Gov. Rick Scott is declaring a legislative victory despite the fact that the Legislature shot down most of his top priorities during the 2016 Session.
Scott spent Monday on a five-city swing as part of his “Million, Billion Jobs Victory Tour.” During stops in Orlando, St. Petersburg and Fort Myers, the Naples Republican talked about job growth and tax cuts. He also thanked lawmakers for their hard work during the 2016 Legislative Session, which ended Friday.
“We are headed in the right direction of our state,” Scott said.
Before the start of the annual 60-day Legislative Session, Scott called lawmakers to cut $1 billion in taxes and set aside $250 million for economic incentives to help lure employers to Florida.
Lawmakers, however, did not create a $250 million Enterprise Florida incentive fund, and slashed the proposed $1 billion tax cut package down to $129 million. The Legislature also didn’t act on a new Seminole Compact, which was a priority for the governor.
The tax cut package did include a permanent repeal of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment. Scott, who spoke at Storm Smart, a Fort Myers-based company that manufactures storm windows, said that cut will allow companies across the state to grow.
“This governor rocks, doesn’t he? The conservative fiscal policy we put in place … is what’s making Florida great right now,” said Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo. “It is clear that Florida will be the No. 1 place to live, to work and to raise a family.”
Naples Republican Sen. Garrett Richter said he was disappointed lawmakers didn’t approve the Enterprise Florida fund, but said he hopes his colleagues will return next year and tackle the program. Richter can’t run for re-election because of term limits.
While Scott acknowledged he didn’t get everything he wanted this session, he said he’s going to continue to push for policies that will help bring jobs to Florida.
“We have the money to make the right investments,” he said. “We had a very good session.”