California finally finds something timely to use against Gov. Scott

California Gov. Jerry brown upped the ante in response to Gov. Rick Scott’s job hunting tour there.

Rather than rely on an economic report prepared before the Great Recession of 2008, Brown’s office sent Scott and Florida reporters a timelier report on climate change. Brown parlayed the environmental issue Scott has avoided into criticism of his latest job hunting visit. You can read the report here.

“The report also notes that Florida’s economy could suffer billions of dollars in additional losses as labor productivity drops and storm damage mounts due to extreme weather events,” Brown wrote in his letter to Scott.

The report on climate change was a bit timelier than a previous report from 2006 that concluded most California companies at the time were not interested in relocating. Brown’s office provided the report to Florida reporters who asked about Scott’s visit. The author of the report said the data used was from 1992 to 2006.

A lot has changed since the report was published by the California Institute for Public Policy, including the Great Recession of 2008.
Scott and Brown have been trading barbs on Twitter and in news releases since the Florida governor announced his job hunting trip to California last month. Scott said he chose California after Brown and state lawmakers agreed to jack up the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

The facts on Starbucks, Medicaid and Planned Parenthood

More to the drama that brewed this week in a little old Starbucks in Downtown Gainesville.

There, Gov. Rick Scott walked in for a cup of coffee, and former Lake Worth City Commissioner Cara Jennings lambasted him for his opposition to any expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

And evidentially, Jennings began her rant against Scott – before the cellphone camera started rolling – by criticizing him for signing a bill that stopped a total of $250,000 from going to six Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that also perform abortions.

The video, of course, reopened the debate over the state’s adoption of ObamaCare, and the issue is actually much larger than Scott. In fact, the House, led by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, ended legislative session three days early last year when the Senate proposed a plan to expand Medicaid.

Crisafulli and other fiscal conservatives refuse to expand Medicaid, which would give roughly 1 million Floridians access to health care, because they are not convinced the federal government will continue to support it. The $82 billion budget that will go into effect in July includes $26.5 billion for the state’s Medicaid program. Roughly 60 percent of that cash is from the federal government and the remaining 40 percent is paid by state taxpayers. The federal government would have paid 100 percent of the cost to expand the state Medicaid program until this year, but then the state would begin to pay on its own. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration estimates taxpayers would pony up an additional $1.5 billion toward Medicaid by 2020, as the federal government ratchets back its share of the extra cost.

Furthermore, state Republicans are worried the federal government will eventually place the entire cost of Medicaid expansion on the state. Even with the 60-40 split, the cost of the current program already eats into the state budget every year. For example, the total Medicaid budget last year was $24.7 billion and this year’s budget is $1.8 billion more. That difference alone is more than the entire cost to fund the Florida Department of Corrections, which has 23,000 employees.

With all the nail-biting Republicans have endured over the prospect of absorbing an expanded Medicaid program, a report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows 567,000 Florida residents would be currently eligible for Medicaid if the Legislature agreed to expand it. Those are people who usually wait until it’s life-or-death before they seek medical attention, which is both scary and ends up being more costly to taxpayers.

But remember those words – if the Legislature agreed to expand it. Perhaps the same could be said about the cash no longer going to those Planned Parenthood clinics.

Gov. Rick Scott’s response to the the scream session at Starbucks

Gov. Rick Scott fired back Friday morning with his own video (CLICK HERE) to the former Lake Worth City Commissioner who verbally chased him out of a Starbucks this week in downtown Gainesville.

The woman, Cara Jennings, took to the cable talk show circuit after the YouTube video of her screaming at Scott went viral. Jennings blamed Scott for not expanding the state’s traditional Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. Scott fired back at Jennings by touting the 1 million jobs that were created during his two gubernatorial terms, which prompted her to respond that she did not know anyone with a good job. The woman, Cara Jennings, took to the cable talk show circuit after the YouTube video of her screaming at Scott went viral. Jennings blamed Scott for not expanding the state’s traditional Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. Scott fired back at Jennings by touting the 1 million jobs that were created during his two gubernatorial terms, which prompted her to respond that she did not know anyone with a good job.

Scott’s video points out the job growth North Central Florida has seen during his time in the state’s top executive office. It also took a jab at Jennings for hanging out at the Gainesville Starbucks instead of working. Scott’s video points out the job growth North Central Florida has seen during his time in the state’s top executive office. It also took a jab at Jennings for hanging out at the Gainesville Starbucks instead of working.

Scott has certainly learned how to take the offensive approach when dealing with his critics. Even in gaggles with the Florida Capitol Press Corps, Scott is likely to gently fire back at reporters as they ask him questions. Scott has certainly learned how to take the offensive approach when dealing with his critics. Even in gaggles with the Florida Capitol Press Corps, Scott is likely to gently fire back at reporters as they ask him questions.

Alas, Scott is no former Gov. Jeb Bush, who would correct reporters who asked him questions with inaccurate information. Alas, Scott is no former Gov. Jeb Bush, who would correct reporters who asked him questions with inaccurate information.

Gov. Rick Scott walks into the wrong Gainesville Starbucks…

Gov. Rick Scott learned it’s probably not a good idea to visit the Starbucks in Downtown Gainesville Tuesday after a former Lake Worth Commissioner and self-described activist yelled at him about “cutting Medicaid.”

You can find footage of the video, shot by a man identified on YouTube as Stephen Bender, here.

The woman, identified on her Facebook page as Cara Jennings, called Scott a variety of names because she could not sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act, which both he and the Legislature — mainly the House — flatly opposed.

Rather than engage in an argument, Scott tried to deflect by jumping to his usual talking points about creating 1 million jobs. Jennings appeared infuriated in her response.

“You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed of yourself,” Jennings said.

Scott responded, “Oh really? What about 1 million jobs?”

Jennings then said, “1 million jobs? Great! Who here has a great job?”

Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante tried to absorb Jennings’ screams, to which she replied, “I’m not talking to you.”

Scott walked into the Gainesville Starbucks across the street from the Hippodrome. It’s a study spot for students who don’t mind rubbing elbows with some of the city’s homeless population, who live in a nearby tent city. The local socialist society also regularly holds informational sessions over a card table set up along the street. Downtown is also home to Gainesville’s sort-of punk scene. Finally, that particular Starbucks is a meeting spot for plenty of activists before they head over to the nearby city and county commission meetings.

With all this said, all the real activists hang out at Maude’s, a locally owned coffee shop directly across the street from the corporate Starbucks.

Perhaps next time the governor should visit the more tame Starbucks on Archer Road or on Northwest 13th Street at Northwest 16th Avenue.

Jennings later wrote on her Facebook page that she was already upset that Scott had signed a bill that provided tougher restrictions on abortion clinics and restricted funding, albeit a small amount.

“And then today, the governor walked right into the coffee shop I was at…and left with no coffee,” Jennings wrote.

Scott left the Starbucks with his entourage of FDLE security and his office staff following close behind.

Sen. Joe Negron shifts to higher ed priorities with campus tour

Joe Negron
Joe Negron

 

 

 
Incoming Senate President Joe Negron will launch a tour later this month of the state’s 12 universities to learn how they have succeeded and how the Legislature can help them.

Negron, who will become senate president during the legislative organizational session in November, said that he wants to hear how smaller schools such as Florida Gulf Coast University spurred an increase in applications from prospective students.

“I want to learn more and I will learn more on this tour,” Negron said on Tuesday. “Florida Gulf Coast University made tremendous strides in quality on its own, and I can only imagine how much higher universities can go with help from the Legislature.”

Negron will begin his tour April 18 on the western end of the state with a visit to the University of West Florida. He’ll then move across the Panhandle to Florida State and Florida A & M universities. April 19, he’ll visit the University of North Florida, the University of Florida and then the University of Central Florida in Orlando. April 20, he’ll stop at Florida Polytechnic University, the University of South Florida and then the New College of Florida in Sarasota.

Negron will stop at stop at FGCU April 21 before heading over to Florida International University in Miami and then Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Negron spent much of the speech he gave Dec. 2 after he was elected as the next senate president talking about his mission of making the state’s universities better. He also spoke of outlining achievements for the schoo those results to be measurable.

“I want to know the specific goals for the universities over the next three to 10 years and how the Legislature can help,” Negron said. “I want them to be as specific as possible.”

For FGCU, Negron said he wants to learn more about how the university created its internship and job placement program. He also wants to know how Florida International University College of Law grew to become one of the highest ranking law schools in the state. He plans to sit down with FIU Law Dean Alexander Acosta to find out how he and his staff did it.

“FIU law school, a decade ago, was a good law school and to me, dean Acosta has taken it to the next level,” Negron said. “They have a very low acceptance rate and they actually shrunk enrollment.”
Negron also plans to visit with students by grabbing a tray at the campus cafeteria and chatting with them over lunch. Negron said he particularly wants to know more about how students have struggled to meet increasing tuition and fees at the state’s universities.

“My goal is that every student can attend university that they have earned the opportunity to attend,” Negron said. “We’re talking about increasing the need based on financial aid, the Florida student access grant (for private colleges) and increasing scholarships.”

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