Gov. Rick Scott is attacking state House members who voted last week for a bill to eliminate failing corporate welfare programs like Enterprise Florida. It is hard to believe but Scott is going to the representatives’ districts and publicly attacking them for standing on free market principles. Of course, the governor claims he is on a “jobs” tour to promote his failed economic incentive programs but, coincidentally, his schedule puts him in the districts of the representatives whom he has targeted for revenge.
The governor can’t defend his bad judgment when it comes to supporting failed corporate welfare programs so he has resorted to political strong-arming representatives in their home districts. By demonizing representatives who disagree with him, Scott is practicing the politics of personal destruction, something which should be beneath the dignity of a governor.
Granting “special privileges” to well-connected corporate interests is unfair to our local small businesses which are buried in regulations, taxes and fees. Even worse, these programs are failing. Amy Baker, the state’s chief economist, reported that nearly 70 percent of Florida’s state-level incentive and investment programs lost money over the past three years. Baker found that 18 of the state’s 26 economic incentive programs failed to bring in enough tax revenue to break even. Three of those programs were a total loss and required additional funding, including Enterprise Florida’s Quick Action Closing Fund which had a return of 60 cents for every tax dollar awarded.
The members of the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee who support eliminating Enterprise Florida should be commended for voting to stop waste and fraud. They should not face reprisals from a sitting governor who chases them down like a schoolyard bully.
Scott should quit advocating for the continued theft of our tax dollars to pick winners and losers. We the consumers should have the power to decide which businesses we like to patronize and support. The governor should be encouraging 1,000 new small businesses that can compete on a level playing field by reducing taxes and regulations for everyone, instead of subsidizing one huge corporation at a time.
With his business background, Scott should know that government does not create jobs. As any good business person can tell you, it is the hard-working citizens and business owners in Florida who do that. Rick Scott, don’t steal the fruits of their labor for your corporate welfare scheme.
Alexander Snitker is president of the Liberty First Network. He was the Libertarian Party’s U.S. Senate nominee in 2010.
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