In the face of the new revenue numbers, Gov. Rick Scott's office on Wednesday put on a full-court press in an attempt to persuade a reluctant Legislature to accept his $3 billion agreement with the Seminole Tribe.
Jeff Woodburn, the governor's gaming policy director, urged the Senate Regulated Industries Committee to adopt the seven-year deal to guarantee the money, and suggested that the governor was willing to wait out an agreement with lawmakers, who must ratify the deal.
"He is going to take the time he needs to get the best deal for the state of Florida and this is the best deal for Florida,'' Woodburn said during a workshop on the proposal.
Reached later by reporters, Gov. Rick Scott said that he did his part to agree to a deal but it was now up to the Legislature to ratify it.
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told reporters after the meeting that the projected decline in revenue "certainly got the governor's attention" and his statements show he is ready to rely on the compact to finance his tax cuts.
"His involvement in this process is necessary if this is going to become a reality' Bradley said. "As revenue projections go down, it certainly does ratchet up pressure as to whether we need these dollars in order to provide basic services to the people of the state of Florida."
Scott, however, has not made it clear whether he would accept a compact that is less than $3 billion in new revenue for the state. Jim Allen, CEO of gaming operations for the Seminole Tribe, said that the governor is clearly committed to a $3 billion guarantee over seven years, an amount unprecedented in any tribal compact "in the history of the world."