Scribbles from Gov. Rick Scott's visit to the Department of Transportation this morning:
1.) Scott could appoint at least three more Supreme Court justices under House Speaker Dean Cannon's plan to overhaul the state's highest court.
Asked about that this morning during his visit to the Department of Transportation, Scott chose to focus on another aspect: "I heard about that this morning. I understand that the real value of that is we could accelerate some of the cases and things like that. So I'm going to look at it."
Cannon's proposal would be a constitutional amendment that would not need Scott's approval.
2.) It took Scott a minute to realize why three times as many TV cameras and microphones were in front of him this morning. "What are you all up here for? Oh, cause the session starts."
3.) Scott asked reporters if they'd come to his State of the State speech scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. "That will be a lot of fun," he said. "It's my first State of the State address. I got to practice a little bit, but we ought to do a good job tomorrow night."
4.) Asked for a preview of the speech, here's what he said:
"I'm going to talk about a lot of things I have been talking about. The budget, making sure we continue to focus on what taxpayers and citizens elected us to do: watch how we spend every dollar, make sure that we give money back to taxpayers, make sure we prioritize things, make sure the education system is for the benefit of children not for special interests. So those are generally the things I'm going to talk about."
5.) Democratic activists Jon Ausman fired one of the two questions Scott took from DOT employees. Ausman said Florida taxes were lower than any state in the Southeast or among the 30 biggest states in the country, yet had higher unemployment than all of those states. Ausman asked Scott to "rectify" his plan to cut state jobs and benefits.
Scott said 1.1 million Floridians had no jobs and, therefore, no benefits.
"If you look historically and look at the numbers, the states with the lowest taxes grow the fastest. It's clear,"
Scott said. "States that are a right-to-work state grow the fastest. It's absolutely clear. Those are the things that have an impact."
6.) Scott said he saw a study last week (we're checking to see where it came from) that showed the average government worker earns $9,000 more than the average private sector employee.
"It doesn't mean the study is right. There are so many studies that come out," Scott said. "But if you just think about it on the private side, if you're a taxpayer, almost no taxpayer has a pension plan anymore. Very few, because the private companies couldn't compete.
"Ninety-five percent of all Americans shop at Wal-mart at least once a year. When those Americans go shop there, they don't say, 'Gosh, I'm going to pay for that product because they have the best pension plan, or the best health care insurance or the nicest boss. They go based on price.
"As taxpayers and as consumers, we go to price."
7.) Scott said his relationship with Legislature is not any rockier than he anticipated from the campaign trail. (Our story here about Scott's agenda and how he'll massage it through the House and Senate.)
"In life what I've tried to do is try do what I believe were the logical things, the right things and make good choices," Scott said today. "So that's what I do.
"I'll sit down with members of the Legislature and explain why I believe the way I do and try to be as persuasive as I can."
Posted by Michael C Bender