Chris Christie Joins With Rick Scott to Attack Charlie Crist on Jobs
Around the State
Alongside possible Republican presidential contender Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., continued his focus on Florida ports on Thursday and attacking the Democrat he is most likely to face in November.
Speaking at Port Tampa Bay, Scott doubled down on his calls to invest $1 billion for Florida ports over an 8-year period, including the 4 he has served in Tallahassee. During his time in office, Florida has sent more than $700 million to help the Sunshine State’s ports as they ready for the Panama Canal expansion.
“While many states waited on Washington to help fund infrastructure needs, Florida never waited on the federal government to step in and help us be more competitive or successful,” Scott added. “In Florida, we have made investments in our seaports and expedited funding for major ports projects and I am proud we are committing to invest a total of $1 billion in Florida’s ports over our entire 8-year term in office.”
Following the Scott team’s lead earlier in the week, Christie came out swinging against former Gov. Charlie Crist on trade. Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott despite spending most of his political life in the GOP.
"Charlie Crist neglected Florida’s economy while he was governor and decided to make it worse by raising taxes, increasing debt and leaving a $3.6 billion deficit behind,” Christie said. “Crist also neglected Florida’s ports – a key part of this state’s economy – and it led to over 150,000 trade jobs being lost in Florida. Gov. Scott has done the opposite, making smart investments into ports, leading to the creation of over 120,000 trade jobs. I’m used to seeing career politicians like Charlie Crist in New Jersey – all talk and no action. But like me, Gov. Scott cleaned up his predecessor’s mess and Florida is much better off for it."
Scott’s plans include continuing support for port infrastructure even as ports across the Sunshine State ready for the Panama Canal expansion, including finishing the Miami deep dredge on schedule. Scott’s plan also calls for backing the Intermodal Logistics Center (ILC) support program, increased marketing and a renewed commitment to manufacturing. On Thursday, Scott’s team pointed toward $10.4 million invested in Port Tampa Bay back in the fall to improve the container yard, creating almost 2,000 jobs and supporting 2,500 current jobs.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) fired back on Scott and Christie on Thursday.
“What do Christie’s and Scott’s records actually look like?” the DNC asked in an email sent to the media on Thursday. “Under Chris Christie, New Jersey’s credit rating has been downgraded a record-matching six times. His state has recovered less than half the private-sector jobs lost during the recession, and property taxes in New Jersey are the highest in the nation. Under Christie, New Jersey has an $800 million budget shortfall, and his ‘solution’ is to break a promise to New Jersey workers to the tune of $2.4 billion – likely hurting the state’s long-term economic prospects even more. New Jersey maintains one of the highest unemployment rates in the region and recently passed Florida to claim the mantle of the nation’s highest share of foreclosures.
“But falling from the top spot in foreclosures is no victory for Scott in Florida,” the DNC continued. “Look no further than the Miami Herald to sum up Rick Scott’s problem: ‘Many Promises, Few Jobs.’ When he campaigned for governor in 2010, Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs – but he’s coming up short. Scott spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in incentives in an attempt to create jobs, but – according to the Miami Herald – ‘96 percent of the jobs have yet to materialize.’
“Don’t expect Chris Christie and Rick Scott to live up to their tired rhetoric that Republican governors know how to get the job done,” the DNC concluded. “Instead, we’re likely to hear more meaningless platitudes about Republican ‘leadership’ and deflection on their own disastrous economic records. That’s not leadership – it’s just more of the same failed rhetoric that matches their failed records.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.