Gov. Rick Scott Praises State DOT, Disses DCA
Employees at Florida's Department of Transportation can be grateful they're not working at the Department of Community Affairs.
In his opening remarks to the department employees gathered at the DOT's assembly hall in Tallahassee Monday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott said he's heard great things about the DOT, but not so much at the DCA.
"People in the state are very appreciative of the Department of Transportation. You do a great job." Scott said. "Now if your name was DCA during the campaign, people complained a lot about DCA, but nobody complained about the Department of Transportation. I can't remember one example."
Scott hailed the DOT as being job creators for the state, and later referenced the more than 30,000 jobs expected to be created from the recently announced dredging project in Miami that will open the port to new trade opportunities.
After a brief speech praising the employees' hard work, he opened up the floor to questions.
Only two people ventured to ask the governor anything.
The first questioner asked why state employees couldn't have the option to contribute what they want to their retirement plans, instead of having the state mandate the percentage they contribute.
"That's a good question," Scott said. "I asked that same question this morning in a staff meeting. When I get the answer, I'll get back to you."
Scott indicated that it may have something to do with a federal requirement.
The second, and last, questioner challenged Scott on how cutting state employee benefits and lowering taxes translates to lower unemployment, when other states with higher taxes have lower unemployment rates.
Scott suggested the problem is more complex than a direct correlation. He says he wants to make it very difficult for companies to choose to set up their business anywhere but Florida.
"States with the lowest taxes grow the fastest. It's clear," said Scott. "States that are right-to-work states grow the fastest. It's absolutely clear. Those are the things that have an impact."
After the scheduled appearence, Scott entertained questions from the media on topics ranging from his relationship with the Legislature, to education spending and reform. See the video here.