TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Gov. Rick Scott intends to wade into Louisiana as he expands his search for business owners who want to relocate to Florida.
Fresh off a business-development mission to California, Scott announced this week he will head to Louisiana sometime in the summer to go job hunting.
“The last governor was a good friend of mine, Bobby Jindal,” Scott said Wednesday while at an Enterprise Florida Board of Directors meeting at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.
“Bobby tried to cut taxes, balance the budget, tried to grow jobs, stop the outflow of people … tried to build a better business climate,” Scott continued. “Gov. (John Bel) Edwards got elected in November. He’s already raised taxes 14 times. Taxes are going up just from the time period April 1 to June 30, $300 million. The taxes that we’ve cut, for like manufacturing, he’s raising. For telecommunications, he’s raising. And he’s talking about raising taxes again for next year.”
Edwards, a Democrat, took office in January after defeating Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in the race to replace Jindal.
Scott also sent out of series of tweets Wednesday saying, “Louisiana elected officials are clearly not focused on creating new opportunities” and that “LA leaders don’t understand raising taxes hurts job creators & families. In FL, we have cut taxes 50 times & saved taxpayers $5.5 billion.”
Edwards’ office quickly responded in an email, saying Scott omitted the larger part of the narrative — that Jindal’s efforts left the state facing a $1 billion deficit for the current year that, without any corrections, would grow to $2 billion next year.
“While (Scott) supported Bobby Jindal’s plans that have crippled our state and led to two credit downgrades, Gov. Edwards has worked night and day to stabilize our state from the reckless policies Gov. Scott’s coming to promote,” Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said in the email. “He’d be best served staying in Florida to tend to the business of his own state. Louisianans and Floridians would prefer productive dialogue over more gimmicks from slick-talking politicians.”
Scott, who last year undertook similar job-hunting trips to New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Kentucky and California, recently went on his second business-poaching trip to the Golden State. When Scott went to the states, they were all headed by Democratic governors, though Kentucky is now run by a Republican.
The California trip, along with media exchanges in which Scott and California Gov. Jerry Brown talked past each other, remained on Scott’s mind this week.
On Wednesday Scott jokingly said he loves Brown.
“I think he’s doing a great job as governor out there,” Scott said before criticizing a letter he received from Brown because it “did not talk at all about jobs for people.”
Before and during the trip, Scott talked about a climate for jobs. Brown focused on the need to address climate change.
“California is the 7th largest economic power in the world,” Brown wrote. “We’re competing with nations like Brazil and France, not states like Florida. If you’re truly serious about Florida’s economic well-being, it’s time to stop the silly political stunts and start doing something about climate change.”
Scott, who reached out to business owners in California by noting Florida’s minimum wage stands at $8.05 an hour while California has moved to increase its rate to $15 an hour by 2022, continued to contend this week that the minimum-wage hike will cost jobs for Brown’s state.
The News Service of Florida’s Jim Turner contributed to this report.