Gov. Rick Scott must be fuming. He's having a miserable legislative session. His top two priorities -- tax cuts and incentive money for job creation -- got shot down last week as the Legislature began final negotiations on the state budget.
Scott's insistence on $1 billion in tax relief? Slashed down to $400 million, and only $200 million would be recurring. Not what the governor wanted. A campaign promise falls to the wayside.
His demand for $250 million for Enterprise Florida's job recruiting effort? Legislators whittled that down to zero dollars. That's got to hurt after Scott trekked across the state to hold press conferences with his allies on this, elected officials and business people. The governor also ran TV commercials to further his goal. Nothing worked. House conservatives consider public subsidies to private enterprises in exchange for jobs nothing more than "corporate welfare."
Then lawmakers landed another blow by rejecting Scott's proposal to increase spending on public schools to a record level based almost entirely on higher property tax revenues. His money source sparked a controversy, and the Legislature did the right thing by allocating $428 million in state tax money instead. (That, by the way, ate up almost all the money Scott wanted to spend on tax breaks to boost manufacturers, retailers and other businesses.)
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Plus, there's a bonus. The highlight of Legislature's tax cut package is lower school property taxes.
Finally, this week the Legislature indicated the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe would not be approved this session. The governor negotiated that agreement. Another setback.
All these Republicans do not march in lockstep.
That was evident during the 2015 session when Scott basically brawled with senators over legislation, with the primary conflict over healthcare policy. The governor got his revenge, too, vetoing $461 million in line items -- much of that earmarked for projects that benefitted legislators' districts.
This year, Scott's veto pen could be even more brutal on hometown spending. Plus, there's talk by some legislators that he could veto the entire state budget, something that has not occurred in decades.
Should that occur, the Legislature would be forced to meet in a special session to rework the budget.
Or override the veto. That would surely be the worst possible scenario for Scott, who cannot afford that embarrassment to his political ambitions.
Interesting political times.