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Flanked by Tea Party, Rick Scott Will Unveil State Budget in Central Florida Monday

| February 3, 2011

He's not the only one seeing red. (Governor's office.)

John Kennedy
News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE–They’ve already got Rick Scott coming – but Tea Party activists are now trying to bring the faux ship Dartmouth out of storage to serve as backdrop for the Republican governor’s budget rollout next week.

Scott confirmed Tuesday that he’ll unveil his budget proposal almost 200 miles away from the state Capitol – at Ferran Park in the Lake County city of Eustis. He’ll be joined by what is expected to be several hundred Tea Party activists, the loose-knit collection of conservative activists who formed a core force of Scott backers in last fall’s elections.

“Rick Scott is far more the ‘people’s governor’ than Charlie Crist ever was,” said Tom Gaitens, a co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party and an organizer of Monday’s event. “Charlie was a product of a party. But Rick is much more part of a movement.”

Gaitens said Billie Tucker, head of the Jacksonville First Coast Tea Party group, which hosted Scott rallies last fall featuring a model of the Boston Tea Party ship Dartmouth, is expected to haul the stage prop to Eustis for the afternoon event.

Tea Party leaders said they were encouraged by Scott’s move – saying it showed the new governor continuing to ally himself with a movement committed to cutting taxes and reducing government spending. They said they welcomed Scott’s political statement.

“We’ve seen in Washington already Republicans saying, ‘thanks for your help getting elected, we’ll see you in 2012,'” said Henry Kelley, a leader of the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party. “But I am curious about what he says in the budget. By joining him, I guess we look like we’re endorsing his proposal. But I think many of us want to see some real reductions.”

Scott appears likely to make good on shrinking Florida’s $70 billion spending plan, which he has derided as “bloated.” (Among the proposals: closing 53 state parks, including Flagler County’s Bulow Plantation ruins and Washington Oaks Garden State Park)

news service of florida

If anything, Scott has drawn his stiffest opposition from fellow Republicans in the Legislature, with House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, among those saying they don’t think it’s possible to close a budget gap of at least $3.6 billion while also providing the $2 billion in tax cuts Scott is expected to recommend.

Scott appears intent on cutting enough from the budget to reduce property taxes and the state’s corporate income tax. His proposal unveiled Tuesday to make the 655,000 government workers enrolled in the Florida Retirement System contribute 5 percent of their paychecks to the plan would pull an additional $1.3 billion into the state’s cash-strapped budget.

Florida Democrats said Scott’s homage to the Tea Party was disturbing – and distracting the new administration from its state goal of bringing 700,000 jobs to the state over the next seven years.

“Rather than focusing on the hard work of governing and working to bring jobs to Florida, Rick Scott continues to show Floridians he is only interested in celebrating his ego with the most extreme part of his political base,” said Eric Jotkoff, a Florida Democratic Party spokesman. “Since becoming governor, Rick Scott has proven that he is more interested in being a political celebrity rather than being the serious leader Florida needs during these hard economic times.”

Jotkoff’s reference is to Scott’s early Tuesday appearance on Fox & Friends where he praised a a Florida federal judge’s ruling clouding the future of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul and also previewed his proposed revamping of the state pension plan.

Scott, though, downplayed the political shadings of presenting his 2011-12 spending plan before Tea party activists.

“I’m trying my best to get around the state. I’m traveling almost every day,” Scott said. “I talk to all sorts of groups.”

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13 Responses for “Flanked by Tea Party, Rick Scott Will Unveil State Budget in Central Florida Monday”

  1. Bob Z. says:

    I work for the State and before I took the position just under 5 years ago I factored in the pension benefit (no contribution) when I decided to take the job. We have not had a raise since 2006 and insurance premiums have risen so I have actually taken pay cuts. Needless to say I do not consider this fair since what I was promised may be taken away.

    I saw a story on the news last night where people on the street were asked if State employees should get a pension without contributing and most said no, which is not fair when someone does not have all the facts – a person’s salary and entire benefit package must be considered in order to answer such a question.

    And for those of you who are thinking that I should be happy to just have a job let me say that I have a BS Degree in Business, am a US Navy Veteran, and have over 20 years in the private sector – we all decide what career path we choose and I believe that I deserve what I get, which is probably a lot less than what you think.

  2. PC MAN says:

    Gov Fraud Scott and the teabaggers are in the honeymoon stage of their relationship, holding hands looking deeply into each others eyes. Very soon teabaggers will start to feel the sting of this budget. Poor people can only be tapped for savings so much before that well runs dry and the ax falls on them. Considering all teabaggers are either retired or on disability they will be an easy target on the balance sheet.

  3. lawabidingcitizen says:

    PC MAN, perhaps you don’t know that the phrase, “tea baggers,” refers to homosexuals who engage in a particular act involving parts of their bodies not normally viewed in public, so perhaps now that know how inappropriate, if not inaccurate, your depictions are, perhaps you’ll have the courtesy to stop casting aspersions on Homosexual-Americans.

  4. Rick G says:

    The term “tea bagger” was first used by an anchor of Fox excuse me Faux News in early 2009. They were the ones running around with tea bags on their hats… Obviously it can be interpreted both ways so I’ll be a good American and leave the interpretation up to the individual.
    Bob Z I can empathize with you. People who take jobs with the state do so understanding that the yearly salary is pathetic but the pension one receives is some compensation as to what the private industry pays. If you make the argument that private industry has stopped providing pensions to their workers then the problem is with the private industry and not the state.
    One of these days the baggers will wake up to the fact that they are playing and paying for those who do not need social security and can afford health care. I wonder how many of the baggers in attendance for Scott’s “get together” are receiving Medicare, state pensions or SS benefits?

  5. NortonSmitty says:

    Your right LAC, but they have been calling them Teabaggers for so long it has become their term now. Leave it to the Conservative Republicans to take the simple act if squatting and dipping your testicles in and out of another mans mouth and turn it into something sordid and disgusting!

  6. DLF says:

    Get used to it he in office for a while. If I am forced to listen to the “the gifted” one” you can listen to scott. I see the people of Egypt did not swallow the gifted one’s essay on his BS.Long live the t baggers, rather them than the entitlement group now in office in DC, the ones who want the goverment to take care of them from cradle to grave.

  7. DLF says:

    I see more black than red in the picture, are these the t baggers all of you are referring to? The dems who are for the poor and the weak what a change this is.

  8. PC MAN says:

    lawabidingcitizen I know exactly what the term teabagger is. I knew what it was when I first heard it and couldn’t believe no one Googled it before using it. Conservatives have always been clueless and the term just kind of fits, so get used to it.
    Hey DLF the term is called “staging” , GW Bush never met a small black child he didn’t like taking his picture with. And who are the “poor and the weak” ? Black people ?
    “Fox News not racist but #1 with racists”

  9. A parent says:

    Lord have mercy on us all! How anyone could’ve voted for this crook is beyond me. It just sickens me. Medicare??? Ask Mr. Scott what he did with all that money he took from Medicare. I pray we all get through this.

  10. DLF says:

    PC MAN? lets talk about now ,who cares what GWB did ,most of it was wrong. Clinton did a better job than anyone on sraging. Who said anything about the black being the poor and the weak, just like a liberal playing the race card, it does not work anymore; since we have a black prez.

  11. PC MAN says:

    That’s right DLF now that we have a half black president racism is officially over.

  12. NortonSmitty says:

    PC, don’t grieve for racism, Fox and the Teabaggers will make sure it will be around for quite a while.

  13. Big Fish says:

    I just hope everytime Obama speaks the artcle starts by saying, ” Flanked by the far left…”

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