Rick Scott’s Florida: Examples of why #ItsNotWorking, with Commentary


We here at the Florida Squeeze have long planned on doing a series regarding Rick Scott’s unfulfilled job promises and misleading job claims in early 2014. A simple narrative had developed that Governor Scott has put Floridians to work after Governor Crist cost the state jobs. This, however, is a simplistic way of looking at things.

Thanks to the good folks at the Miami Herald who did a well-researched and documented series last month, we are able to take their work and expand on it with commentary and thoughts.

The Herald series made a few startling empirical conclusions:

 Of the jobs Scott can influence most, only a fraction now exist. Scott has pledged $266 million in tax breaks and other incentives in return for 45,258 new jobs. But 96 percent of the jobs have yet to materialize, according to state data.

 Gov. Rick Scott has staked his reputation and his re-election on his ability to create new jobs in Florida, but a case-by-case review of the use of incentives to attract jobs shows far more jobs promised than delivered.

 The total number of new jobs Scott ultimately might deliver doesn’t offset the jobs lost at companies with more than 100 workers in the same time period. Between January 2011 and November 2013, large Florida employers reported 49,163 layoffs, according to federal data.

In recent weeks I have worked to gather information from those I know that have had trouble finding jobs in this state. Below are some of the stories we’ve gathered.

I got this email from a long-time professional colleague of mine who wishes to remain nameless. He has lived in Florida for thirty years.

My unemployment ran out on 12/28. I’ve been looking for marketing jobs but there are few and far between. And the ones that are available are mostly entry-level or low paying.

 The economy is the worst I’ve seen it since I’ve been here since 1984. It’s just not me either. A lot of my friends and family are finding it harder to make a decent living than ever before.”

Another friend who wants to remain anonymous complained to me about the situation in the state that he feels discriminates against highly educated job applicants.

I have received multiple interviews and job offers that meet my salary needs but they have all been out of the state. Locally employers have been opting for cheaper, younger people who don’t have the experience or  education I have. I keep hearing about all these new jobs but they are all blue collar jobs catering to a largely uneducated workforce. I stopped claiming unemployment in October because they required you to apply for five jobs per week and the jobs listed locally were all lower wage jobs.

I have another professional associate who is well-educated and came to Florida in July looking for work. He ended up moving to North Carolina instead because there were higher-wage jobs with an educated feel and better standard of living in the Research Triangle Area (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Cary). He badly wanted to move to southern Florida but only found “second-tier” jobs in the area, to use his words. His situation reminded me about how well-regarded both the schools and intellectual level are in the Raleigh area, where I used to travel often for work.

This comes at a time when Florida’s reputation nationally continues to be embarrassing. While we have developed a service based economy highly dependent on tourism, we have yet to develop either the types of high-tech jobs Governor Bush promised the state a decade ago or the green jobs Governor Crist tried to bring to the state before being short-circuited by an ideologically motivated legislature. These are not jobs suited to quickly reduce the unemployment rate in a quest for reelection but instead the types of jobs needed to make Florida sustainable long-term. These are the types of jobs Governor Scott and his administration have shown little interest in growing.

Let’s take one example – High Speed Rail. Governor Scott on an ideological crusade much like Jeb Bush before him cancelled High-Speed Rail, something Governor Crist supported. In this Scott and Bush had cover from many Democrats especially some of the leadership in Palm Beach County. We will cover this subject more in depth later this week, but it is important to remember the proposed rail system would have created a minimum of 50,000 jobs of largely skilled workers and engineers in Scott’s first term AND improved the infrastructure in the state for tourists and businesses. But the conservative dogma decries any sort of public transportation funding and has continued Florida’s dependence on gas-guzzling automobiles while failing to develop the groundwork necessary to create a truly modern 21st Century economy. Florida’s economy under this Governor is moving backwards, towards the types of “McJobs” philosophy other Southern states had in the 1990s.

Today those states such as Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama are rapidly transforming their economies, admittedly with leadership mostly controlled by Republicans. But many of the leading Republicans here in Florida lack the creativity or the civic pride to similarly transform our state. In fact they are taking the state towards where our neighbors were ten or fifteen years ago at a time when we were “a shining city on a hill” in this region.

The lack of intellectual curiosity of many leaders in the legislature as well as the sense of entitlement they feel as a governing party has prevented us from moving forward. A nonexistence of institutional memory coupled with an often fearful and neutered Democratic Party has prevented the type of debate on the future of this state that is needed. Here at the Florida Squeeze we aim to enhance this debate with our series this week.


  1. Barbara Miller · ·

    What has been the dollar cost for Scott’s economic development program?


    1. $266 million is the number I keep seeing Barbara. That’s a big number.


      1. With a scant HANDFUL of the jobs promised in exchange for all the $$ he gave away to corporations relocating to FL; and when is Scott going to RECOVER those million$ in corporate giveaways from the companies that DID NOT create the jobs they contracted with the State of Florida to create? What a boondoggle, and coming right out of the pockets of Florida taxpayers! Sort of reminds you of what he got away with at HCA, Scott-free!


  2. We need to improve education in the state in order to get these sorts of jobs that you want. I agree that the governor hasn’t done the job he promised to do however we need to focus more on the poor state of higher education in Florida and the inability of our state to attract leading high-tech companies to the state because of the mostly uneducated workforce.


  3. Here is a video of Rick Scott’s HCA fraud deposition. What a pathological liar, thief, and ignoramus:

    I now call on the Florida Democrats to make a commercial from this Rick Scott farud depo so he is not re-elected.

    Now all of a sudden Rick Scott is interested in taking action for education, jobs, and the environment.

    Take a hike Rick Scott. You’re a fraud.

    Spread this video far and wide.

    Use it Democratic Party of Florida now!


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