Rick Scott’s victory tour draws Democratic ire
Hollow stumping ignores failure to expand Medicaid and other middle-class interests
Published: May 14, 2014
JUST THE STATS
Amount the governor and Legislature negotiated for increasing statewide education spending, bringing the total to an all-time high of $20.7 billion
Amount Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature agreed upon for motorist-fee cuts during the 2014 legislative session, which amounts to approximately $25 in savings per driver
Amount the governor and Legislature cut from education spending in Scott’s first year as governor, 2011
Somewhere between the art of illusion and the delusions of grandeur that comprise Florida politics, Gov. Rick Scott managed to find the sweet spot in which he can allow himself a minor gloat over a middling legislative session. And, naturally, he is making no sense, because amorphous smoke screens are what save you in an election year.
“We’ve cut the size of government, but we’ve made government more efficient,” he said, according to the Orlando Sentinel, while apparently chasing his own tail.
Regardless, Scott’s seemingly benign $500 million tax-cut tourniquet is clearly meant to please only those with bulging pockets or those who forget what it’s like to actually have kids in school, because that was back in the days of My Three Sons. (“Now that was good television,” somebody in the Villages grumbled from the side seat of a speeding golf cart.)
But it wasn’t enough for Scott to merely press-release his pleasure about everything going his way. Instead, last week Scott swung into full campaign mode and launched a “victory tour,” without Tito and Jermaine and all the other Jacksons. And, predictably, it was torture, at least to Democrats.
“Time and time again, Scott and the Republicans in Tallahassee had chances to help expand opportunity for Florida’s working families by increasing health care affordability, fully investing in our public schools, raising the minimum wage, and by ensuring paycheck fairness,” Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant wrote in a May 12 op-ed for the Palm Beach Post. “Instead, they focused on scoring political points and rewarding wealthy special interests. If Scott counts that as a ‘victory,’ Florida’s middle class was not one of the winners.”
Tant, like most people with something other than coins between their ears, points to the Republicans’ most egregious flourish of governmental cruelty: the failure to expand Medicaid and take the $51 billion in federal money over 10 years in order to nearly fully fund health care for close to 1 million people who now live in “the gap.” [see “Falling into the gap,” April 9].
> Email Billy Manes