Will life get tougher for Florida’s poor? Scott: “I hope not.”by John Kennedy | April 5th, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he still expects the Florida Legislature to embrace his call for $2 billion in tax breaks, mostly for corporations and property owners, even though both the House and Senate are poised to approve budgets this week that ignore his pitch.
“I believe they will,” Scott said. “It’s something that’s very important to getting the state back to work. I really believe that we’ve all got to understand that we’re competing with 49 other states and a lot of other countries. And we’ve got to make this a state where we want to live, work and play.”
In cutting $1 billion from schools and imposing deep reductions in programs serving the poor, elderly and disabled, legislative leaders have said the budget-slashing would have to be even tougher to make room for Scott’s push to phase-out the corporate income tax and reduce property taxes going to schools.
Scott wouldn’t talk about the prospect of vetoing a budget without the cuts. “I’d rather not think about hypotheticals,” the governor said.
But lawmakers also have hinted they are wary of potential political backlash if they cut programs for some of Florida’s neediest — while handing out tax breaks. Meanwhile, higher tuition costs, electric rate hikes and property insurance boosts all look likely to emerge from a Legislature that claims an aversion to tax and fee increases.
Asked if life would get tougher for lower-income Floridians when the Legislature adjourns in May, Scott paused.
“I hope not,” Scott said. “First off, we’ve got to get this state back to work. The thing that impacts people the most in this state right now is the 1.1 million people without a job. If we take the different pieces…my goal is to make sure we’re reducing the cost of state government. But the biggest thing is, people need a job.”