March 4, 2014

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Florida, Latest News

DGA Statement on Rick Scott’s State of the State Address

“Today we heard nothing more than a stale campaign speech from Governor Rick Scott that will do nothing to change his failed record.  The real state of Scott’s state is that he showered the wealthiest and special interests with tax breaks and special deals at the expense of the middle class.  In fact, Scott gutted education, attacked women’s health care rights and systematically suppressed the vote.

“Floridians are ready for real leadership.  They need a governor who will grow the middle class, create jobs and restore scholarship funding and education programs.  We hope he enjoyed his State of the State address, because it will most surely be his last.”

BACKGROUND: 

Scott Cut Corporate Income Taxes. “In his first year in office, Scott raised the exemption from $5,000 to $25,000, then followed up in 2012 by doubling the exemption to $50,000… After Scott’s business tax cuts, more than half of businesses pay no corporate income tax.” [Tampa Bay Times, 11/8/12]

2011: Scott Cut $1.3 Billion In Education Funding. Politifact reported on Scott’s “$1 billion in new education funding,” calling it “a bit of a red herring. The money, which was included in the 2012-13 state budget… does not make up for the $1.3 billion in cuts the Republican Legislature and Scott passed in 2011. (As a matter of fact, Scott originally proposed even larger cuts but was rebuked by Republican lawmakers who found the size of the cuts untenable.)” [PolitiFact Florida, 4/18/12]

  •  Scott Cut University Funding By $300 Million. “State government’s contribution to the cost of a college education has been steadily shrinking — system-wide, universities this year absorbed a $300 million cut in the budget approved by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.” [Miami Herald, 6/21/12]

Scott Considered More Tax Cuts with Budget Surplus Beyond Already Expanded Corporate Tax Cuts. Bloomberg Businessweek reported of Scott, “The 60-year-old Republican toured the state this month to highlight a proposed $500 million decrease in taxes and a projected $845.7 million surplus… Since taking office, Scott has expanded corporate income-tax breaks.” [Bloomberg Businessweek, 9/23/13]

  • Editorial: Scott Should Invest Surplus in Education Which Has Still Not Recovered, Instead of More Tax Cuts for Big Business. The Gainesville Sun opined, “Researchers recommend that the state move away from low-wage industries such as retail and tourism toward higher-paying fields. If Scott wants to attract those kinds of businesses, he’ll need to provide them with an educated workforce. A good start would be investing part of the state’s expected budget surplus in both K-12 and higher education, which still haven’t recovered from years of previous cuts… Scott should show that he’s a leader who understands that prosperity is about more than tax cuts for big businesses.” [Editorial, Gainesville Sun, 9/4/13]

Scott Signed Bill Forcing Doctors to Offer Ultrasound Images Before Abortions In 2011 Governor Scott signed off on HB 1127 “requiring that women be offered the opportunity to see and hear a description of ultrasound images before undergoing an abortion.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/5/11HB 1127, 7/1/11]

Scott Signed Controversial Election Law Limiting Early Vote Access. The Miami Herald reported, “Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a controversial overhaul of the election laws that Republicans say is needed to prevent voter fraud and Democrats call a cynical act of partisanship to improve GOP chances in Florida next year…[the bill] cuts early voting days from 15 to eight and requires some voters who have moved to cast provisional ballots, a change most likely to affect college students.” [Miami Herald, 5/19/11]

  •  Voter Law “Wipes Out Policy In Place For Four Decades.” The Miami Herald reported, “The bill wipes out policy in place for four decades in Florida that allowed voters to update their legal addresses when they voted.”   [Miami Herald, 5/19/11]
  •  Spent $500K Defending Stunted Voter Laws. “Gov. Rick Scott’s administration spent a year and nearly $500,000 in legal fees successfully defending the shorter eight-day schedule from lawsuits by the Justice Department and advocacy groups that claimed it was a Republican plot to suppress voter turnout.” [Bradenton Herald, 10/26/12]

Despite Precedent set by Crist and Bush, Scott Would Not Extend Voting Hours. “The governor has rejected earlier calls to extend early voting to help alleviate long lines at the polls. His predecessors, Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist used their executive authority to extend voting hours during their terms.” [Tampa Bay Times, 11/3/12]

 

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