Florida’s GOP dominated legislature, along with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, has already decided that it would be prudent to pay for a corporate tax break by slashing the state’s unemployment insurance program, even though one of Scott’s aides admitted that the tax break likely wouldn’t create jobs. And evidently thinking that Florida’s problem was not enough corporate welfare, the Sunshine State’s legislature was back in action last week, doling out more corporate tax breaks, while closing a $2 billion budget hole via cuts to higher education and public sector layoffs:
The 60-day legislative session that ended Friday was largely dominated by small reforms on a few pocketbook proposals. Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led legislature honored their pledge not to raise taxes, an article of faith for them in an election year. But to fill a $2 billion budget gap, they cut $300 million from universities and colleges, $1 billion from state worker pensions, and made another round of deep spending cuts in prisons, health care and social services…The $70 billion budget eliminates an estimated 4,400 state jobs and continues to rely on a three percent reduction in state worker salaries.
The budget includes a grab-bag of giveaways to various industries, including aviation companies, real estate brokers, and fruit packinghouses. It also increases the size to which a business needs to grow to qualify for the state’s corporate income tax. All told, the tax cuts will cost $2.5 billion over the next three years.
Scott has promised that these tax cuts will help jobs “grow like crazy.” However, that confidence belies the fact that Scott has been walking back his job creation promises since coming into office. He even flatly denied promising to create 700,000 jobs, in addition to those created by natural economic growth, despite video evidence showing that he most certainly did.