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State’s jobless office staffs up amid continuing problems with website

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 by John Kennedy

Already battling with a consulting giant over a flawed website, the state’s unemployment agency is adding 330 more staffers over the next three months to deal with long waits and disputed claims.

Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity, announced the extraordinary action in an email Thursday.

“We are dedicated to making sure that every claim is processed quickly and we will continue to work until every claimant is served,” Panuccio wrote.

DEO will add 100 ‘adjudicators’ this month to help resolve unemployment claims disputes, another 100 in February and 50 more in March, doubling the size of the unit. While left unsaid, the staffing-up may be a sign that the agency expects a long siege with Deloitte Consulting LLP, which designed the CONNECT website that has proved problematic.

Panuccio last month said the state would withhold a $3 million payment and fining the company $15,000-a-day over the site’s performance. Deloitte shot back by suggesting that any lingering problems may be the state’s fault.

While problems with Florida’s CONNECT site initially involved users having trouble entering PIN numbers and data for the weeks they were seeking payment, Panuccio said delays now occur chiefly when an applicant’s eligibility for benefits is questioned.

The state last month also announced it was then adding 192 temporary workers to assist with claims and has extended the hours of call centers established to assist those filing.

 

Despite emotional pleas, House budget panel rejects bid to keep North Fla prison open

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 by John Kennedy

Despite emotional testimony from county officials and prison employees, the House budget committee rejected a bid Wednesday to stop Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to close Jefferson Correctional Institution in rural North Florida.

The move was similar to the decision last December to close the state’s oldest lockup, Glades Correctional Institution, which similarly caused further economic upheaval in western Palm Beach County.

“This may be a 100-year event for this county,” said Rep. Leonard Bembry, D-Greenville, whose district includes the prison, told the House committee.

The Republican-led panel, however, sided with the decision by Scott and the state’s Department of Corrections, to close JCI, one of 11 lockups and work camps the administration plans to close because of a declining inmate population. Bembry sought to direct $10 million from the state’s prison privatization funding to avoid closing the facility, which is the county’s largest employer.

Close to 200 jobs will be lost — or about 6 percent of the county’s workforce. Jefferson County, which adjoins the state capital’s Leon County, has a population of 14,000. Dozens of residents packed the budget committee’s hearing room Wednesday.

“I’ve already cut the private prisons 9 percent in our budget,” said Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, chairman of the criminal justice section of the House budget panel. “If I cut them again, it would throw my budget out of whack.”

Julie Conley, Jefferson County’s economic development chief, and a former mayor, pleaded with the committee to find other areas to cut — saying there are few job prospects in her community. Conley said she understood the need to save money.

“But we ask that you do it some place that can more easily absorb the impact,” she said.

Florida draws C in national survey on job incentive dollars

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Even as Gov. Rick Scott’s administration acknowledges it needs to improve oversight of job-creation money, a national report Wednesday graded the state’s incentive programs as average in terms of tracking the dollars and creating jobs which bring decent wages.

Scott is seeking $230 million in next year’s budget for incentive dollars for his newly created Department of Economic Opportunity, more than doubling the cash available to lure businesses to relocate or expand in Florida.

But lawmakers have questioned just how well the state can vouch for the $739 million in incentives it has spread across some 1,600 contracts since 1995.

The report by Good Jobs First, Inc., a non-partisan, nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., gave Florida a C grade for its ability to follow the dollars and turn them into jobs.

 ”With unemployment still so high, taxpayers have a right to expect that economic development investments create significant numbers of quality jobs,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. “The days of ‘no strings attached’ are largely gone, but the fine print in many states is still full of gaps and loopholes.”

 Good Jobs’ review found Nevada, North Carolina and Vermont did best in applying job standards to their major subsidy programs. The District of Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming rated worst.

Oversight and performance of Florida’s big five economic development programs placed the state eighth best on the national survey.  Although laws governing four of the five subsidy programs set some kind of wage standard, none require employers to provide health benefits to workers, analysts said. 

“This study provides a roadmap for Florida legislators and economic development officials as they attempt to require more accountability from corporations receiving job subsidies,” said Alan Stonecipher, a spokesman for the Florida Cetner for Fiscal and Economic Policy, which co-released the Florida findings.

The report is here: www.goodjobsfirst.org

 

 

 

Scott touts gunmaker’s move to Florida

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 by John Kennedy

Connecticut gunmaker Colt’s Manufacturing Co., plans to open a regional manufacturing plant in Central Florida’s Osceola County, bringing with it 63 jobs, Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday.

Scott, who has vowed to create 700,000 jobs in Florida in seven years, also used the announcement to fire-off a defense of the constitutional right to carry one of Colt’s products.

“As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends the clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms,” Scott said. “My primary responsibility as governor is to be our state’s chief advocate for job creation. My personal involvement in bringing Colt to Florida demonstrates my administration’s deep commitment to rebuilding our economy.”

State officials say Florida has added about 110,000 jobs since Scott was sworn-in in January.

He’s also nuanced his campaign pledge. Scott’s dropped the claim that he would add 700,000 jobs on top of what economists had forecast to be a likely 1 million additional jobs in that time frame, based on normal growth projections.

The 63 jobs expected at the Osceola County plant are expected to pay an average salary of  just over $45,000.

Colt plans to make a $2.5 million investment in equipment and retooling a vacant building owned by Osceola County. The company is getting $250,000 in state incentives and workforce training, while the county will do building renovations and offer a break on rent for the leased structure.

 

Jobs report promising, Scott says, but plenty of work ahead

Friday, November 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott, in Jacksonville for a series of meetings, praised today’s jobs report, saying the work he and state lawmakers did earlier this year is helping to turn the state around.

The news is especially welcome as the holiday season approaches, Scott told reporters at The Jacksonville Landing overlooking the St. Johns River.

“With the holiday season starting, it’s nice to have some encouraging news. Our unemployment is continuing to drop,” Scott said.

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month, down .3 from 10.6 percent in September to 10.3 percent and down from 12 percent in January. Palm Beach County’s jobless rate is the lowest in two years. Scott said the state has added 106,900 jobs since he took office this year.

“So it’s encouraging. It’s good it’s happening right now. We have to keep after it. We still have 900,000 people out of work but we’re headed in the right direction,” said Scott, whose pledge to bring 700,000 jobs to Florida in seven years was a cornerstone of his campaign for governor.

Floridians are more confident because the governor and legislature lowered taxes for small businesses and because Scott’s administration is more business-friendly, the governor said.

“The attitude has really changed. They know we’re going to balance their budget without raising taxes or borrowing more money. This is the first year in 20 years we didn’t borrow more money. This is the first year we paid down the debt in 20 years. We’ve been increasing the debt in this state by $1 billion a year for 20 years,” Scott said.

“I think they feel good that we’ve started the process of reducing the business tax for smaller companies. And the property tax for homeowners and for businesses. I think the other thing is the individuals I’ve appointed to these agencies…They have an attitude that they’re going to help business people solve problems if they can. If they can’t, they can’t. and they’re going to tell them quickly. Because what a business person wants, they want certainty. If you’re not going to approve something, don’t approve it. But say it up front. Don’t say it in two years or five years,” the former health care executive said.

As he often does when speaking of Florida’s job creation success, Scott mentioned his competitor-in-chief, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who apparently one-upped the Sunshine State again.

Although Florida created more jobs than Texas last month, the Lone Star State’s corporate climate was ranked top in the nation by executives. Florida ranked fourth, Scott said.

“I talked with him the other day and of course what he brings up…I told him how we beat him last month in job creation and there’s a site selector survey, did you see that, where they won that. We’re number four,” Scott said, adding that he asked his staff to find out what Florida’s ranking was last year.

As for taking credit for the state’s incremental unemployment turn-around, Scott wouldn’t bite.

“I’m always cautious about that,” he said with a grin.

Scott was supposed to have lunch with legislators from the region at the riverfront shopping plaza but the meeting was canceled, his staff said.

Scott video offers preview of 2012 goals

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott is beginning his latest push for jump-starting Florida’s economy, offering a preview at a lunchtime speech Tuesday in Tallahassee and a new video his office prepared.

Scott plans to unveil much of his legislative and budget package for 2012 in the days leading up to his taking part in an Enterprise Florida trade mission to Brazil, Oct. 23-27.

In the video, the first-year governor touts tax cuts, shrinking the size of government, and fanning the flickering flames of the economy to where Florida added more than 87,000 jobs since January. No mention of the still-brutal unemployment rate: 10.7 percent in August.

 ”The proposals you will see reflect my three most important jobs as Governor— getting our residents back to work by growing quality jobs in the private sector; keeping the cost of living low for all Floridians; and building a world-class education system through continued improvements in our K-12 and higher education institutions,” Scott said. “These ideas are based on the countless stories I have received from Floridians who have contacted my office… and from the personal conversations I’ve had while traveling the state over the past year.”

See Scott’s video here:  http://bit.ly/nEL0LK

Haridopolos on prison privatization, gambling and jobs

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Senate President Mike Haridopolos defended lawmakers’ use of the budget to privatize an 18-county region from Polk County to the Florida Keys, said there would be a floor vote on an expansion of gambling and bragged about the state’s job growth in a Q-and-A with reporters this afternoon.

The Merritt Island Republican provided a detailed document to reporters as proof that talks about the nation’s largest prison privatization effort – now on hold after a Tallahassee circuit judge’s ruling that the way the legislature went about it was unconstitutional – had taken place in committees since January and not snuck into the budget at the last minute, as he said unnamed critics have implied. Although privatization was discussed at the meetings, lawmakers did not vote on or release details of any prison privatization plan until it was included in the state budget.

“I wanted to be very clear for those people who had concerns that this was something we stuck in late. This was addressed early and often and people all saw it coming both in the House and the Senate,” Haridopolos said.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents correctional workers, sued Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over the privatization, put by lawmakers into the budget in proviso language and signed into law by Scott this summer. Tallahassee Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford agreed with the union that the use of the proviso language to establish state policy was unconstitutional.

Scott has not yet decided whether to appeal but has said the privatization will happen eventually. And Haridopolos on Thursday said that the privatization will go forward, even if lawmakers have to pass a stand-alone bill when they reconvene in January. The proposal requires that the privatization of 29 prisons in the region cost at least 7 percent less than what the state currently spends – an estimated $22 million annual savings.

“I think the policy’s a good policy. We’re going to face another massive budget shortfall this year. And we’re going to spend more money on prisons and if we do we’ll spend less on education and health care,” Haridopolos said. “I guess other people have other priorities. My priority is to spend less on prisons.”

(more…)

Scott’s must-have Commerce Dept. dividing House and Senate

Thursday, April 28th, 2011 by John Kennedy

The Senate’s lead budget negotiator on economic development issues said Thursday that his side will likely quit talks a day ahead of schedule, resigned that big-ticket differences with Gov. Rick Scott and the House may demand higher-level decision-making.

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said negotiators have reached consensus on dozens of smaller issues dividing the House and Senate.

 But Scott’s plan for creating a Commerce Department that combines a host of state agencies while gaining control of economic development cash continues to draw questions from senators.

The House generally has been pushing Scott’s position. But Gaetz said early Thursday that his side is likely to make one more offer to the House — and then call off a planned additional day of discussion.

Gaetz said it makes sense to let budget chairs, Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, and Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, attempt to step in more quickly than planned.

“Our positions now are pretty well known to each other,” Gaetz said. “But there are some things that it looks like we’re not going to come to terms on.”

Gaetz’s move signals that the structure of Scott’s vaunted Commerce Department will likely play an influential role in end-game talks between the House and Senate on crafting a $66 billion-plus state budget.

Springtime for Rick Scott

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott has sent tremors through Tallahassee with his plans for eliminating almost 8,700 state jobs, trimming employee benefits and cutting spending.

But the capital city is trying to make nice. Organizers have selected Scott as the first sitting governor to serve as the grand marshal of the annual Springtime Tallahassee festival on April 2.

“The decision was not politically motivated at all,” Richard Musgrove, Springtime’s president, told the Tallahassee Democrat today.”

Musgrove said Scott’s selection was in keeping with the 43rd annual event’s earlier themes. Springtime’s first parade was dubbed the “parade of governors,” Musgrove noted, although Scott will be the first Florida chief executive actually at the head of the line.

Mr. Sunshine casts more clouds on rail

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott made an early morning stop Wednesday at Fox & Friends’ New York studios and — again– said he’s not interested in $2.4 billion in federal cash for high-speed rail.

“The federal government gives you all this money, and you have to pay for it down the road,” Scott said, adding that he disputed ridership and job-creation statistics touted by rail promoters.

South Florida’s Tri-Rail doesn’t help convince him. Scott said Tri-Rail costs about $65 million annually to operate, but pulls in only about $10 million from fares.

A high-speed train linking Tampa to Orlando, “just doesn’t make sense for the taxpayers,” he concluded.

(more…)

Scott on stagnant double-digit unemployment: ‘Unacceptable’

Friday, January 21st, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick “Let’s Get to Work” Scott, who pledged to bring 700,000 jobs to Florida in seven years, is not pleased with the state’s most recent unemployment figures showing Florida’s unemployment rate at a stagnant 12 percent.

“Today’s report of a 12 percent unemployment rate for Florida in December means that more than 1.1 million Floridians are jobless. This is not acceptable. The numbers reaffirm my commitment to getting Florida back to work, and prove that we must put job creation first by making Florida the best place to do business,” Scott said in a statement.

In contrast to the statewide average, the employment picture brightened in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast last month.

Crist to BP: I want your claims data. Now.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist wants BP officials to hand over every claims file processed or submitted to the oil giant for reparations from economic losses caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Crist today sent BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, who visited Pensacola earlier today, a letter demanding the that BP cooperate with his legal and budget staff and the Department of Revenue “to provide us the data we need to evaluate the claims process and measure the economic impact of the losses to our state as a whole.”

Crist wants “a complete electronic file of every business, individual and government claim throughout Florida, to be updated weekly, with indications whether the claim has been approved, denied, or is still pending a decision.”

One economist estimates the oil disaster could cost Florida $11 billion in lost revenues and nearly 200,000 jobs.

Crist asks Obama for $50 million to cover oil spill

Thursday, May 6th, 2010 by Dara Kam

cristobama_090210Gov. Charlie Crist asked President Barack Obama for a $50 million emergency grant to offset costs related to the oil spill threatening Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Crist asked the president to essentially put his money where his mouth is and keep true to his promise to go all-out to help the Gulf states with the disaster.

“Encouraged by your pledge to ‘spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues…And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused,‘ we ask that you seek ways to help bring about an application of disaster provisions of the Stafford Act that would permit disaster National Emergency Grants and the payment of Disaster Unemployment Assistance,” Crist wrote in a letter to Obama today.

Crist’s request is the latest in a string of high-ranking officials’ efforts to ensure the state’s emergency needs are met despite an initial $25 million block grant from BP to cover rapidly mounting costs to prepare for the anticipated impact of the massive oil spill.

No word yet if the newly-independent U.S. Senate candidate Crist will hug Obama if the president gives the green light for the dough.

Critics accuse lawmakers of hiding behind bad economy to bust up unions

Friday, March 26th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Hundreds of thousands of Florida workers – including teachers and cops – say they are under assault by lawmakers using the state’s flopping finances as a way to bust up the unions.

Measures that would cut salaries, do away with teacher tenure and impose pension reductions are speeding through the legislature this session.

“The legislature’s taking advantage of the bad economy to force their opinions of anti-unionism down the throats of the rest of the people. If they had their way, we’d be working weekends, and there would be 13-year-olds on the production lines,” said Paul Brewer, a Department of Transportation printer who is head of his local union comprised mainly of blue-collar workers in Tallahassee.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: Crist signs unemployment compensation tax deferment

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a tax break for businesses ten minutes before he began his state-of-the-state speech this evening.

The measure (HB 7033) will delay about $1.8 billion in unemployment tax payments for Florida businesses that will jump from $8 per worker to $100 per employee on April 1.

The higher tax rate kicks in in April because the number of jobless workers in Florida, among the highest in the nation, has wiped out the trust fund that pays for unemployment benefits.

Putting off the tax hike for two years means that Florida lawmakers today agreed to continue to borrow from the federal government to replenish the fund and rack up $675 million in interest payments. Those costs will be passed on to businesses over the next five years.

“Decisions are being made as we speak. Business owners are trying to determine what they’re going to do next to be able to deal with this Friday’s pay roll. This is what this bill’s about,” said Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7033), which the House also unanimously passed earlier today.

Questions about the Florida Lottery? Call Texas!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Dara Kam

With more than 1 million Floridians out of work, Florida taxpayers are footing the bill for the salaries for out-of-state workers.

This time, it’s Florida Lottery vendor GTECH’s workers in Texas that are the beneficiaries. GTECH’s call center is located in Austin and that’s where calls regarding the Lottery’s on-line tickets and other products are answered.

And lawmakers don’t even know how many jobs are at stake in Texas because the private contractors hired by the state to handle call lines won’t give up their number of employees or where they’re located, according to legislative analyst Emily Leventhal.

Sen. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who sits on the committee, asked Leventhal how many of the 16 private call centers were located outside Florida.

Only GTECH’s, she told him.

“And do you know how many people the state of Florida is paying to work in Austin, Texas?” Deutch asked.

“I do not,” Leventhal replied.

“I think that would be worthwhile information for this committee,” Deutch said.

An incensed Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander agreed.

“If they take the cash or check they can tell us what we want to know,” said Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Last year, the Department of Children and Families got in hot water because the agency’s food stamp contractor, JP Morgan Chase, routed questions about food stamp services to a call center based in India. The vendor stopped sending the calls overseas and instead sent them to Ohio and Illinois.

The head of the state’s tourism agency also earned the wrath of lawmakers last year when lawmakers found out that calls to Visit Florida were being answered in Missouri. The agency later canceled the contract.

Will politics get in the way of jobs bill? Murzin calls Gaetz bill a headline grabber

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 by Dara Kam

A race for an open Panhandle state Senate seat may stymie success of a jobs package.

State Rep. Dave Murzin, House Economic Development and Community Affairs committee chairman, took a swipe at the Senate’s jobs package sponsored by Sen. Don Gaetz.

Murzin, a Panhandle Republican who is running for a Senate seat neighboring Gaetz’s district, was asked about the Gaetz proposal at an Associated Industries of Florida event in Tallahassee yesterday.

“It’s a great package. If I had a $150 million it might be some good ideas. But quite frankly I don’t have $150 million. I think I stopped counting at about $150 million,” Murzin, R-Pensacola, told the crowd of business lobbyists.

Gaetz’ bill includes a $1,000 tax break for businesses that hire an out of work Floridian and a variety of other corporate tax breaks or incentives to induce them to put the unemployed back on the job and to get them off Medicaid and other state benefits.

Murzin said his package will be more realistic.

“So yeah, we’ll take a look at some stuff but quite frankly we’ll roll out a jobs package, an economic incentives package, an economy package that actually works, doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money because …an economic package that Floridians can afford,” Murzin said. “I’m not really into it for the is still trying to figure out exactly how much it will cost and how much it could save).headlines. I’m actually into it to put Floridians back to work.”

Gaetz, who is backing Murzin’s opponent Rep. Greg Evers in the Senate race, expressed tongue-in-cheek surprise at Murzin’s inability to come up with the money to pay for the package. (Gaetz says his staff

“Well, Rep. Murzin is welcome to his opinions. I wish him well this session. And in his future. I wish him well in everything except his aspirations to be a senator. In all other cases I wish him well,” Gaetz, R-Destin, said.

Crist should appoint earthquake disaster czar, Haitian-born Rep. Bernard says

Thursday, February 4th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Bernard

Bernard

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are putting together a legislative task force to help streamline relief to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The tri-county area is home to the greatest number of Haitian immigrants and has been ground-zero for state and federal Haitian aid efforts.

Newly elected state Rep. Mack Bernard, a West Palm Beach Democrat who was born in Port-au-Prince where the epicenter of the deadly earthquake struck last month, is heading up Palm Beach County’s delegation in the task force, which will include Reps. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, and Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, and up to 9 other South Florida lawmakers.

Bernard wants better communication from Gov. Charlie Crist, who he said telephoned him the night of the earthquake on Jan. 12 but hasn’t spoken with him since.

Bernard visited Haiti last week. His sister and her three children are now homeless as a result of the disaster, Bernard said.

Crist should appoint a “Haiti czar” to streamline efforts that could be an economic boon to financially-strapped Florida, Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, suggested.

Read the story here.

“It’s that lack of communication, especially from the governor’s office” that is creating frustration for representatives from the tri-county area, which has the state’s largest Haitian immigrant population and is now on the front line providing aid and resources to the ravaged nation, Bernard said.

PBC Commish Koons wanted FPL rate hike

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Palm Beach County Commissioner Jeff Koons asked utility regulators to approve Florida Power & Light Co.’s $1.2 billion rate hike, saying the utility is the county’s largest employer and needed the extra money to help the state go green.

The Public Service Commission yesterday instead slashed FPL’s rate hike to just $75 million and limited the amount of profit the Juno Beach-based utility can earn to 10 percent, far less than the 12.5 percent return on equity it sought.

“While no one – especially in the current economy – looks forward to higher electric bills, FPL’s proposed rate increase is necessary in order to make a greater investment in green technology, energy sources that will ultimately protect the consumer from uncertainties and bill fluctuations in the future,” Koons wrote in a letter to commissioners on Jan. 5 expressing his personal opinion on the rate case.

FPL President Armando Olivera said the company will immediately halt modernization projects at its Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral power plants and cease moving forward with most of its efforts to build two new nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point facility.

He said the projects could have brought 20,000 new jobs to Florida over the next five years.

FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist says

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist took credit for the Public Service Commission’s unanimous decision yesterday to grant FPL a $75 million-a-year rate hike, just a fraction of $1.2 billion the Juno Beach-based utility had sought.

Crist revamped the panel with two new appointments, Commissioners David Klement and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens,” late last year and appointed Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano and Nathan Skop in 2007. Crist’s appointments were intended to create a more consumer-friendly commission that in previous years when PSC votes were considered to lean more toward the utilities it regulates.

Asked if he had an impact on yesterday’s vote, Crist said: “It’s fairly obvious, isn’t it?”

The FPL decision came on the heels of a vote Monday in which the PSC denied Progress Energy Florida’s $500 million rate hike request and ordered them to repay $23 million in depreciation costs to consumers.

Crist last year effectively fired two commissioners by not reappointing them and the PSC delayed votes on the issues until the new commissioners took office this month.

Crist dismissed Florida Power & Light Co. President Armando Olivera’s assertion that the PSC vote will cost the state 20,000 new jobs from projects it is now putting on hold.

“Well we certainly don’t hope for that. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think that what happened is the Public Service Commission is an independent body that has a duty to perform their job. I think they did exactly that,” Crist said.

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