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Florida Democratic legislators question Rick Scott’s job plan

During a House committee meeting yesterday, Democratic state legislators questioned Gov. Rick Scott’s newly proposed economic growth plans and whether they would indeed improve the stagnant unemployment rate in the state.

Scott’s legislative affairs director Jon Costello took questions about Scott’s new economic plans, which would rely heavily on his old policies of cutting taxes and cutting spending. One of the tax cuts proposed would hit the corporate income tax. Scott plans on eventually eliminating that tax in the state, which would remove about $2 billion — 9 percent — from the state’s general revenue.

Much like some economic policy analysts in the state, Democrats in the meeting expressed skepticism.

State Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, asked Costello if there “would be any language” that would make sure those savings corporations made from tax cuts went to job creation.

“The last thing we would want to do is just have a CEO pocket the money and just say, ‘Thanks for the cash,’” Jenne said.

Costello said there were no plans to add such language.

“Quite frankly, depending on the size and scope of the company, their savings and tax breaks might not be enough to bring a new person on,” Costello said.

Costello was also asked about the governor’s flip-flop on a key metric for his last jobs plan.

State Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, sought clarification about Scott’s “700,000-jobs pledge” that was originally meant to be on top of the 1 million jobs state economists last year had already expected to be created over the next seven years as part of normal growth.

“If what we’re talking about now is only 700,000 jobs, I’m looking at a 300,000 job loss,” Waldman said. “It sounds like we’re backtracking from where we were several weeks ago … 700,000. It doesn’t seem like anything fantastic.”

Waldon, who was at that point clearly frustrated, also asked Costello to “get away from campaign slogans” when discussing Scott’s jobs plan.

Costello said, “It’s a very difficult question.” He said Scott was still committed to creating 700,000 jobs, though.

Other Democrats also expressed concern. Rep. Geri Thompson, D-Orlando, was concerned about public employees who typically could not gain employment in the private sector. Part of Scott’s jobs plan has been to shift workers from the public sector to the private sector, which Thompson explained would disadvantage some.

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