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Gov. Rick Scott during Sine Dine 2012.
Florida Matters: Newsmaker Gov. Rick Scott

On Florida Matters this week, Bobbie O'Brien talked with the state’s 45th governor about Florida Polytechnic, the Republican National Convention, and whether Florida is the most veteran-friendly state.

Five things we learned from our interview with Governor Scott:

1. That Scott thinks a 12th University “makes sense”

The governor has several reasons why he thinks creating a new university is a good idea. The funding was already allotted for the current USF Poly campus, it focuses state resources on STEM degrees, the Board of Governors had already approved it and “sometimes there’s a benefit from starting something from scratch.”

2. That Scott is worried about universities competing against each other

Prior to 2000, there were only two medical schools in the public university system, now there are six. Scott said the Board of Governors must remember that “we’re building a system, we’re not building 12 competitors.” In 2006, the Board of Governors commissioned the Pappas Report which cautioned against “mission creep” among other concerns with the university framework.

3. That Scott wants to “do business” at Republican National Convention.

Scott believes his biggest job during the four day convention is to “welcome business people who might open up jobs here.” The governor plans on “showcasing our state.” He said the selling points are: no personal income tax and he will promise a responsive state government “if you think a fee is unfair ... if a regulation doesn’t make sense ... if a permit is taking too long.”

4. That Scott plans accountability for tax incentives

The governor said he reorganized the state’s economic development and tax incentive program last year. He promises that now “we measure every deal” – looking at how much is given in state tax dollars versus how much is returned in tax revenues.

Yet, he said he is willing to look at and learn from the recent Pew Center report: Evidence Counts that ranks Florida among the worse states in tracking tax incentives. Evidence Counts – Evaluating State Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth finds that 25 states and Florida are trailing and not adequately tracking the tax money and promised jobs.

5. That Scott claims the title as most veteran friendly state

Scott meets with base commanders every 90 days to make sure Florida is the most military friendly state because it means jobs and he cares about the military, having served in the Navy and his dad served in the 82nd Airborne.

And as the military members retire most are staying in Florida the veteran population is 1,650,000 not including the 1 million military family members. “We want jobs in our state, we a great education system in our state and to have quality people. The people coming out of the military are really great people, I want them to be in Florida.”

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