Start spreading the news! As the majority ofour dumb state lies in financial dust – coating our numerous “kitchen table” lacerations in a sticky layer of orange juice – on March 29, Gov. Rick Scott chose to keep his glass of citrus swill deceptively half-full. Skillfully timed with an appearance on Fox News with Neil Cavuto, Scott unleashed perhaps the most ham-fisted treatise imaginable in the form of an open letter to the 100 biggest corporations in New York.
“Do you like paying higher taxes to do business in New York?” his red crayon rattled off. “As a former CEO and entrepreneur, I know my answer to that question is absolutely not.”
What makes the rest of this exercise so hilarious – beyond its flashes of carpetbagger desperation, that is – is how much it tells us about our governor. Still way shy of his promised 700,000 job uptick, Scott is apparently taking a shortcut through scatological delusion.That, he assumes, is the language of money.
“Florida is a right-to-work state with no personal income tax, low business taxes, great teachers, the best beaches and weather in the world, and over all great quality of life – factors that every CEO and entrepreneur considers,” it shamelessly continues.
See that? Scott still thinks he's a CEO! For those keeping score, Scott has even more end-times delicacies he'd like to sell you with a side of Everglades swamp: he intends to phase out the corporate income tax; Florida's got the best workforce and job training according to his friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; under Scott's tutelage, the state has “eliminated close to 500 burdensome regulations with hundreds more in the pipeline”; you can live cheaply, you can go to the beach, and you will never be unhappy again!
Just to drill it in more jaggedly, Scott then really ups the ante with this baiting grind: “If you earned $500,000, was it worth the extra $35,000 to live there? According to cost-of-living calculations, a salary of $75,000 in Tampa, Florida, would be equal to making $125,131 in New York City.” In other words, come on down to Florida, where you can pay your staff less and they won't even notice! That's how we do it in the Sunshine State.
Actually, the “Dear Santa” letter came just one day before the state's unemployment numbers were released, and, to everyone's surprise, there was a dip from 9.6 percent in January to 9.4 percent in February with 10,000 jobs added! On March 30, the Florida Democratic Party spelled out the reality of those figures. They are bunk. Florida still has the 45th highest unemployment rate in the nation, trailing way behind Ohio (7.6 percent), Texas (7.1 percent) and Georgia (9.1 percent), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; also, along with the dip in unemployment came a dip in jobs. Everything is relative!