Rick Scott ratchets up feud with House Republicans

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott
Published Feb. 17, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott isn't done singling out Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives who voted against one of his biggest priorities.

Following a week that he toured the state publicly calling out Republicans for voting to kill Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, Scott is now using a political action committee he controls to launch automated telephone calls to voters in 9 key House districts to complain about those legislators even more.

"Unfortunately your state Rep - Paul Renner - is playing politics with Florida jobs," Scott said on the recorded phone call in Jacksonville. "He voted to kill our state tourism and jobs program and that will destroy our economy and will lead to higher taxes."

The ad is paid for by Let's Get to Work, the governor's political committee.

Scott is irate over a bill that passed a House subcommittee that would kill both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The bill passed on a 10-5 vote in the Careers & Competition Subcommittee. However, the bill has almost no chance of ever becoming law because the Senate does not have a similar bill. Both chambers need to pass identical bills for a bill to even make it out of the Legislature. And even if they did pass the same idea, Scott would have veto power to reject the Legislation.

That reality hasn't slowed Scott one bit. His whirlwind tour of the state included him accusing lawmakers of turning their back on the economic momentum the state has built since 2010 and called the "politicians" who don't understand how important tourism marketing is to the state.

Scott's automated phone calls target these members: Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole; Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello; Randy Fine, R-Brevard; Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice; Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa; Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud; Alex Miller, R-Sarasota; Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, and Renner.

Renner said Scott's pressure isn't going to change his vote on the bill to kill both agencies. He said he's taking a stand on principle and doesn't believe in "corporate giveaways."

"I think in our community, the more people hear about the facts about those programs they will be offended," Renner said.

Renner said he thinks a better way to grow jobs is through broad based tax cuts that help more businesses than a tax incentive package could.