Is Governor Rick Scott a ‘dead man walking’?

Scott announces budgetWith the release of the largest proposed budget in Florida history, the transformation from perennial outsider to dyed-in-the-wool politician is all but complete for Gov. Rick Scott. The political class should be proud of the short work this turned out to be.

Surrounded by the bureaucratic comforts of Tallahassee, Scott announced Thursday a $74.2 billion budget proposal that represents a whopping $4 billion increase from last year.

It was a much different environment than we saw in 2011, when Scott unveiled a budget proposal the media derided as “slashing billions in taxes and spending” at a “highly partisan tea party event” in Eustis.

“In the days ahead, the special interests and those who support big-government solutions will attack my budget,” Scott told supporters then.

Not a worry this time, Governor.

Having reversed himself on one spending cut after another, Scott offers something to just about every special interest group in the state, unless you have an affinity for driver’s license offices — he proposes closing eight. Scott seems to have taken to heart Mitt Romney’s comment that President Obama won re-election because he gave away “free stuff.”

Scott has even earned the praise of The New York Times, a stellar achievement any member of the political class would point to with pride.

In announcing Scott’s budget proposal, The Times celebrated the abandonment of the governor’s 2010 campaign pledge to shrink government, while lauding his “transformation from Tea Party booster to political realist.”

In a question-and-answer session with the media Thursday, Scott embraced the political double-speak Barack Obama perfected so well when he spoke of having the wherewithal to make “investments.”

Music to the ears of Florida Education Association President Andy Ford.

“In most of Florida, our public schools are the largest employer. Added money spent on public schools always helps grow our economy,” Ford said according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Who knew the goal of spending more money on schools is to grow our economy? If economic growth is the result of more spending, it seems prosperity should have arrived long ago.

It’s reminiscent of when Vice President Joe Biden said in a 2009 AARP town hall that the only way to avoid bankruptcy as a nation is for the government to spend more money:

“Well, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, I’m telling you.”

Of course, having The New York Times and labor unions singing your praises might be the first clue your budget is not as fiscally conservative as supporters may have hoped. Odds are it meets the approval of the “smartest guys in the room.”

In the end, perhaps Scott should have paid more attention to another lesson Romney taught us: Alienating the conservative base to play up to the middle is not a winning formula. But then again, this could be why more and more Floridians are referring to Scott as a “dead man walking.”

See Full Budget Here


Florida business reps thrilled with Gov. Scott’s budget proposal

Gov. Scott to add $1.2 billion in education funding to budget

FL Gov. Rick Scott’s education proposal includes $2,500 teacher pay raise

Tom Tillison

Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review.
Tom Tillison


  • seazen

    This is a fine piece of reporting that might be enhanced, just a little, if there was some effort to connect the grand statements regarding economic realities both in the Florida and the United States with actual data. For example, one might want to know what the data shows in terms of employment, the stock market, GDP, and national debt from 1/1/08 to 1/1/13. We might then be able to evaluate whether "government spending" actually had any affect on the economy over the past 4 years. We might also want to look at what the experience of "austerity" was in Europe as they tried that approach to the economic collapse.

    But, no, it is more fun to just make whatever declarations one chooses and pretend they are intellectually honest.

    • Jason

      Just about every state experiencing rebound from this recession. History shows that all things equal our economy generally work these things out through natural checks and balances and not spending by government. It is my opinion, that what has improved Florida was the early conservative decisions made during the first six months of Scott's administration. No where was increased tax payer spending mention. That is a fact.

  • Paula Helton

    Gov. Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio have both bought into the leftist propaganda meant to destroy the conservative ideals. Much like Sen. Rubio and his amnesty disguised as immigration reform, Gov. Scott has chosen to pander to the special interests and RINOS within the Republican party. They have been convinced that capitulating to Hispanics, teachers unions, environmentalists, etc. will convince them to vote Republican.

    I was embarrassed watching Sen. Rubio stand alongside the likes of John McCain, "Shamnesty" Graham, "Chucky" Schumer and "I like young hookers" Robert Menendez as they touted the resemblance between their plan and the one proposed by Ted Kennedy.

    Gov. Scott has betrayed the grassroots conservatives who worked tirelessly on his behalf.

    The only thing both are accomplishing is alienating their Conservative base.

    • Danita Kilcullen

      Paula, Okay if I share this on facebook?

  • JohnnyAngel Advocacy

    The Scotty is on to something possibly. He knows Florida better than the writers; it is the only way to understand his change. The vote in Florida is 50-50 in most Presidential elections and who won this time around? I am not saying the conservative Floridians should like it. I am saying he wants to save his ass and is another pol! Conservative Florida should move to Miss.Bama and Louie and make those their states and leave Flo to rot!!

    • David S.

      I take exception he knows Florida better than writers. Especially when your major advisers are a Washington insider and a Washington attorney. The vote in Florida has been around 50-50 not because of liberal vs. conservative but because of liberal vs. moderate to moderate left candidates. I mean seriously John McCain and Mitt Romney, who is kidding whom? With 53% of his own party wanting someone to run against him it is obvious that his time remaining is short.

      As for moving to another state. Don't forget Texas it is number one and looking better everyday. Thanks to true conservative leadership and not this RINO crap being dished out in Florida.

  • J. Davis

    Mr. Tillison I am shocked at your statement. Did you not hear the Governor state that he made the difficult decisions and made record cuts two years ago just so he could spend like a drunken sailor just to buy votes. Unlike the first election campaign where he used his money to convince those who wanted smaller government, this time he is spending taxpayer money to buy the votes of those who want bigger government. With less than 36 percent support and high negative numbers look for this spending to escalate.

    I think the thing that bothers people the most is they truly believed when he said to the legislature "don't blink." So what happened? How did this man go from a business man who believed in merit pay raises to a man who gives across the board pay raises without regard to experience or quality of work? He has to know this is wrong? What happened to this man?

    I decided to do some checking to find out. He started his term with good quality people that believed in him, believed in conservative values and principals and believed they could truly make a difference. They certainly seemed inspired. Now after three chiefs of staffs (the latest certainly not a conservative), dozens of department heads, even more support staff he has what amounts to bottom feeders. Those who are only motivated by a paycheck and have survived not by quality of work but by promoting progressive policy cloaked in a Republican (not conservative) banner. They are the definition of "bottom feeders." The man is radioactive no one with their right mind would want to work for him now.

    Finally, here are a few examples. Using fake Medicaid numbers. Did he know they were wrong? I doubt it, but his staff did and that includes his communications department. Of course given his history with Medicaid you would have thought they would have been more careful. Then of course there was the "bark heard around the world." That rests solely at the feet of his communications director who was too damn busy to pick up a phone and call the Governor!

    However, the one who had me saying "enough is enough" is his weak, no worthless stance on the 2nd Amendment. While his "man crush" idol Rick Perry was inviting gun owners to move to Texas, Scott was silent. While the Attorney General of Texas was championing the 2nd Amendment cause Scott and Pam Bondi were silent. While NC, SC and AZ have invited gun manufactures to their states to do business Scott remained silent. And while Senator Ted Cruz saw and opportunity and sent letters to banks and businesses investing in legitimate gun businesses to come to Texas, Scott was silent. Sheriff's all over this country have the courage to put their name on paper pledging to uphold the 2nd Amendment and Scott is silent. His only statement on this issue has been that we should look at all Florida laws. Oh and by the way, I support the 2nd Amendment.

    Governor Scott, you lost my support, you lost my vote and you have lost my respect.


    After supporting the RPOF for 48 years,I'm very disappointed in Scott and his Administration…This article says it all,particularly in regard to the 2nd Amendment.. As a Korean War vet,I'm serioulsy concerned with "infringment" of

    any degree on this precious line of defence against anarchy ..The attitude of leaders on this issue is a huge identification between Real Conservatives and phony ones (Rinos)…Looks like we'll all have to move to Texas where their leaders are more reflective of our founders values in the Bill Of Rights and Constitution…

  • seazen

    Hooray! Looks like a lot of gun-totin' "real conservatives" are going to take their tea and move to Texas!!

    • Jan

      Yep and when they are all gone you unarmed,atheist,elites can bancrupt Florida just like Ny and CA.

  • louis klar

    Without knowing final details my comments may be a little off but consider this. One major area that he impacted with the budget was education, a fat, bloated, wasteful,economic boondogle. Yet between the screaming of all of the teachers,the NEA, other supportive unions and activist group AND A HUGE SEGMENT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC Rick no longer had the internal or external support to maintain direction. Call it political caving and you may be right. But you the general and voting public have had your boot on his throat since the get go. You are angry and rebellious because he functions independently of the main stream. No, he does not make a good visual presence, no he does not do a good job as a speaker. But that is not important. He constantly bttles Washington, the political machine, the union machine and the liberal progressive mind set. I hope he does four more years. It will either be him or a Barack Obama offsring. Oops I just threw up.

  • Quan

    Whether you are on the left or the right, it seems like bi-partisanship is finally a consensus. The rebranding of Rick Scott opens just in time for a re-election campaign, and the base which voted for Gov Scott has finally seen his revolting nakedness of deceit and manipulation. He is not a conservative, he is not a liberal. He is actually even less earnest and resolute than Mitt Romney. Here's hoping Republicans will band together and vote him out in the primary round, sending a clear message to those like him that conservatives are not for sale. Reader responses reinforce the article's timid conclusion. Floridians realize is is time for this phantom of the mansion to exit stage left. Scott is one of the Washington elite, he is not a Floridian, he is not one of us.

  • Sharon

    I fear that this is the PANDERING budget for Gov. Scott. Across the board pay raises should not occur – teachers are rated and good teachers should be rewarded but taxpayers should not be in the business of paying more for lousy teachers. Also – the dollars for those raises should come from CUTTING bloated education administration. Cut the highly paid admin and staff and put the dollars back into the classroom. That is common sense but it will not buy Gov. Scott the votes of teachers. Re-funding Florida Forever is NOT going to buy him votes with environmentalists either. Grassroots voted Gov. Scott in to cut the size of gov't, get rid of waste and end burdensome regulations to bring job creation back to our state. What I see is pandering to special interests apparently for votes. We could be on the verge of a double dip recession, this is NO time to be increasing the size of our state gov't and budget. And I certainly hope that Gov. Scott and the state legislature REJECTS setting up ObamaCare state exchanges. If they cave on that specific issue that was Gov. Scott's entrance into the political arena in 2009, grassroots may just stay home in 2014.

  • RUSerious

    This man Scott and his idiotic policies have brought nothing but ridicule and shame to Florida, the sooner he goes the way of Allen West, the better for all Americans, (they both belong back in Georgia). Education spending per student in Florida is ranked 44th in the USA, nothing to be proud of.

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