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News

Rick Scott’s confusing jobs message

Governor's 'cringe' at minimum-wage increase doesn't match the $100 million he hopes to throw at creating more low-wage jobs

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JUST THE STATS

 

$100 MILLION

AMOUNT GOV. RICK SCOTT IS PROPOSING TO INVEST IN TOURISM ADVERTISING THROUGH VISIT FLORIDA IN HIS “IT’S YOUR MONEY TAX CUT BUDGET” IN 2014, A 60 PERCENT INCREASE FROM THE $63.5 MILLION SPENT IN THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR

 

$390

AMOUNT OF NEW SPENDING VISIT FLORIDA FINANCE CHAIR AND SEAWORLD PRESIDENT TERRY PRATHER SAYS THAT EACH DOLLAR INVESTED INTO TOURISM ADVERTISING GENERATES

 

$10.10

AMOUNT LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS ARE PROPOSING FOR THE STATE’S NEW MINIMUM WAGE, RAISING IT FROM THE CURRENT $7.93 AN HOUR RATE (AND $4.91 AN HOUR FOR TIPPED WORKERS)

 

“WHEN I HEAR A POLITICIAN SAY THAT WE HAVE TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE SO WORKING FAMILIES CAN MAKE ENDS MEET, I CRINGE, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT STATEMENT IS A LIE. EVEN IF WE DID RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE, WORKING FAMILIES WILL STILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET ON THOSE JOBS. WE NEED GOOD JOBS THAT LEAD TO GOOD CAREERS FOR OUR FAMILIES AND THAT’S WHAT I AM FOCUSED ON.”
– GOV. RICK SCOTT
SOURCES: Tampa Bay Times, the Governor’s Press Office

 

 

MIXED MESSAGING

Orlando was abuzz and agog last Friday as it prepared for the promised fly-by touchdown of People’s Gov. Rick Scott at Orlando International Airport, where he was set to spread some more of the Good News that keeps our hearts warm and our stomachs full in the off-season. “Something-something-tourism-something-something-economy,” was all that could be made out from the ham radio signals and email missives on Thursday evening into Friday morning. What splash of fresh economic disparity could we possibly expect from our own reverse Robin Hood this time? Record spending on the low-wage tourism economy, you say? Correct!

“We are on track for another record year, and we hope to build on this incredible momentum and make the Sunshine State the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” he told the layover set while standing in front of tourism leaders with greased palms. “To do that, we are going to recommend an historic $100 million in our ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ this year. Because every 85 visitors to our state supports one Florida job, a growing tourism industry equates to more jobs for Florida families and a stronger economy.”

So, if we’re going on strictly mathematical principles here, Scott cares about you only inasmuch as you represent 85 visitors. You are totally the 1 percent. But we don’t even have to dig into the algebra to see (once again) the bifurcated talking-point tongue from whence this messaging is being expelled. Just two days earlier, on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty” declaration, legislative Democrats rang their tiny progressive bell and made it clear that they were proposing an increase in the minimum wage for the state to $10.10 an hour, which, not coincidentally, matches the same increase currently backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. The notion, on all logical counts, is that there have been virtually no cost-of-living increases in the past three decades for regular folks, so, naturally, we’re all even poorer than we were in 1979 (or when the unions died; it’s up to you).

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