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Democrats Blast Scott's Job Claims In State Of State Speech

Governor Rick Scott
The Florida Channel

Florida Governor Rick Scott touted new jobs, a growing economy and tax cuts in his State of the State speech Tuesday. But Democratic lawmakers say Scott’s policies are benefitting corporations at the expense of Floridians.

Florida’s economy has greatly improved since the Great Recession. But Democrats have said it’s behind in creating good paying jobs. Scott said businesses created more than 1 million new jobs in the state in the past seven years. He says the state’s economy growing because of tax cuts and recruitment efforts by Enterprise Florida.

“Enterprise Florida has been responsible for over 900 projects since I got elected, including helping businesses like Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hertz add thousands of high wage jobs in our state,” he said.

But a recent United Way report shows that nearly 70 percent of jobs in the state pay less than $20 an hour. The most common job in Florida is a retail sales position paying an average of $10 an hour. Next are food preparers and cashiers.

Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon takes issue with that. He said low wages are a problem because people can’t get ahead financially.

“Because the majority of our jobs are great for teenagers or someone just starting out, but not for someone with skills, with training, with a strong work history, with a family to support,” he said.

Scott is also asking for more than $600 million in tax cuts. But Democrats argue that is going to the rich, leaving out the average resident. House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz said Scott has failed solutions for economic development.

“Unlike the governor, who has rewarded those who have given to his campaigns regardless of their merit, I agree with Speaker Richard Corcorcan that government ought not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” she said.

Scott wants $85 million for Enterprise Florida, but he’s fighting fellow Republicans on that.

A push to eliminate the state’s business recruitment agency Enterprise Florida is a rare point of bipartisan agreement. But don’t expect Democrats to agree with Republicans too often during session. Democrats are expected to push back on Medicaid changes, cuts to safety net hospitals and measures loosening gun control laws.

Sarah Mueller is a journalist who has worked for media outlets in several states since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 and worked as a print reporter covering local government and politics.