July 26, 2011
Rick Scott ran for Governor on a platform of job creation and bragged that he was going to get Florida “back to work.” When is that going to happen?
News reports about Scott’s successes vary. According to Rick Scott’s own website, over 85,000 jobs have been added so far, but a website for Florida Democrats reports that Scott has destroyed over 100,000 jobs since he took office. Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation states that Florida’s unemployment rate is at 10.6 percent. According to the report, such rate is unchanged from May of 2011, and is well above the national average of 9.2 percent. Although Scott brags that Florida has been recognized as a leader in workforce training by a report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it is hard to see how such recognition translates into the creation of any jobs.
Scott has done a great job of slashing expenses, mainly to the detriment of the working middle class. State government offices have been forced to lay off workers, and those who remain have been forced, for the first time ever, to contribute toward their own retirement. (For my thoughts on that decision, please visit my previous post on the matter here). However, what Florida needs is more than mere slashing. We need leadership that inspires people to want to come to Florida to live and open businesses. We need a leader who can make workers feel like their struggles are recognized, and that things will get better. We need jobs!
Within the first month of his taking office, Scott was given the chance to get more Floridians back to work on a high speed rail project. But he rejected the offer. Why? Although he claimed that the project would have been too costly for taxpayers, a report from the New York Times notes that Florida’s unemployment rate would have decreased, and that the Federal government was going to foot 90 percent of the bill. Scott had the chance to employ almost 24,000 people on that project. But rather than putting Floridians back to work, and rather than creating jobs, Scott seems better suited to creating battles with almost every type of public worker, from firefighters, to teachers, and state employees. Hopefully before the end of Scott’s term, more Floridians will get back to work. But it’s hard to see how that will happen under Scott’s methods.