U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is no longer in the Governor’s Mansion. But after eight years leading the state, that fact won’t stop him from weighing in on state issues.
The most recent example was Monday afternoon, when the Republican balked at potential university tuition hikes.
Responding to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel Monday, Scott caviled at what he deemed to effectively be “tax increases” on students.
“Raising tuition on families is a tax increase. And, it’s a tax increase that harms Floridians’ ability to achieve the American dream of earning a higher-education diploma. As families are still struggling to recover from the coronavirus, leaders in Florida should absolutely not consider raising tuition,” Scott asserted.
“Over the last six years of my term as Governor, we held the line on tuition. I asked every person interviewing for appointments to our universities and colleges if they would support a tuition increase. If they said yes, I didn’t appoint them. And if they went against their word, they were not re-appointed,” Scott said.
“The federal government has spent almost $14 billion in the CARES Act to give higher education institutions the support they need during the coronavirus, and with more classes moving online, university operations costs should be lower. Businesses and families around the country are having to navigate this difficult time – our universities have to do the same and live within their means instead of taking the easy way out and passing the costs on to students. The opportunities and dreams of future graduates are at stake, and we owe it to them to continue our fight against the tax increase of rising tuition.”
Florida’s Board of Governors, much like every other part of state government, is looking to close a $2.7 billion budget gap. And as a Sun-Sentinel report notes, state leaders are not entirely averse to raising tuition.
Senate President Wilton Simpson called it a “viable opportunity,” for example.
However, as Scott’s stance makes clear, raising tuition is by no means a political slam dunk.