another loss of power like we had with Irma.”