Louisiana governor invites Gov. Scott to see Jindal deficit during jobs trip

Gov. Rick Scott is taking his job search over state lines again next week.

This time, the self-proclaimed “jobs governor” will visit Louisiana.

The theme of Scott’s trip due to take place sometime next week is identical to other trade missions he’s carried out – luring companies looking for an escape from high taxes put on by state lawmakers there.

A news release provided by Scott’s office says Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called a special legislative session this week to raise taxes on “residents and businesses.”

Edwards’ spokesman Richard Carbo said the governor is merely navigating budget shortfalls created by former Gov. Bobby Jindal. Scott and Jindal are friends. In fact Scott’s former Chief of Staff Melissa Sellers and current deputy Chief of Staff Frank Collins both worked under Jindal before coming to Florida.

“Louisiana is a hospitable state and we welcome Gov. Scott – we just hope he spends a little extra money while he’s here to help us stabilize our budget. While he’s here, he should visit with the students and families that are paying the price for the failed policies of his friend, former Gov. Jindal, who left our state with a $2 billion deficit,” Carbo said. “If not, then he’d be best served staying in Florida because Louisianans have had enough of slick talking politicians who ignore their citizens.”

Scott’s trade missions have changed in two ways since he took office in 2011. He previously made plenty of overseas trade missions that connected Florida businesses with counterparts in countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Spain. Lately his focus has been domestic job hunting jaunts.

The other difference is that Scott is traveling less with Enterprise Florida. The state’s public-private partnership that designed to help lure companies once received billing on announcements, but that does not seem to be the case anymore.

Rather than tout Enterprise Florida, Scott chose to point out how Louisiana raised taxes 14 times and how the special session called by Gov. Edwards could only lead to more.

Scott visited California in April touting Florida’s low taxes and a generally business-friendly climate, which he said were better than the high taxes and regulation of the Golden State. Scott visited business around Los Angeles before heading up to San Francisco and San Jose. Scott generated plenty of attention from California Gov. Jerry Brown, who told him the businesses in his state had no interest in moving to Florida.

Scott also carried out trips last year to Kentucky, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York. He also made a trip to California.

Gov. Rick Scott goes on Fox to fight Zika and support Trump

Gov. Rick Scott took to the airwaves Thursday in his latest bid to convince President Barack Obama to provide Florida with money and supplies to fight the Zika virus.

Scott again likened his predicted growth of the Zika virus to hurricane season, which officially began Wednesday.
“We can’t get behind,” Scott said during his latest appearance on Fox News Your World with Neil Cavuto. “We need to be prepared just like we will for a hurricane.

“Once it happens it can explode.”

Scott riffed off of a letter he sent to the White House Wednesday asking for supplies and money for Florida to fight the disease. Scott aid in the letter he had discussed the items with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell when he visited Washington, D.C., last month. He left the trip hopeful federal lawmakers would reach a compromise on Zika funding, but nothing has been finalized.

Meanwhile, Congress is about two weeks from going on summer vacation.

“Congress goes on vacation. We can’t go on vacation,” Scott said, later adding, “We’ve got to have a federal partner.”

Scott dismissed questions of whether he was acting like an alarmist, saying Florida is particularly vulnerable to see the worst of the virus. He was particularly concerned of travel to Zika-rich sections of the world such as Brazil, where the Summer Olympics will be held.

Scott was also asked about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, to which he lauded as another sign of unification. Scott said the Republican Party must come together in order to secure a victory in November.

Scott also said Trump will be successful if his campaign takes the same trail he blazed during his first gubernatorial election in 2010 and his re-election in 2014. He will help Trump win the state but the real work will be up to the New York businessman.

“My focus is how I can make him win the state of Florida,” Scott said, adding he had spoken to Trump on Thursday or Friday of last week. “He can win this state. He should win this state. But you’ve got to work at it. Tell your story.

“It’s still about jobs.”

NRA, Unified Sportsmen, come out strong in favor of bear hunt

Naples Daily News
Naples Daily News

One of the most powerful voices for the NRA in Florida came out strong Wednesday in favor of another bear hunting season currently being planned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Marion Hammer distributed a letter on behalf of the NRA and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida that compared the 304 bears killed during last year’s two-day season to the estimated average of 240 bears killed every year in crashes with vehicles.

“It’s time to acknowledge the risk to public safety from vehicle crashes involving bears and the economic cost of subsequent injury and damage to passengers and vehicles caused by these crashes,” Hammer wrote.

The FWC in October launched its first bear hunt in 21 years, killing 304 of the furry mammals in less than two days. State officials believe the Florida black bear population had exploded since the few hundred in the 1970s to more than 4,000, according to a survey conducted last year.

A long list of groups that opposed the hunt believed the state’s numbers were outdated and much lower than what they reported. They also contended that the bears should not be punished for humans encroaching on their environment.

The most bears killed during the October hunt were in Marion County, not far from, as Hammer stated in her letter, the site of several Florida Highway Patrol reports of bears being run over by vehicles.

Hammer suggested in her letter that there are more bears than the FWC believes and they have lost their fear of humans.

“Bears continue to terrorize homeowners and prevent families from allowing children to play outside in some areas,” Hammer wrote. “And while FWC is working to educate people about securing trash and is trying to move dangerous bears out of residential areas, these programs are helpful but cannot succeed without hunts to reduce the population.”

The FWC will likely decide at the end of the month whether to continue plans toward another bear hunt season.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam posturing gubernatorial campaign

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants people to know more about the Sunshine State than just Miami or Jacksonville.

Putnam also wants the state to be the jumping off point for the American Dream.

Perhaps the veteran lawmaker also wants people to know his role representing one of the largest chunks of Florida’s economy has dressed him well as a candidate for governor in 2018.

The video posted by Putnam (watch here), a Bartow native who started his political career in his early 20s after graduating from the University of Florida, does what an agriculture commissioner should do for the state’s bustling industry. It reminds people there are cities away from the metropolises of Orlando and Tampa that serve as footholds for the state’s economy. But his message goes beyond the usual nods toward the citrus or cattle industries. It continues a vision Putnam spoke off when he briefly spoke last week during Gov. Rick Scott’s Degrees to Jobs Summit in Orlando.

“I want Florida to be more than just a vacation destination, more than just a prize that people reward themselves with for a life well lived someplace else,” Putnam said in the video.  “I want this to be the jumping off point for the American dream.”

That sounds a bit more like a campaign speech. The video goes on to remind state leaders not to forget places like Zolfo Springs or Arcadia, or the decades old rivalry between high school football teams in Bartow and Lake Wales.

If anything, the video edges in to the “North Florida Values” approach taken by U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. She’s hinted at making a run for governor on the Democratic ticket, which would pit her against Putnam.

Graham rooted her successful 2014 campaign against former Rep. Steve Southerland in the “values” of the rural Panhandle and the more urban city centers of Tallahassee and Panama City.

But Putnam, who was elected to agriculture commissioner in 2010 and the re-elected in 2014, has proven himself in statewide votes. Graham on the other hand, has the name of a popular U.S. senator and governor. Her father, Bob Graham, was twice elected governor before he served in Washington, D.C.

During upcoming appearances, expect Putnam to talk more about connecting the state’s workforce to careers chosen by children who started working toward those goals in grade school. He said last week that no one who showed up for college in Gainesville, Tallahassee or Boca Raton chose complicated degrees like organic chemistry out of thin air. That interest

Gov. Scott’s Degrees to Jobs summit includes plenty of faculty, he says

Gov. Rick Scott pointed to three Florida college football coaches as proof that there were faculty at his inaugural Degrees to Jobs Summit earlier this week in Orlando.

Scott’s summit, which his office coordinated as a way to pair business owners with the state’s 28 colleges and 12 universities, took heat from the United Faculty of Florida, which represents 22,000 faculty members around the state. The group said none of tis members were invited.

Scott said Thursday at the conclusion of the event as he was flanked by Florida State University football Coach Jimbo Fisher, University of Florida football Coach Jim McElwain and University of Miami football Coach Mark Richt, that plenty of faculty members were in attendance.

“They’re faculty,” Scott said of the coaches before listing off a long line of high-ranking university and college officials who attended the event.

Representation for FSU at the Education to Jobs Summit also included President John Thrasher, who was a powerful Republican state Senator before he took the top university job. Notable among those not in attendance was UF President Kent Fuchs.

The event was held at the swanky Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Studios. Scott’s staff said the event was paid by a long list of sponsorships that included Universal.

The crowd that gathered for the event was rife with politicians, with  appearances by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner.

Incoming Senate President Joe Negron spent about an hour at the event. House Speaker Richard Corcoran had a prior engagement to attend, but several members of House GOP leadership were there.

Of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater hosted a Tuesday welcoming reception that kicked off the summit Tuesday night. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam provided some brief remarks on Thursday just after lunch, where he drove home themes of getting children on a career track while they’re young. They should prepare for careers before they head off to state universities such as UF, FSU or Florida Atlantic University, Putnam said.

“You don’t want to show up in Gainesville or Tallahassee or Boca Raton and say ‘I’ll choose organic chemistry,” Putnam said. “We want them to be thinking about that when they’re in the second or third grade.”

When asked if there will be another Degrees to Jobs Summit, Scott pretty much said definitely maybe.

We focus on all things politics in the Sunshine State. We are the joint bureau of Naples Daily News / Treasure Coast in Tallahassee.