TALLAHASSEE -- When the 2014 legislative session began, Senate and House leaders focused on a five-point “work plan.”
Cut taxes. Support the troops. Make government more efficient. Improve schools. Protect the vulnerable.
But House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, left off the most obvious priority: protect Gov. Rick Scott, who faces a tough re-election fight.
It was part of the plan all along. A defeat in November would be a shattering blow to Florida Republicans.
When the session ended late Friday, legislative leaders shamelessly celebrated their success at bolstering Scott’s prospects as they put a punctuation mark on an election-year session that lays the groundwork for the upcoming campaign.
“Everything he wanted going into this session, he got,” Weatherford said. “I have every reason to believe this will jump-start him into the election cycle. It’s going to be a really successful year for him going forward.”
Scott’s abbreviated session agenda was designed to attract maximum popular appeal: a $400 million rollback of auto tag fees, more money for education and a freeze on college tuition.
He got all three, and more.