Scott likes government, if it pays offby John Kennedy | March 22nd, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott, repeating his pledge to be the “jobs governor,” gave a pep talk Tuesday to tourism officials gathered in Tallahassee, offering some numbers behind the industry’s role in helping Florida’s economic recovery.
Scott said the state hosted 82 million visitors last year. And he’d like to see that number climb to 90 million this year.
“I’m told that every 85 visitors brings another job to Florida,” Scott said.
But Scott apparently doesn’t believe everything he hears.
When Rick Gonzalez, president of West Palm Beach’s REG Architects, asked the Republican governor about his commitment to steering state cash toward supporting historic preservation as a jobs driver, Scott paused. Gonzalez said a University of Florida study showed historic preservation created 111,509 jobs in Florida during 2007-08, while also adding $3.8 billion in gross state product.
“I’ve never seen that study,” Scott said. “If there’s a return on historic preservation, I’ll look at it. But I’ve not seen that study.”
Scott said his approach to government pivots on supporting programs that will provide a financial return on the state’s investment. He didn’t draw distinctions between health and human services programs, which are generally money-losers.
But Scott said, “I want everything we spend money on to have a return. I’ve been in business all my life, and it’s easy to get capital if you can get a return.”