Scott Powers, Author at Florida Politics - Page 2 of 279

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

Bobby Olszewski TV commercial promotes community pride, unity

Republican state Rep. Bobby Olszewski is launching the first television commercial of his re-election campaign pushing upbeat messages of Floridians coming together for each other and pride in the community.

The 30-second spot features images of Central Florida points of pride including theme parks, the University of Central Florida, Kennedy Space Center, and of happy people, as the freshman Florida House member narrates a message of unity in divisive times.

“While there are some who try to divide us, there is so much that can unify us,” Olszewski starts.

As he speaks and the images of Central Florida roll through in rapid fire, so do text messages highlighting some of Olszewski’s work, Republican Florida Legislature’s talking points of policy achievements, and other statements, such as “Record K-12 Education Funding”, “Record Tourism Numbers”, “Florida is #1 in Higher Education”, “Florida Records the Largest Net Job Gain in the Nation”, and “Fighting for Our Veterans and Seniors.”

Olszewski faces Democratic former state Sen. Geraldine Thompson in the Nov. 6 election for House District 44, which covers southwest Orange County.

The video offers a positive look at Central Florida, then turns to Olszewski.

“That is what we were going for,” he said. “We wanted something that would stand out.”

As the commercial’s images and texts roll, Olszewski says, “We are an international destination, and the home of national champions. We reach for the stars and bring our feet back to the ground. We honor the heroes of the past and care for those who gave us life.

“I’m Robert ‘Bobby O’ Olszewski,” he concludes as the video finally shows various images of him. “Florida is strong because her people are strong. And only together will we build a better future.”

 

Bill Posey ramps up re-election campaign money in CD 8 race

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey had the most significant fundraising drive yet for his re-election campaign during August and September, bringing in $182,000 to fuel his battle with Democratic challenger Sanjay Patel in Florida’s 8th Congressional District.

In this latest reporting period, the incumbent Posey easily outraised Patel, who nonetheless once again put up fairly impressive fundraising numbers for a first-time candidate with little or no outside backing, in a race for what most observers consider a very safe Republican congressional seat.

Posey, who entered both the 2018 race and the most recent campaign finance reporting period with big cash advantages because of a big rollover of unused funds from his 2016 re-election campaign, also is outspending Patel significantly. Posey continues to have a huge cash advantage for the stretch run, though his Democratic challenger entered October with a war chest larger than those held by some incumbent members of Congress in Florida.

CD 8 covers Brevard County and parts of east Orange and north Indian River counties. Republicans have about a 12-point voter registration advantage.

Going into October, Posey had raised $780,000 in this election cycle and spent $642,000 of that, including $170,000 during the Aug. 9-Sept. 30 period, according to campaign finance reports posted Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission. That left him with $650,000 left to spend in October and early November.

Patel brought in $76,000 in August and September. With the $39,000 his campaign raised before the pre-primary Aug. 8 reporting deadline, Patel has managed to attract six-figure contribution money in consecutive quarters. In the second quarter of 2018, he outraised Posey.

Patel now has raised more money for his 2018 bid, $307,000, than Posey’s previous four challengers combined. Patel spent only $97,000 of that, including $58,000 in August and September. So he enters the final weeks of the campaign with $210,000 left.

Posey received $479,000 of his campaign contributions from individuals and $303,000 from political action committees.

Patel picked up $289,000 from individuals and about $12,000 from PACs.

Rick Scott pours another $18 million of his money into U.S. Senate campaign

Republican Gov. Rick Scott tapped his own wealth in August and September to the tune of more than $18 million to fuel his U.S. Senate campaign.

The contributions, listed in the latest campaign finance reports covering the period of Aug. 9-Sept. 30, brings Scott’s total personal contributions to his campaign to almost $39 million, accounting for 70 percent of the nearly $54 million his campaign had raised through the end of the third quarter of 2018, and the campaign had spent nearly all of that going into October.

Meanwhile the re-election campaign of his opponent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has raised just under half as much  – but none of it through Nelson’s wealth – and spent about a third as much so far as Scott’s campaign has done.

And as a result, Nelson entered the stretch run on Oct. 1 with more campaign cash on hand, though Scott’s personal contributions may continue.

On Oct. 2, Nelson’s campaign reported having $8.6 million in the bank for the stretch run. Scott’s campaign reported having $2 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports posted by Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission.

Since the pre-primary campaign finance report for the period that ended Aug. 9, Scott’s campaign reported raising $4.9 million from individuals, $306,000 from political action committees, and $18,275,528 million from Scott’s own contributions. That presented a total raised during the seven-week period of $23.5 million.

Scott’s personal donations included $275,528 in his in-kind contributions, mainly campaign transportation aboard his private jet.

He also made pretty much weekly contributions in the millions of dollars cash. On Aug. 15, he gave his campaign $2.5 million; on Aug 21, $3 million; on Aug. 28, $3 million; on Sept. 7, $1.5 million; Sept. 17, $4 million; and Sept. 24, $4 million.

Scott’s campaign also spent $24.9 million during that period ending Sept. 30.

That brought the total spent to date by Rick Scott for Florida to $52.7 million, with five weeks left in the campaign.

During the same period Nelson’s campaign reported raising $5 million from individuals, $176,000 from PACs. With a few other receipts and refunds, that meant his campaign cleared $5.3 million in the seven weeks after Aug. 8.

Nelson’s campaign spent $11.3 million during the period.

Yet the campaign had held back spending for months, so through Sept. 30 Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate had spent only $18 million.

All of this is in addition to the money being spent on the race by outside groups. Various political committees trying to get Nelson elected have spent $25 million campaigning in Florida so far, and political groups trying to get Scott elected have spent $17 million.

Stephanie Murphy, Mike Miller draw distinctions on guns, abortion, climate change, economic plans

Although multiple attempts failed by Republican challenger state Rep. Mike Miller to get Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy to allign herself with her party’s left wing, the two nonetheless offered stark differences on guns, abortion, climate change, and their economic policies during a debate Tuesday.

At the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, Murphy held fast to the centrist position the freshman congresswoman has sought in Washington even when questions and Miller sought to get her commit to supporting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi‘s potential speakership bid, or possible impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

But as more concrete issues were posed in questions from WESH-2 News Anchor Adrian Whitsett and others, the two separted themselves, with:

– Citing his Catholic faith, Miller voiced strong anti-abortion positions, saying life begins at conception; and Murphy said she supports women’s rights to decide whether to have abortions. Whats more, she did not dispute his charge that she voted for live-birth abortions, while he did not dispute her charge that he favors outlawing abortions even in the cases of rape or incest.

– Murphy called repeatedly for “common sense” gun law reforms and touted her success in getting the 22-year federal ban lifted on gun violence research, while Miller held stedfast to Second Amendment arguments against gun laws.

“I reject the notion that there isn’t more we can do to keep our families safe in this community against gun violence,” Murphy said.

Miller expressed his strong anguish for the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, but dismissed it as a reason to consider gun law changes, but rather to address those who would do such massacres saying, “But that was a terrorist act, I do believe President Trump and the adminisration are making our borders and our military stronger so we do not have terrorist acts in our country.”

– Miller stated his belief that climate change is not man-made, while Murphy insisted there can be no argument that it is, railing against “environmental deniers,” and that it’s time for government to start addressing it.

“I think it’s a travesty that we stand alone in the entire world having withdrawn from the Paris Climate accords,” Murphy said. “We need to take this issue head-on, because it has an impact here in Florida and we will be ground-zero for it.”

“Yes, I believe climate is changing. It’s really hot outside right now,” Miller responded. “If you want to look at the last 25, 50 or 100 years, it has been getting hotter around the world. That doesn’t mean it’s man-made. … I don’t believe climate change is man-made. I believe the climate is changing and unfortuatnely none of us is going to live 10,000 years to see what it’s like in 10,000 years.”

– And Murphy laid out an economic vision focusing on middle class tax cuts and government investments in public education and infrastructure, while Miller whole-heartedly supported the free economy policies of Trump, pointing to high economic growth, low employment and the robust stock market, declaring, “Let’s keep it going!”

Miller, a two-term state representative from Winter Park, is challenging Murphy, also from Winter Park, in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, which has gone from solidly red to solidly purple with a slight blue tint over the past decade. The district covers Seminole County and north and central Orange County.

While the pair sometimes battled over their economic views, once the charges and counter-charges of the debate are set aside, they boiled down to Miller’s belief in the Republican’s freest-market economy possible economic theories, while Murphy expressed support for the Democrats’ commitments to doing more to address middle class workers and invest more in public education and infrastructure for long-term growth.

I think it’s economic theory, and I think it’s proving itself out right now with 4-percent growth, and it needs to be sustained,” Miller said. “Remember, we’re coming out of eight years of 1 and a half and 2 percent growth and I think that we are seeing right now the results of a tax package. We not only have 4.2 percent growth, but we also have record employment, and record employment in some of the areas that most needed help, that is African-American commuinities, Hispanic communities, those places are now finding jobs. You know what happens when the job market is tight? You raise wages. And then when you raise wages, everybody can afford to buy a house and send their kids to college.

“So it is an ongoing battle to get government out of the way,” he added.

“I support tax cuts for small businesses and the middle class. But the Republican tax bill disproportionately benefited the wealthiest among us: 80 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent and the largest coprorations,” Murphy responded. “And it blew a hole in our debt, which basically mortgages your children’s future at the expense of providing the wealthiest in this company a tax benefit.”

Trump was only explicitly discussed when the moderator asked how either of them felt about impeachment, and both declined to answer the question explicitly.

However, Miller offered several endorsements of Trump’s policies, mentioning him by name several times in such matters as border control, the economy and Internet neutrality, while Murphy offered a couple subtle digs at at anyone offering allegience to him.

Murphy repeatedly offered herself as an independent, given accolades for bipartisan independence and effectiveness, and shied away from questions and Miller’s efforts that might suggest strong partisan ties. At one point Miller noted she had campaigned with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, and charged that if he wants universal health care, then she probably would ultimately support “government run health care” too. She ignored the allegation.

“My allegiance is to my constituents, and this community and not to any president, or any party,” she said a couple of times. “And I think my record will represent that.”

The two tussled repeatedly while trying to define each other’s positions on taxes and balanced budgets, the subjects of Miller’s television commercials, and he again criticized her for opposing the tax cuts package and a Republican-sponsored balanced budget amendment bill.

Murphy turned the tables on Miller in both cases, charging that the tax cuts bill did not do much for the middle class, and that the balanced budget amendment would have forced cuts in Social Security and Medicare, which she vigoursly defended against cuts.

“I think it’s the ultimate height of hypocrisy to support a tax bill that blew a trillion, almost 2 trillion dollar hole in our debt and then claim to be fiscally responsible,” Murphy said.

Miller said he intends to work under the ideals of his first boss, Republican former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack, “And that’s less taxes, less spending, less government, means more freedom. And I believe if I can take that to Congress, I think we will all benefit.”

At heart, both candidates actually have established well-known legislative track records of working across the aisle and showing respect for their colleagues on the other side. Miller quickly put down his marker on that in his opening remarks, when he acknoweleged the presence of Democratic progressive lion state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, and congratuated Smith for his new marriage engagement to long-time partner Jerick Mediavilla at Orlando’s Come Out With Pride event Saturday.

There also were a few awkeard moments, mostly through unforced errors by Miller. Murphy pounced on him.

After she had criticized Republicans for proposing an “age tax”, Miller responded that was her misunderstanding of the tax cuts bill Republicans pushed through in December. She corrected him on follow up, saying she was referring to the Republicans’ health care reform packages, which included provisions for higher costs for seniors.

After Murphy declared she would only support a new House Speaker who agreed to the points being pushed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus she joined, which currently means she could not voice support for Pelosi, Miller said he would eagerly support House Majority Leader Andrew McCarthy. Murphy then corrected him, pointing out that the leader’s name is Kevin McCarthy.

When asked about higher education, Miller proudly boasted how his alma mater, the University of Florida, is now ranked 9th in the country for public universities. He mentioned UF several times in his answer. When Murphy responded, she pointed out that Miller failed to hail the University of Central Florida or any of the several other colleges and universities in CD 7.

Marsy’s Law group offers crime victims’ pleas in new Amendment 6 ads

Two new television commercials are being launched Tuesday telling the stories of a rape victim and the mother of a murder victim, who explain how helpless they’ve felt in pursuing justice and why they want Florida voters to adopt Amendment 6.

The commercials are part of the $30 million campaign being run by Marsy’s Law for Florida, a group created to push for “Marsy’s Law” victims rights laws much like those adopted in California and other states, pushed for by the family of Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a California college student murdered in 1983.

For the two new Florida campaign TV commercials, the fifth and sixth from Marsy’s Law of Florida, the real-life Florida victims are Ann Rowe of Tallahassee and Mary Futrill Petersen.

In the first new 30-second ad, Rowe tells her own story, about how she was brutally raped and beaten outside her Tallahassee home two years ago.

“Regrettably, to this day I have no justice,” she says. “Amendment 6 is an initiative that will give victims the same level of rights that the accused currently have.”

As she says that, several of the rights in question appear on the screen in text: rights to restitution,  to notification, to be heard in court, and to have a voice in sentencing and parole.

In the other ad, Petersen’s mother, Francis Futrill of Jacksonville, tells of her daughter, who was murdered in her own bed in 2002, her body discovered the next day by her 8-year-old son. The case remains unsolved.

“We would call over to the detectives. It would be weeks or even never that they would return our calls,” Futrill recalled.

The issue raised by opponents of Amendment 6 – and they include the Public Defenders Association of Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and the ACLU – is that many of the rights included in Amendment 6 already are in Florida law, including some already in the Florida Constitution. Opponents contend that Amendment 6 would go beyond equal rights between victims and perpetrators, to infringe on Constitutional rights of the accused.

In fact, opponents of Amendment 6 argue that Florida already is on the cutting edge of victims’ rights law.

The Amendment 6 proposal was created by Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, which bundled the Marsy’s Law provisions with two other proposed changes of law in Florida unrelated to victims’ rights.

If approved by at least 60 percent of the voters in the Nov. 6 election, Amendment 6 also would raise the mandatory retirement age of Florida judges, including Supreme Court justices, to 75, from 70; and it would revise how courts are permitted to interpret Florida law, forbidding judges from deferring to state agencies’ own interpretations as the default legal interpretation.

Darren Soto coasts into October with $122,000 in the bank

Fresh off a bruising Democratic primary victory in his re-election campaign, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto entered the homestretch of the general election campaign with just $122,000 left in his campaign coffers, less than most Florida House incumbents have for their state-district campaigns.

Soto’s campaign cash balance on Oct. 1 is the result of a high-spending primary fight to stop his predecessor former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson‘s challenge for the Florida’s 9th Congressional District seat, and a lack-luster fundraising effort since the Aug. 8 pre-primary reports were posted with the Federal Election Commission.

His opponent, Republican St. Cloud businessman Wayne Liebnitzky, has never been very adept at campaign fundraising, yet Liebnitzky’s $44,000 campaign cash-on-hand balance was within striking distance of Soto’s at the end of the third quarter of 2018.

CD 9 covers Osceola County, much of south Orange County, and much of east Polk County.

Soto’s campaign raised $245,000 in August in September, with almost two-thirds of that coming from political action contributions to his campaign. It also spent $374,000 during the same seven-week period. Overall, the campaign had raised about $1.4 million and spent about $1.3 million.

Liebnitzky meanwhile raised about $27,000 for his campaign during the period ending Sept. 30 and spent about $11,000. Overall, he’s raised about $63,000 in his rematch of the 2016 election, and spent about $19,000.

Soto’s Democratic primary campaign was aided in large part by more than $1.2 million in outside advertising from groups wanting to see him stop Grayson. So far, they’ve provided little for his general election. So far, the only outside spending in the race has been from Boricua Vota, a dark-money political action committee that has spent $10,000 on Spanish-language radio advertising supporting Soto in October.

New commercial fills Bill Nelson’s suit with scary things

The Republican political committee that brought Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s “empty suit” commercials running constantly for weeks released a new ad that fills the suit with everything from tax increase votes to a confused mind.

The new 30-second spot, “Lining,” from New Republican Political Action Committee, the committee Republican Gov. Rick Scott set up to support his U.S. Senate campaign, brings up all the charges pushed earlier: Nelson voted to raise taxes; he’s been collecting government paychecks for 45 years, now totaling millions of dollars in pay; he voted to cut Medicare; and making up a story about Russian interference … all because he’s confused.

Nelson’s campaign has rebutted most of those charges repeatedly, stating, for example, that the Republican’s assertion that he voted 375 times for tax increases is inaccurate; and that the vote referenced as a Medicare cut was no such thing, but rather a vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act, which included reductions in the amounts that Medicare would reimburse to hospitals, not cuts in coverage for patients.

“Lining” doesn’t get into such detail.

“We know Bill Nelson is an empty suit. But look inside,” the narrator begins as an empty suit flips open to show lining and pockets.

“Forty-five years in office, Nelson has earned millions and a huge pension we’re paying for. Controlled by his party, Nelson has voted 89 percent of the time with them, even voting to raise taxes 375 times, and cutting our Medicare. A confused Nelson even made up stories about Russian election interference.

“Bill Nelson’s suit is empty. But it’s lined with danger and confusion that hurts Florida families,” the narrator concludes.

New Republican PAC has spent $15 million so far on the race, including on more than a half-dozen TV commercials attacking Nelson, almost all of them asserting that he’s been in office way too long, and that he is “confused.”

Stephanie Murphy swamping Mike Miller in CD 7 money race

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy entered October with more than $1 million left to spend in her re-election bid for Florida’s 7th Congressional District while her opponent Republican state Rep. Mike Miller‘s campaign came into the homestretch almost broke.

Miller has managed to raise $304,000 since the pre-primary report filed on Aug. 8 but he also spent a half-million dollars, in part on his Aug. 28 primary victory and in part on September and early October advertising to take on Murphy.

As a result, his campaign had just $36,872 in the bank at the end of the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission reports posted late Monday.

Murphy has both out-raised and out-spent Miller during the period, and still had $1.1 million in the bank left for more campaign spending on Sept. 30, according to the FEC reports. The latest reports show she raised $482,000 since the Aug. 8 pre-primary report, and spent $967,000.

Overall, Murphy has raised nearly $3 million; Miller, $869,000, including a $125,000 loan.

Murphy’s campaign touted the advantage and a key past endorsement that signaled a tough time for Miller in September, and then declared that the Miller campaign “is running on fumes.”

“Stephanie Murphy is recognized as one of the most effective and bipartisan legislators, including by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It follows that she has a broad base of support as she seeks to continue representing this community in Washington,” Murphy campaign spokeswoman Christie Stephenson stated in a news release issued Monday evening. “Her campaign for jobs, security, and equality is heading into the final weeks with a strong war chest whereas Mike Miller is running  on fumes and still recovering from a bruising primary battle.”

The two are battling for a district, covering Seminole County and north and central Orange County, which once was a Republican stronghold but now appears to be Murphy’s to lose.

Unlike the 2016 election in which Murphy upset 12-term Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica, there is virtually no outside money flowing in to aid either campaign, signaling that no outside groups are riding to Miller’s rescue or assuming that Murphy needs a boost. In 2016 more than $7 million poured into the district from outside groups such as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. This year so far: $208,000, two-thirds of that on Murphy’s side.

Murphy’s money in August and September included $256,000 from individuals and $222,000 from political action committees. Miller’s included $219,000 from individuals and $80,000 from PACs.

Outside money now at $42 million in Florida’s U.S. Senate race

Outside groups have spent almost $17 million just in the past two weeks on advertising and other campaigning in the battle between Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and his opponent Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida’s U.S. Senate election.

That spending ramped up from an already impressive $25 million that outside groups previously had spent in 2018, fueling waves of television commercials, stacks of campaign mailers, and other campaign support, according to the latest U.S. Senate independent expenditure reports, through last Friday, posted by the Federal Election Commission.

Nelson continues to be the biggest beneficiary of outside money, as more than $10.3 million was spent in the past two weeks either supporting him or attacking Scott, while $6.6 million was spent supporting Scott or attacking Nelson.

The grand total in outside spending so far: $25.6 million spent to support Nelson or oppose Scott; $17 million to support Scott or oppose Nelson.

Yet the spending is led by the pro-Scott New Republican Political Action Committee, the PAC that Scott set up as an outside group to support his campaign, and then left. It spent $5.4 million in the past two weeks and now has spent $14.8 million overall.

Not far behind was the Senate Majority Political Action Committee, the Democrats’ PAC supporting Nelson, which spent $4.5 million in the past two weeks, and now has spent $11 million in Florida, mostly bashing Scott.

Two other PACs, the Democrats’ Majority Forward and Priorities USA Action, each spent more than $2 million for Nelson’s benefit since the Sept. 30 reports, while Americans for Prosperity Action dropped more than $1 million to aid Scott’s campaign.

Priorities USA now has spent $6.4 million overall, and Majority forward, $4.5 million. Americans for Prosperity and several of its related groups have combined to spend about $1.2 million so far in Florida.

Ten other political committees have spent at least $100,000 apiece on the Nelson-Scott race. Most of them support Nelson or oppose Scott.

Though with three weeks to go, the 2018 outside spending still has not eclipsed the record set in 2016 when outside groups, mostly supporting Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and attacking Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, combined to spend $54.2 million. In 2012, the last time Nelson ran, the outside spending reached only $22.5 million.

Missing this year, compared with 2016 when Rubio last ran, is any major participation from the two primary groups supporting Republicans running for the U.S. Senate, the Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In 2016 the Republican leadership PACs combined to spend more than $18 million to aid Rubio. This year the Senate Leadership Fund has spent just $18,000 on online advertising to support Scott, while the NRSC has not entered the Florida contest.

The Sunshine State is not the biggest national battleground for outside groups, although it is close. The FEC reports show that more than $53 million has been spent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, and $42 million also has been spent in the U.S. Senate race in Indiana.

James Madison Institute hails Ron DeSantis’ economic plans, says Andrew Gillum’s would cost Florida

The conservative economics think tank James Madison Institute has issued a detailed economic analysis of the plans proposed by Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, declaring that DeSantis’ would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and Gillum’s would cost almost that many.

The institute, grounded in conservative economics championed by Republicans such as Gov. Rick Scott, concludes that Gillum’s proposals for a corporate tax increase, increased minimum wage, and increased teachers salaries “would adversely impact the business climate of the state,” costing 155,000 jobs and $28.2 billion in economic loses per year, the report’s executive summary states.

“Candidate Ron DeSantis agenda — to largely maintain the pro-growth-oriented strategy of Florida through low and stable taxes, would preserve and strengthen the state’s business climate … [and] lead to the creation of 215,000 jobs annually and $26.6 billion in annual economic output,” the summary continues.

DeSantis’ campaign quickly pounced on the report as vindication for the economic message he has been pushing, and as a repudiation of Gillum’s.

“Today’s report from the James Madison Institute, a nonpartisan, well-respected economic think-tank, proves what we’ve been saying all along — Andrew Gillum’s policies would be an economic disaster for every person in our state,” DeSantis stated in a news release from his campaign.

“My policies, on the other hand, would create over 200,000 jobs and add $25 billion in annual economic output,” he continued in the news release. “Floridians deserve a Governor who will work to ensure they get to keep more of their hard-earned money, create more jobs, and build on the economic success of our state, and that’s exactly what I will do as Governor.”

The James Madison Institute partnered with two business economic consulting firms, The Washington Economics Group of Coral Gables, and Arduin, Laffer, and Moore of Tallahassee, to produce the study.

At the heart of the study’s criticism of Gillum’s economic proposals is doubt that his proposed increase in the corporate income tax to 7.75 percent, from 5.5 percent, could raise the $1 billion he proposed to pay for his education plans, let alone pay for his broader spending plans, which the institute pegged at $2.6 billion. The institute predicted businesses leaving Florida to avoid paying the higher tax rate.

“Businesses can, and do, change their behavior based on tax changes, and now more than ever businesses are able to readily take their enterprises elsewhere. Consequently, the proposed corporate income tax rate hike cannot be expected to raise $1 billion in tax revenue,” it reported.

The institute’s estimate is that Gillum would have to raise the tax rate to 11 percent to raise the kind of revenue he seeks.

The study also goes at great length on the fiscally negative ramifications of Medicare for all, a proposal Gillum supports, but which would entirely be a federal proposal, completely out of the hands of Florida’s Governor.

The study does find potential money savings in Gillum’s proposed criminal justice reform platform, though it does not specify how much.

For DeSantis, the study gushes, “Ron DeSantis is committed to putting more money back into the pockets of Floridians because he knows they can spend their money better than government.”

It also states, “As Governor, Ron DeSantis will ensure we never become a high tax state hurtling toward bankruptcy like states that continue to spend on the backs of their citizens.

“Candidate Ron DeSantis’ proposed economic policy agenda is conducive to maintaining and likely increasing the growth trajectory that Florida has experienced over the last two decades. Funding State priorities, such as education, through reductions in the costs of educational administration that would allow the shifting of savings to the classroom is a pro-growth policy that improves human resources development without raising taxes,” the report states.

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