Rick Scott Archives - Page 2 of 266 - Florida Politics

Sometime surly senator enters Florida’s governor’s race

Jack Latvala — a powerful, sometimes surly state senator seen as a moderate Republican voice — entered the race for Florida Governor Wednesday, taking on a better-known, more conservative and better-funded primary opponent Adam Putnam for the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

Latvala publicly announced his candidacy at a fire station in a Hialeah, a Hispanic-majority city that borders Miami. In the crowd were groups of senior citizens, police officers and state employee union members. He also was joined by his son Chris, who is a state representative. He later planned to stop at a Tampa Bay-area aquarium in his hometown of Clearwater before ending the tour at a Panama City marina.

Latvala is considered a moderate Republican and told the group he is proud to have friends on both sides of the political aisle.

Republican challenger Putnam is the incumbent agriculture commissioner. Democrats seeking the seat Scott must leave due to term limits include former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Leading up to his announcement, Latvala has spent time talking about the need to make sure rural Florida is also benefiting from the state’s economic rebound, and he’s spoken out about the need to treat opioid abuse as a crisis.

Latvala, 65, has served two stints in the Florida Senate, the first from 1994 to 2002, when he left because of term limits. He returned to the Senate in 2010 and will again be term-limited next year. He is the current Senate budget chairman and has previously led the chamber’s efforts to tighten ethics in state government and require political candidates to be more transparent about fundraising and campaign spending.

“He fights very hard for the issues he cares about, and sometimes that puts him at odds with some fellow party members, but he cares passionately,” said Evan Power, chairman of the Leon County GOP.

He’s not afraid to buck his party’s leadership and has taken more moderate views on issues such as immigration. He helped fight back an effort to change the state’s pension system that was supported by top Republicans and opposed by state workers, and helped kill a bill that would have opened Florida to fracking, an effort that was supported by many in the GOP.

But he will be entering the race as an underdog to Putnam, 43, who first ran for office 22 years ago and has seemingly spent his entire adult life building toward a run for governor.

“Commissioner Putnam has positioned himself well for this race and he’s been working for it, and I think he has the infrastructure at the early end to have that place as the front-runner,” said Power, whose group hosted Putnam Tuesday night.

Putnam was asked Tuesday night about Latvala’s entry into the race, and he chose not to discuss the new challenger.

“I’m focused on the race that I’m running. If you ain’t the lead dog in the fight, the view never changes,” Putnam said. “I’m just going to be working grass roots, pig-pullings and fish fries from Key West to Chumukla.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is also considering running for governor, wouldn’t say a word when asked about Latvala getting in the race, simply shaking his head “no” as the Leon County GOP barbecue wrapped up

Latvala, however, hasn’t been shy about poking Putnam, using Twitter to jab him even before submitting paperwork to get in the race last week.

After Putnam attended a Possum Festival, an annual event in a small Panhandle town that’s popular with politicians, Latvala tweeted, “While there will be a time to pose with possums, I am more focused on jobs in NW FL.”

And when Putnam said he was a proud “sellout” to the National Rifle Association, Latvala tweeted a political cartoon mocking Putnam, adding his own message, “I will never sell out to anyone, anytime.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Adam Putnam: Fight hatred, but don’t fight over statues

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the leading Republican candidate for governor, said Tuesday that Americans don’t need to fight about Confederate statues and should instead focus on fighting the country’s 21st-century enemies.

Putnam condemned white supremacists and the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, but said the country should not be fighting over the U.S. Civil War and erasing the nation’s history.

“What’s going on in Charlottesville is just awful and it’s hate and it’s violent and it’s dark and it’s got no place in our society,” Putnam told about 160 people gathered for a Leon County Republican barbecue dinner. “And we ought to be focused more on eradicating hate today than eradicating yesteryear’s history.”

Putnam’s family arrived in Florida in the mid-1800s and he is the fifth generation of ranchers and farmers. He’s also a former congressman who rose to become the fourth most powerful Republican in the U.S. House before returning to Florida, where he is serving his second term as agriculture commissioner.

Putnam said students need to be taught the history of the Civil War, in addition to the country’s involvement in fighting both Nazi Germany as well as more present-day enemies, such as those that planned the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Those are the lessons of history that we have to eternalize, and not have a big fight over something that happened 150 years ago, but have a fight about how to make America stronger and more united today against the enemies today – the people who want to eradicate capitalism and free enterprise and democracy,” he said. Those battles, he said, are preferable to “having a fight about a statue that most people just walk past and assume it’s just a pigeon roost anyway.”

Apparently that also includes a Confederate monument on the grounds of the Florida Capitol, where Putnam has worked the last seven years and where he previously served as a state legislator. Some people are calling for its removal.

“As much as I love history, I’ve never noticed it. Where is it? What is it?” Putnam said when asked about the monument, which honors Confederate soldiers from Leon County who died in the Civil War. It has been on the Capitol grounds since 1882.

Putnam is seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who will leave office in January 2019 due to term limits.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

GOP strategist Rick Wilson tees off on Donald Trump

As the Republican field running for governor grows, a top GOP strategist offered some advice Wednesday to candidates seeking to follow term-limited Gov. Rick Scott.

“Just don’t be Trump’s mini-me, a simple rule,” Rick Wilson told the Capital Tiger Bay Club in a luncheon speech.

Wilson, a Tallahassee-based national Republican strategist who has become one of the most-outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, said most of the Republicans positioning themselves to run for governor next year “are pretty much onboard the Trump train to Trash Fire Mountain.”

Wilson, who has nearly three decades of political experience, said he understands the attraction of trying to appeal to Trump supporters in a Republican primary, but he warned it’s a “sugar high” that could have consequences in the general election.

“Their consultants are looking at that Trump base approval number and encouraging their guys to get an orange wig and rage tweet every morning at 6 a.m.,” Wilson said. “It’s a really bad look on most people. Trying to out-Trump Trump is the biggest sin in politics.”

Wilson said voters will “know you’re faking it.”

“Be real, guys, be yourself, be better than Trumpism,” Wilson said. “You’ll thank me in the general election, I promise you.”

In a nearly hour-long appearance before the political club, Wilson talked about his transition from a “rock-solid party guy,” who got his start with George H.W. Bush in the 1988 presidential campaign,” to a man who underwent a “political midlife change” in the 2016 election.

Wilson, who ended up supporting Evan McMullin’s independent bid for president, said Trump was not aligned with his political beliefs of limited government, individual liberty, an adherence to the Constitution and support for government restraint.

“I just couldn’t bring myself to pretend that Donald Trump was a conservative or that he was a Republican,” Wilson said. “He doesn’t believe in anything except himself, his celebrity and his brand. That’s not the party I signed up for.”

Wilson said the “real election” last year was “for the heart and soul” of his party.

“Republicans were hypnotized by a celebrity con man with a nationalist message, who was given virtually unlimited media attention,” he said.

With Trump’s recent equivocating on condemning racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., Wilson said “this is a bad time to be a Republican.”

“I have to call out not just Donald Trump right now but leaders of my party who will not call Donald Trump out by name for what he has done and said in the last few days to give aid and comfort to Nazis, Klansmen and racists,” Wilson said.

But he added he was “heartened” by remarks from Republican leaders, who unlike the president, directly condemned the actions by the nationalist groups in Virginia.

“They have recognized finally that this is a man who is off the rails,” Wilson said.

Wilson also warned that neither Republicans nor Democrats are “ready for the future.” He predicted that an accelerated cycle of change politically, socially and economically “will make the last 10 years look like the 1950s.”

He said voters are disengaging from both parties, reflected by the growing number of voters who claim no party affiliation.

“They increasingly sense that politics is disconnected from the things that affect their daily lives,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s outspokenness has drawn the ire of Trump supporters and the president, who has 36 million Twitter followers to Wilson’s 221,000 followers.

“One of the most amazing experiences you can have in your life is when Donald Trump tweets something terrible about you. Wow,” Wilson said. “You learn very quickly who your enemies and your friends are.”

Wilson said impeachment of Trump is not likely.

“Unless they find a note in Cyrillic from Trump, impeachment is a very high hill,” he said, alluding to investigations about alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and supporters to Russia.

But he raised the possibility that Trump might not seek re-election.

“I think Donald Trump is miserable. I think he hates this job,” he said.

Wilson also predicted that Trump, despite his controversies, will not change.

“It’s always the worst week. This is another worst week,” Wilson said. “I have two big theories. It never gets better. And everything Trump touches dies.”

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Rick Scott brings tax initiative roadshow to Jacksonville

Another day, another port of call — or two — for Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

In Jacksonville Tuesday, Scott reprised a call he made in Orlando Monday: to put a constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot that would require any tax or fee hikes to be approved by a supermajority of the Florida Legislature.

While it’s still being worked out whether that would be a 2/3 or 3/4 supermajority, the proposal aligns with Scott’s previous tough talk on taxes, and jibes with the present and near-future political ambitions of local, regional, and state pols, many of whom were on hand to support him.

Among the luminaries: House Speaker Richard Corcoran; Mayor Lenny Curry; state Sen. Travis Hutson; and state Rep. Clay Yarborough.

Scott framed the proposal as a legacy-protecting measure, intended to “make sure all the things we’ve done in the last eight years” would be “difficult to change” by “politicians of the future … raising taxes.”

The measure could be made into a referendum via the Constitutional Revision Commission or the Florida Legislature, Scott said.

Corcoran, noting that Florida is the #1 state for “fiscal health” according to a recent survey, noted likewise that this move would “protect” that legacy, offering “great protection for taxpayers.”

Corcoran introduced Jacksonville’s mayor, crediting the “greatest mayor in America” with pension reform. Then Curry likewise endorsed the proposal, saying it was “consistent with the Rick Scott I know.”

If approved, Curry said the referendum would “ensure the power of the state cannot just impose taxes at will.”

Hutson added that this “should be a bipartisan issue,” as tax increases hurt the lower and middle classes the most.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz calls for special session to replace Confederate statue

(UPDATED) South Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants the Florida Legislature to convene for a special session to deal with a Confederate monument that represents the state in the U.S. Capitol.

A bronze statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith continues to sit in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall, despite legislation passed during the 2016 Legislative Session that approved removing it.

“While the events in Charlottesville represent our nation’s original sin, we know these hateful acts do not define who we are as a country. We must denounce white supremacy and domestic terrorism and stand up for love and compassion – not just with our words, but with our deeds,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Momentum to remove Smith from the congressional collection began in 2015 shortly after the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from its statehouse grounds. That seminal event took place after Dylann Roof went on a shooting spree in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine black men and women. Roof had posed with a Confederate flag in photos.

Two competing bills regarding a statue that would have taken the place of Smith died in this year’s Legislative Session. One called for a likeness of educator and civil-rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, while another proposed a statue of environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of “The Everglades: River of GrassNeither passed.

“Next year, we expect movement in the House and we’ll pass it in the Senate,” said state Sen. Perry Thurston, who sponsored the Bethune measure. “I am encouraged we will get it done next year.”

Each state has two statues on display in the Capitol. Florida’s other statue, a marble rendering of scientist-inventor Dr. John Gorrie of Apalachicola, a pivotal figure in the invention of air conditioning, is unaffected.

Wasserman Schultz says that leaving Smith’s statue in a place of honor “symbolizes a painful, disgraceful legacy.”

“It’s time to stop playing games,” she said on Tuesday. “No family visiting our nation’s Capitol should have to explain to their child that the statue representing our state honors someone who fought for a philosophy built on hatred and oppression.”

Wasserman Schultz says Governor Rick Scott and the Legislature must take immediate action by calling a one-day special session during their upcoming interim committee meetings to pass a bill with one of the three recommendations from the committee established by law: Douglas, Bethune or George Washington Jenkins, a philanthropist and the founder of Publix Super Markets.

“These three Floridians represent the best of the history of our state,” she said. “The removal of the Confederate statue must be made an urgent priority.”

“Like most politicians in Washington, the congresswoman is out of touch,” said House Speaker Richard Corcoran. “We’ve already made this decision and are now having a conversation about which great Floridian we should honor. The congresswoman should stop grandstanding and focus on balancing the Federal budget.”

Senate President Joe Negron did not respond to a request for comment.

Rick Scott reluctant to question President Trump’s call for possible military action in Venezuela

As Venezuela’s economy continues to spiral downwards, Governor Rick Scott has been championing the opposition to President Nicholas Maduro.

Scott is expected to ask the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday for a resolution prohibiting the State Board of Administration, which acts as the state’s investment manager, from investing in companies or securities that are owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

President Donald Trump threatened military action in Venezuela last Friday night, sparking condemnation from around the region, including from countries which are usually some of Maduro’s harshest critics.

Maduro has seized on Trump’s comments to reaffirm long-standing accusations that Washington is preparing a military attack. He called for military exercises on Monday, urging the public to join in a two-day operation on August 26 and 27 involving both soldiers and civilians.

“I know that the president is very concerned,” Scott told Florida Politics Tuesday when asked if he had any concerns about Trump’s provocative comment.

“I’ve talked to him about Venezuela a number of times. I think doing the sanctions was right against everybody involved with Maduro,” said the Governor, speaking to reporters at the Florida Aquarium after holding a press conference touting the record number of tourists who visited Florida during the first half of 2017.

“It’s disgusting what’s happening down there,” Scott said.

Scott derided the Maduro government for placing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez under house arrest after he was released from prison following a three year sentence for leading anti-government protests.

“Maduro needs to step down, he needs to release all political prisoners, we need democracy again, ” Scott said.

The Governor has not officially declared himself a candidate for U.S. Senate, but is expected to at some point in the next year. He’ll face Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. With the crisis in Venezuela exploding, both men have been competing with each other to show how devoted they are to the Venezuelan-American constituency in Florida.

Nelson has been seemingly trying to catch up to Scott in talking tough on the Maduro government. Last month he called the Trump administration to consider cutting off imports of Venezuelan oil. While limiting Venezuela’s oil imports to the U.S. is seen as a powerful weapon, it’s not clear how effective it would be, and is not something that even Marco Rubio has publicly called for (though he has said the issue should be on the table).

Nelson and Rubio introduced legislation in May to provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people and increase sanctions on the Venezuelan officials responsible for the ongoing crisis there. Meanwhile, officials close to the governor note that he has been concerned about the Venezuelan people going back to 2014.

Scott brushed off a question about whether he supported Nelson’s request, saying that the Trump administration is looking at everything that they can do to promote democracy.

Over 120 people have been killed since anti-government protests began in April, driven by anger over shortages of food and medicine and Maduro’s creation of a legislative superbody that governments around the world say is dictatorial.

“I’ve talked to a variety of people, including some people who do charity care down there and they can’t even get charity care in there,” Scott decried.

The governor then got personal, saying that his daughter is pregnant with twins, and said he couldn’t imagine having a daughter or wife in a country that is enduring a shortage of medicine, which is the case currently in Venezuela.

“Can you imagine that knowing that your wife or daughter or somebody is going to have a baby and you know that unfortunately you’re in a country where they won’t even allow in the right medicine to take care of their citizens?” he asked. “That’s wrong.”

Rick Scott: State will help UF prepare for white supremacist’s visit

Gov. Rick Scott said he’s asked state agency heads to offer the University of Florida whatever help it needs to prepare for next month’s campus visit by a noted white supremacist.

Scott on Tuesday said he contacted the heads of the Departments of Law Enforcement, Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida National Guard. He asked them to confer with university President Kent Fuchs and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell on what assistance the state could provide.

UF administration and campus police are working on a security plan for Richard Spencer, the head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute.

He’s scheduled to appear on the Gainesville campus on Sept. 12. Scott said he wants to make sure that if university officials have any concerns that they can reach out to those law enforcement officials, adding that “they can always reach out to me.”

Scott has criticized events in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday that led to the death of a progressive activist.

“Whether it’s the KKK or neo-Nazis or white supremacists, it’s evil,” he told reporters Tuesday, after speaking at a news conference on tourism at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium. “They don’t belong in our society. Of course, we all know we have the First Amendment, but we’re not ever going to condone violence in our state.”

Scott was also asked about the continuing saga about a Confederate statue in Tampa that is scheduled to be discussed again at Wednesday’s Hillsborough Board of County Commission meeting.

Commissioners voted last month to move the statue to a cemetery in Brandon, but a slow-moving private fundraising effort created to pay to remove the statue has prompted speculation that some members of the board may be considering an idea of placing the movement of the statue on the 2018 ballot.

“We have a democratic process in our state, so any conversations like that should go through that process, and then everybody figure out how we’re going to work together,” Scott said.

A protest in Durham, North Carolina on Monday night against racism took a turn when participants toppled a Confederate statue. “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable, but there is a better way to remove these monuments,” tweeted North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Scott didn’t weigh in on what he thought about maintaining or removing such monuments, but merely emphasized that everything should go through a formal process.

He trotted out statistics touting how well Florida is doing regarding crime rates and job openings, “because we have a process that works. But everybody has to go through that process. If there are any changes that we make, just go through a logical process and have a conversation about that. That’s what’s great about our country.”

The news conference at the Aquarium took place at the same time as the Tampa Port Authority was meeting down the street on Channelside Drive.

When Scott named Tampa businessman Mike Griffin to the Authority’s board earlier this month, he mentioned how he was “concerned to see media reports detailing wasteful spending by the executives at Port Tampa Bay.

“It’s your money, let’s all remember this,” he said Tuesday, regarding the Port. “If you’re going to go spend taxpayers’ money, it’s all somebody’s money. Let’s watch how that money is being spent, and let’s make sure it’s transparent, make sure it’s accountable.”

“I think Mike Griffin’s first board meeting is today. But all boards, everybody who’s elected, everybody who’s appointed, you’ve got to say yourself, this is somebody else’s money.”

Money flows in special election to replace Eric Eisnaugle

Nearly $250,000 has been spent since the end of May by three of four Republicans running in a special election in a state House district that includes major Orlando-area tourist attractions.

And while the District 44 contest won’t be decided until a special general election on Oct. 10, the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary will be the favorite to finish the term of former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando.

GOP candidate John Newstreet, president of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce, is tops in raising money and spending, according to newly filed finance reports, followed by Robert Olszewski, Bruno Portigliatti and Usha Jain.

The district, which leans heavily Republican, goes from Winter Garden south to Lake Buena Vista and is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Florida and SeaWorld Orlando.

Newstreet, 40, of Orlando, raised $59,175 between July 7 and Thursday, according to reports posted on the state Division of Elections website.

In all, Newstreet has raised $124,554 for the special election, of which more than $111,000 had been spent as of Thursday.

More than half of Newstreet’s spending has gone to the Orlando-based consulting firms The Red Envelope and Millennium Consulting.

Olszewski, 39, a business consultant and former Winter Garden commissioner, reported $23,050 in contributions from July 7 through Thursday.

In all, Olszewski had raised $75,980 and loaned $1,750 the campaign, with all of that money spent. Most of the spending — $65,771— went to Tampa-based Strategic Image Management for campaign consulting and direct mail.

Portigliatti, 29, the CEO of Excellence Senior Living and executive vice president of Florida Christian University, reported raising $14,760 during the most-recent period, bringing his overall total to $65,581. More than one-third of the money, $26,500, had come from the candidate.

He had spent $54,761, with much of the money going to Spencerville, Maryland-based SRH Media for advertising and to Tallahassee-based EM Campaigns for consulting, direct and online marketing.

Jain did not report raising any cash but has spent $3,400 on campaign signs and other advertising. Jain, 66, is a doctor and medical director at Emergi Care Medical Center in Windermere.

Awaiting the winner is Democrat Paul Chandler, whose eligibility for the race is the subject of a lawsuit filed last week in Leon County. He had raised $3,508, including $2,168 during the most recent filing period.

Chandler has also put up $21,792 of his own money and the Florida Democratic Party has chipped in $250.

The complaint by Charles Hart of Windermere claims Chandler is an active registered voter in Missouri and has voted in that state as recently as Nov. 8, 2016. Florida law requires candidates to be a resident of Florida for the two years prior to the election.

Republicans make up 36.1 percent of the registered voters in House District 44, while Democrats make up 32.4 percent. But the district has gone heavily in the past to Eisnaugle, who left the House this spring after being appointed by Gov. Rick Scott as a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal.

Eisnaugle, who went unopposed in the 2016 general election, received 64.6 percent of the vote in 2014 November general election when challenged by independent Matthew Falconer.

Eisnaugle got 74.2 percent of the vote in a March 11, 2014, special election over Democrat Shaun Raja.

Republish with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Rick Scott, Richard Corcoran renew rebukes of white supremacists

While avoiding comment on what President Donald Trump had to say in the wake of the Charlottesville events, Gov. Rick Scott renewed his condemnations Monday of the KKK, white supremacist and neo-Nazis.

So did Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a potential 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate. The two made their comments speaking with the press Monday morning in Lake Mary following their announcement of plans for a Constitutional Amendment proposal to restrict tax and fee increase.

After white supremacists’ marches in Charlottesville resulted in one of the white supremacist driving his car into a crowd of anti-protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people, Trump’s response that violence came “from all sides” has drawn heavy criticism that he would not blame the white supremacists specifically

“I’m not going to parse the president’s words, but here’s what I’ll say,” Scott said. “It’s evil. It’s horrible. I don’t believe in racism. I don’t believe in bigotry. I believe the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis they don’t belong in our society.”

“It’s evil. I don’t believe in it. It’s disgusting that this would ever go on in our society,” Scott added. “I don’t ever want it happening in our country. I don’t ever want it happening in our state.”

Corcoran noted the efforts by the Florida Legislature last spring to recognize and condemn the 1940s and 50s racism and murders behind the case of the “Groveland Four,” four young black men and teen boys who were falsely accused of rape and then either killed or wrongly imprisoned. The House and the Senate both unanimously passed resolutions apologizing to their families.

“Where ever evil presents itself, I don’t care if it’s neo-Naziism, I don’t care if it’s white supremacy, if it’s any of the incidents we saw, they need to be stamped out, and they have no business being in a free and open Democratic society,” Corcoran said. “We’re going to fight that wherever we can.”

However, Scott stopped short of addressing what has been at the root of the Charlottesville march and clashes elsewhere, including Orlando and Tampa Bay, between white supremacists and others: what to do with Confederate monuments.

Scott said that conversation would come, but he didn’t take sides.

“Today is a day to mourn. We lost a young lady. We lost two law enforcement officers [killed in a helicopter crash in Charlottesville,]” Scott said. “There is going to be an opportunity to have that conversation.  It’s disgusting that this happened. It’s hateful. It’s evil. But I know there will be an opportunity to have that conversation.”

Rick Scott, Richard Corcoran launch push for tax supermajority

Pledging to make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes, and surrounded by a bevy of Republican Florida lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott pledged to push a Constitutional amendment to require a supermajority for such increases.

At an announcement at the Verizon Florida headquarters in Lake Mary, Scott said the amendment to require 60 percent votes on tax increases could come from either the Florida Legislature or the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, to be placed on the 2018 ballot.

He’ll likely have full support of the Florida Legislature’s Republican leadership. He was joined in his call Monday by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, House Ways and Means Committee chair Paul Renner and seven other Republican members of the Florida House, most from Central Florida.

Scott also said he called Senate President Joe Negron, but that the Palm City Republican was unable to attend his announcement.

“My goal is to make it harder for elected politicians to raise taxes on Florida families and businesses,” Scott said. “And that can be achieved with an amendment to the state constitution. This Legislature has shown they are absolutely committed to tax and fee decreases.

“I want to make sure to get this on the ballot so you’ll never see your taxes go up again without people taking the time to make sure that it’s something well thought out,” Scott added.

Corcoran expressed confidence that if the measure reaches the ballot Florida voters will approve it.

“All too often as we see it sometimes on the national level, it’s easier to raise taxes or fees than it is to make tough decisions on what is right and best for the people,” Corcoran said.

“This proposal says we’re going to make it really, really difficult to go back to the time when we had high unemployment and no jobs and people were struggling, and we’re going to recognize that what’s at stake, who’s really at the heart of this, is when you’ve got single moms out there who are working two jobs, trying to make ends meet, put food on the table for their kids, and trying to give them a world-class education, you can’t just go willy-nilly and raise those people’s taxes and not think it’s not going to have a dramatic affect on them,” Corcoran said.

Left uncertain is whether the amendment would apply only to the Florida Legislature or might apply to all Florida governments, including cities and counties. A governor’s staffer suggested it most likely would apply only to the Legislature, but others weren’t so certain.

Since the amendment is not drafted – by either the CRC or the Legislature – the prospect may remain one to be decided later.

Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes of Longwood suggested it might cover local governments. He said that likely would receive pushback from local governments that express frequent frustration at Tallahassee’s restrictions on the Home Rule paradigm but would be needed.

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