TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is rebuking claims that he flip-flopped on details of his centerpiece campaign promise to create 700,000 private-sector jobs in seven years.
During the 2010 campaign, Scott said repeatedly -- and at least twice on video -- that the 700,000 jobs he would create with corporate tax cuts and fewer regulations would be in addition to the 1 million jobs state economists predicted for the same period, regardless of who was elected governor.
But this week, Scott told reporters his promise was to create 700,000 jobs, period.
On Tuesday, PolitiFact Florida ruled Scott’s conflicting statements a Full Flop.
On Friday, Scott issued a meandering statement “setting the record straight.”
In the statement, Scott said that he would keep his campaign promise to create 700,000 jobs in addition to normal growth -- in contrast to what he said earlier this week.
But he cast doubt on the prediction from state economists, including those who remain on the Governor’s Office payroll, that normal growth will amount to around 1 million jobs.
“Instead of focusing on hypotheticals, I’m focused on what I know will be accomplished through my 7-7-7 plan -- the creation of 700,000 jobs over seven years regardless of what the economy might otherwise gain or lose,” Scott said. “Floridians will judge me not on what an economist in Tallahassee predicts, but on actual job growth each month.”
Scott’s statement noted that the state unemployment rate was increasing when he was elected, a trend that has since reversed. Scott does not mention that the state started adding jobs before his most significant policies took effect.
The state has added about 71,000 jobs since January.
In his campaign for governor, Scott made clear that he planned to create 700,000 jobs in addition to the 1 million jobs economists predicted.
“Our plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs, and that plan is on top of what normal growth would be,” Scott said during an October gubernatorial debate.
When a questioner noted that would mean creating about 1.7 million jobs, when only about 1 million Floridians were currently unemployed, Scott answered: “We’re going to grow the state.”
But Scott disavowed the promise in a series of interviews starting in August.
At one point, to an Associated Press reporter, Scott said he didn’t know who even made the original claim. “I have no idea,” he said.