Rick Scott and Charlie Crist Fight Over Education and Budget

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 3, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, his leading Democratic challenger, clashed on Monday over education and the budget. 

The Florida Democratic Party went on the attack against Scott on Monday, launching a new video hitting him on education spending. But Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democrats, tried to ignore Crist’s record on the matter. Tant noted that per-pupil spending is below 2007 levels, the first year of Crist’s term as governor. 

“For three years, Floridians have witnessed the devastating effects Rick Scott has had on public education. Now, in addition to running for re-election, Rick Scott is trying to run from his record of slashing education funding while lining the pockets of special interests and top campaign contributors,” said Tant on Monday. “But no amount of poll-tested talking points can change the fact that per-pupil spending still remains below 2007 levels, and that Bright Futures serves far fewer students than it did seven years ago.  

“This week, Rick Scott is expected to sign a budget filled with hundreds of millions in pork-barrel spending,” Tant added. “He will have to answer to Florida’s teachers, students, and parents for every dollar he fails to veto as our schools continue to struggle. Floridians will be watching carefully as Rick Scott decides what’s most important: pet projects for special interests or giving our children the best education possible.”

But Scott’s team fired back with an of its own. Let’s Get to Work, a group with ties to Scott, released a new ad on Monday, taking aim at Crist for raising tuition during his time in office. Scott’s team is spending more than $2 million on the new ad which will hit the airwaves on Wednesday. 

"Not only is Charlie Crist’s economic record a disaster, as governor he supported a bill that allowed colleges and universities to increase tuition up to 15 percent every single year,” said Leslie Dougher, the new chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), on Monday. Charlie delivered a one-two punch to Florida families already facing difficult circumstances, putting college further out of reach. Thankfully, Rick Scott repealed Charlie’s tuition increase so college is more affordable to all Florida families."

With Scott signing the state’s $77 billion budget on Monday, Crist opened up a line of attack on it over the weekend.

“Rick Scott let me down,” Crist insisted on Saturday. “Now, granted, I didn't vote for him in 2010. But when he took over in Tallahassee, I hoped that for the good of Florida, he'd be able to keep our state moving forward, just like I left it. Instead, he's destroying it.

“Scott has slashed education funding, trampled over women's rights, made it harder for people to vote, turned down high-speed rail, held federal funds for health care hostage -- in every single way, he's shown that at his core, he really is the kind of guy who would run a company that commits massive Medicare fraud without questioning whether it was the right and ethical thing to do,” Crist continued. “Floridians are hurting and Scott just doesn't care. It breaks my heart. So when it came <time> to decide whether or not to run again, I just couldn't sit on the sidelines.”

Tant pressed on against Scott after the governor signed the budget on Monday.

“Over the last three years, Rick Scott has made it clear to Floridians that lining the pockets of special interests comes before doing what’s right for the middle class,” said Tant. “Rick Scott underscored that fact today by signing a budget packed with hundreds of millions in pork-barrel spending and taxpayer giveaways. Per-pupil education funding remains below 2007 levels. Bright Futures scholarships have been slashed to the bone. Nearly 1 million Floridians still lack access to affordable health care. In a re-election campaign where Rick Scott is trying desperately to run away from his failed record, one thing has not changed: Rick Scott takes care of the wealthy special interests while ignoring the needs of middle class Floridians.”

Scott’s team noted that 43 of the 59 Democrats in the Legislature voted to support the budget and fired away on Crist.

“Charlie Crist and his supporters are so desperate to hide his tax-increasing, debt-growing, tuition-raising record that they are attacking a budget that nearly three out of every four Democrats in the Legislature voted in favor of,” Matt Moon, a spokesman for Scott, said on Monday before using trial attorney John Morgan’s slogan against the new Democrat (Morgan is Crist’s former employer and one of his chief backers): “Charlie Crist and his allies find themselves in the extreme minority of their own party. So much for being ‘for the people.’”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (28)

Mary Healeyhealey2435@comcast.net
4:32PM OCT 27TH 2014
The rise of Rick Scott to his "billionaire-status" reaks of dis-honesty. There is absolutely no ethical road that leads anyone to this financial gain using ethical ways and means. It appears that Scott's ambition is clearly in gaining both wealth and power. Since his networking to acheive this goal makes him beholden to the "wealthy-few" there is absolutely no way that he will do anything that really enhances the lives of the working class. If he should win this up-coming election the average household will suffer. People need to spend time reading aobut his background and decide that in the long run, as imperfect as Charlie Crist may be; his heart is with the average person; he's a decent and good man that needs your vote.
Former Republican
1:30PM JUN 3RD 2014
We need to get this Scott character out of office. Anyone is better than that thief in Tallahassee.
Mark Fisher
12:51PM JUN 12TH 2014
"Thief?" That's pretty strong words friend. While Scott hasn't been perfect, his stewardship has been solid and his concern for the citizens is genuine. Only someone lost in an ideological hallucination could make such a statement. If you have a real criticism then make it. Make sure to have the courage of your convictions and actually sign your name to it though, because hiding behind a pseudonym shows you are embarrassed at expressing your views in public.
4:02PM JUN 3RD 2014
His opponent is a man who was first a Democrat, then a Republican, then an Independent and now a Democrat again. His opponent is the same guy who doubled tags and hunting/fishing licenses as Floridians lost their jobs, their homes, and their retirement. His opponent is the same man who has flip flopped not only in his party affiliation just to get elected, but the same man who flip flops on policies when it is convenient for him too.
Mary Healeyhealey2435@comcast.net
4:38PM OCT 27TH 2014
Thank God there are still some honest men left who are not afraid to put their principles above party-affiliation. Those who are"beholden" to a few wealthy men are unable to make these needed shifts as our culture evolves. Charlie Crist is a man that genuinely has respect for the average person; he is imperfect, as we all seem to be; however, he has not yet sold his integrity for gigantic masses of wealth and power. He needs our vote; and we need him in office.
Former Republican
5:55AM JUN 4TH 2014
Comments like this from desperate Tea Partiers is why I left the GOP. The only platform y'all have is being fanatically anti-Obama, and anti-Crist, instead of coming up with solutions and working with people that have different beliefs. Rick Scott, the Tea Party, the RPOF, and the GOP should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done to the party in the past 12 years. I voted Republican for years, but you can kiss my vote goodbye. Charlie Crist has my vote.
Mark Fisher
12:54PM JUN 12TH 2014
Alternatives have been given and pursued. Or have you failed to notice the scores of bills passed by the US House sitting under a layer of dust in Harry Reid's office?

Like all closet socialists you toss inflammatory rhetorical bombs that sound good to the ear but when tested and examined are found to be both bitter and poisonous. I love that you are so ashamed of your views that you can't use your own name.
8:17PM JUN 3RD 2014
Love him or hate him, Crist, no matter. I just cannot allow your statement to stand unchallenged. The Republican Party has "run" Florida for about 2 decades. It was a GOP run House and Senate that passed the increases in fees. Charlie signed them into law. Yea, blame him, but you have to add in the others involved. No one person carries the blame, but, one party does!
9:43AM JUN 3RD 2014
One thing Rick Scott did not do...hug Obama and bring Race To The Top, Common Core and the wholesale selling of the sovereignty and parental rights of Florida citizens. No, that was Charley. At least Rick Scott tried to do what he could do to slow down the RTTT and CCSS trains. The Legislature passed all the RTTT mandates into law and now we have to de-elect a bunch of them who are unable to do what they were hired to do, protect the interests of Floridians as a whole and not just Jeb Bush. The cult of Jeb will destroy the Republican party and the nation, if we do not stop it.
Former Republican
1:28PM JUN 3RD 2014
The Republican Party I used to vote for is no more. Reagan couldn't win a primary today in the Republican Party because he would be too liberal. They have become fanatical. I will not cast a vote for a party that their only platform is anti-Obama, anti-everyone that is not making millions of dollars a year, anti-same sex marriage etc. Back in the old days the parties worked together, but I blame the Tea Party for ruining the GOP and they will struggle in elections until they come back to the center.
4:04PM JUN 3RD 2014
For a "former republican" you sure can spout off those liberal attacks really, really well.
Former Republican
5:58AM JUN 4TH 2014
Actually, one of my favorite governors Jeb Bush agrees with me. He is the one who originally said Reagan couldn't win a primary in today's Republican Party. It pains me to say it because I am not a fan of either party in reality, but the Democrats are going to start to obliterate Republicans in elections unless the GOP moves to the center.
Tom Bryson
8:59AM JUN 3RD 2014
Gov. Charlie Crist is now Governor Scotts "leading Democratic challenger"? A few weeks ago Gov. Crist was the Democratic nominee.
A Different Bill
12:49PM JUN 3RD 2014
They got nothin'.
1:24PM JUN 3RD 2014
And you really think that Rick Scott is something special? Boy, have the standards of the Republican Party of Florida really dropped since all of this Tea Party madness.
4:06PM JUN 3RD 2014
Better than Crist who was first a Dem, then a Rep, then an Ind, and now back to a Dem again. Better than Crist who doubled tags and licensing fees as Floridians lost homes, jobs, and retirement savings. Better than Crist who got us into Common Core when bribed by the Federal government - which actually LOWERED our educational standards in this state; better than Crist who raised college tuition for already struggling Floridians.
6:28AM JUN 3RD 2014
The only thing that has devastating effects on education is Government and Rick Scott wants less of it and Charlie Crist wants more of it.
Mary Healeyhealey2435@comcast.net
4:47PM OCT 27TH 2014
AS an educator for over forty years it is clear that the refusal to deal with "poverty" and income-discrimination is the main reason our educational system fails. It perpetuates success for the "haves" and punishment for the "have-nots". Until we all are ready to make the necessary changes to allow for ALL people to have a chance at realizing their potential, our schools will continue to send the "have-nots" to our correctional system and our "haves" to positions of power which enables the continuation of this endless circle. It's not a mystery, nor is it hard to decipher; it just seems we as a people would rather not deal with it.
At least, Charlie Crist seems to have a heart for dealing with this very "unpopular situation we have created".
co nections at the highest levels
3:45PM JUN 3RD 2014
Could not help but notice you said in another blog that Larry Metz ws your State REp. You must be around Lake county. If so your school board just voted to renew a contract at Milestone Charter School owned and managed by:

The Rader Group
Ray Sansom
Vice President for Human Resources and Administration
Mr. Sansom has a B. S. Degree in Political Science from The Florida State University and a Master Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.
He was Principal of the Learning Academy of Santa Rosa, a 6-12 Drop-Out Prevention School in Santa Rosa County Florida. He also served as a Dean of Students at the Okaloosa Academy a Drop-out Prevention school for middle and high school students in Okaloosa County Florida.
Mr. Sansom also served as the Director of Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation for the Okaloosa School District from 2001-2008.

In case you wondered what ever happened to Ray Sansom former speaker of the Fl House with the help of Larry Metz and the Lake County group, he's running a charter school in Lake County.

That should not be a surprise to anyone who watches how these politicians ruin Florida and walk away from their crimes.
Mark Fisher
12:59PM JUN 12TH 2014
Another troll hiding behind a pseudonym making claims of crimes but offering neither facts to support or suggestions of what laws have been broken. How, pray tell, does opening a charter school make Sansom a law breaker? And I know Larry Metz and have found him to be intelligent, thoughtful and diligent in his work for us. And I'm not like you socialist types who work of talking points but actually dig into the law and real facts involved to inform myself. Are you too embarrassed or afraid of libel claims to use your real name?
Independent Floridian
11:06AM JUN 3RD 2014
Oh really? The government really had a devastating effect on your GOVERNMENT FUNDED PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION. You realize that if you go to any public school from kindergarten until your graduates degree that you are attending a tax dollar government funded school. We shouldn't expect much from a person with the name "Republican Conscience" though because we all know if it was up to them there would be no public schools and only people that can afford to pay thousands of dollars a semester could receive an education. This is why the educators are backing Charlie Crist.
Mary Healeyhealey2435@comcast.net
4:58PM OCT 27TH 2014
Thankfully there are some educators that realize the need to re-vamp the public school structure that will allow the "have-nots" to be educated at the same level as the "haves". Until the system puts the teacher, and not any administrator "in charge" of education,the fear of "losing one's job" will continue to make it impossible for anyone teacher to effect the changes that are so desperately needed to create a successful education for our average and poorer children. AS a country, because so much networking as well as power is still in the hands of so few; the circle of failure is repeated over and over from one generation to the other.
Charlie Crist cannot alone make these changes, but with enough support from all of us,a strong beginning can be made. To continue to reiterate the same old adages about our educational system is futile and does little for anyone. The "wealthy" children will be successfully educated; their parents run the schools, while their companies make the donations for whatever the schools need. Why not make all the schools only for those with lower-socio-economic means????????? This wpould at least unveil the dis-honesty found in the bureaucracy of our existing school system across our Nation>.
4:08PM JUN 3RD 2014
You mean Crist who took the bribe from Obama's department of education and accepted the yet unwritten common core standards that lowered Florida education standards on Math?

That former Democrat, former Republican, former Independent now Democrat again Crist?

The one who raised college tuition prices and doubled tag and licensing fees?
A Different Bill
12:47PM JUN 3RD 2014
Oh, really? Was it Scott or Crist who proposed the largest-ever education budget?

Hint: It wasn't Wind Sock Charlie.
Lifelong Floridian
1:21PM JUN 3RD 2014
If you actually knew what you were talking about you would realize that the Teachers of Florida have endorsed Charlie Crist. If you actually knew what you were talking about you would know that SCOTT'S BUDGET SPENDS $189 LESS PER-PUPIL THAN WHAT CHARLIE'S 2007 BUDGET SPENT. You would know that his priorities are helping his fat cat special interest buddies make a quick buck instead of doing what is right for Florida's children and future.Face it, Rick Scott is a liar that stole BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM SICK AND ELDERLY PEOPLE ON MEDICARE AND PLED THE 5TH 75 TIMES IN HIS DEPOSITION. Instead of listening to Fox News why don't you actually look up the video of your candidate on youtube pleading the 5th 75 times. Gov. Rick Skelator Scott's days are numbered in Tallahassee. Rick Scott just buys his way out of everything with STOLEN MONEY FROM THE TAXPAYERS. No matter how much Pink Slip Rick and his cronies want to buy another election, for how many millions he has spent in comparison to Crist, he should be winning by 30 points. Charlie Crist hasn't even started to spend money on ads yet that will expose that crook in the governors mansion. He is the least popular governor in the United States and all the sudden the RPOF are all for him. The Tea Partiers like you and Rick Scott have ruined the Republican Party and will be the reason the Democrats will continue to take the White House.
4:34PM JUN 3RD 2014
Teachers of Florida endorsed Crist? So what? Unions almost ALWAYS endorse the Democrat - even if he was a Democrat, then a Republican, then an Independent before defecting a party only to get elected. And that union endorsement has come under some fire due to Crist's own history as a REPUBLICAN governor - prior to his becoming Independent after losing the primary to Sen. Rubio and prior to his changing parties for the third time to run as Governor….again.

In studies showing the results of the money spent in education, Florida ranks SECOND among all the states and DC. Its not HOW MUCH is spent, it is HOW it is spent. While in 2007, Crist's per pupil spending was estimated at $12,000, Scott's at $9,000 per student is getting pretty darn good results wouldn't you say? Oh, I guess you wouldn't because those "results" don't bear out your argument against Scott, now do they?

And then of course, you bring up Medicare. If he committed fraud as you and all your Democrat friends like to bring up so much, why is he not in jail? hmmmm?

Pleading the fifth? Like Lois Lerner? Bet you defend her doing so right?

And as for "popularity", the least popular governor in the US is not Scott - its that Democrat from Rhode Island...
Lifelong Floridian
5:50AM JUN 4TH 2014
I guess in your small minded world it is impossible to change your opinion, but everyone should be entitled to a change in their political opinions. I know thats hard to think about when you are spoon fed what to believe by the Tea Party and Fox News, but the only thing that is constant in the world is change.
I am so sorry that I inconveniently brought up the fact that your candidate Rick Scott stole billions of dollars from Medicare, making Rick Scott the biggest Medicare fraud in AMERICAN HISTORY. It must be tough having to deny the facts when they are right in front of you like that. Pleading the fifth is a way of withholding information that will incriminate you. IF RICK SCOTT ISN'T A FRAUD LIKE YOU SEEM TO BELIEVE, THEN WHY DID HE HAVE TO PLEAD THE 5TH 75 TIMES IN HIS DEPOSITION TO PREVENT INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE FROM COMING TO LIGHT IN THE BIGGEST MEDICARE FRAUD DEPOSITION IN AMERICAN HISTORY!
And oh my mistake, I'll correct my former post. RICK SCOTT IS THE 2ND LEAST POPULAR GOVERNOR IN THE UNITED STATES.
1:02PM JUN 7TH 2014
Scott lowered the interest rate from 6.7% to 1.6% for teachers going into the DROP program during their last 5 years of service. This has affected a lot of us. Since he has hit my wallet, give me Crist any day over Scott.

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