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Gov. Scott: "I haven't changed my mind at all" on in-state tuition for DREAMers

Gov. Rick Scott spoke to reporters after a Fort Lauderdale event today where he honored veterans at the National Guard Armory. Here is a partial transcript of the press gaggle, including about SB1400, the bill that would provide in-state tuition to DREAMers that is headed for a vote later this week:

Q: “SB1400 you are supportive of it?”

A: “Absolutely.”

Q: “When did that change? When did you have that change of mind as far as supporting it?”

A: “I haven’t changed my mind at all. I want low tuition for all Floridians. These are the things that the bill does. For individuals that grew up in our state they deserve the same tuition as individuals that, everybody else and all their peers. On top of that -- and this is something Charlie Crist opposed. He opposed in-state tuition for children of immigrants but on top of that it reduces the 15 percent differential and the inflationary change in tuition every year. How few people income goes up 15 [percent] plus inflation every year? And that’s what’s happened. They have caused tuition to be too expensive so lower-income middle-income families can’t afford their tuition and Charlie Crist is the one who signed those bills.”

Q: “In terms of the budget it seems like this year lawmakers included millions of dollars in hometown projects. Do you think they overreached on that?”

Q: “I haven’t seen all the parts of the budget. So I will review it like I’ve done every year. I have a review to make sure that it is good for taxpayers.”

Q: “They didn’t include as much in economic incentives and tourism as you had wanted. How do you feel about that?”

A: “I want to build jobs. Tourists add a lot of jobs. Every 85 tourists is another job in this state. So we need to continue to invest in Visit Florida. It’s worked, we are getting a good return on our investment so I want to continue to invest in that. Our projects for economic incentives -- these were all competitive projects -- we are competing with other states and other countries. I’m focused on getting a return for taxpayers but they work. [Enterprise Florida President] Gary Swoope and his team has done a great job.”

Scott was then asked to comment about the deaths at VA hospitals:

A: “Veterans have died in our VA facilities...we’ve heard they have been injured. I’ve asked for information from the VA facilities. They have not come forward. We need more transparency, we need more accountability. I have asked for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to go do inspections. They have been turned away. ....”

Q: “You said you had always been in favor of in-state tuition for DREAMers. I did a quick search before I came here and I couldn’t find comments you made about that before this year. Can you be a little more specific about your support before this year?”

A: “It’s the right thing to do. As you know I’ve always focused on lower tuition for all Floridians and whether it’s those that grew up here they’re not getting in-state tuition, those that are seeing this 15% plus inflationary increase we need to get tuition lower so all of our students -- low-income middle-income everybody -- can afford college and university.”

Q: “So you’ve always supported in-state tuition for DREAMers throughout your tenure as Governor?”

A: “I have always supported lower tuition for all Floridians.”

Q: “Governor are you going to sign the 75 mile per hour speed limit bill?”

A: “I haven’t seen the bill yet. I will review it.”