Florida's Rick Scott Has A Doctrine: Steal From The Poor And Give To The Rich
Rick Scott and his all-Republican state legislature-- Floridians, you asked for it; now you'll have to live with it for a while, perhaps a long while-- are all over the map, destroying public education, the state's economic future, the morale of state workers, and public healthcare. It may not be easy, but he's not going to lose out being named the worst governor in history to punks like Kasich, Walker and Snyder, let alone LePage.
Scott and Florida Republicans are currently trying to enact a sweeping Medicaid reform bill that would give HMOs and other private health care companies unprecedented control over the government health care program for the poor. Among the companies that stand to benefit from the bill is Solantic, a chain of urgent-care clinics aimed at providing emergency services to walk-in customers. The Florida governor founded Solantic in 2001, only a few years after he resigned as the CEO of hospital giant Columbia/HCA amid a massive Medicare fraud scandal. In January, he transferred his $62 million stake in Solantic to his wife, Ann Scott, a homemaker involved in various charitable organizations.
And it isn't as though Florida voters didn't know this when they provided him with the near majority he needed (2,619,335 votes) to win in November. Any voter who didn't know, didn't want to know. That simple. He's doing everything he promised to do last fall-- turn Florida into an economic and social backwater that will take decades to clean up. Yesterday the editorial board of the Tampa Tribune grappled with another aspect of Rick Scott's political psychosis that almost half the voters decided to overlook: his affinity for Big Business, at the expense of ordinary working families.
While Gov. Rick Scott never fails to mention Florida beaches when extolling the state's virtues to business interests, it appears he is reluctant to challenge polluters who foul our shores and hurt our economy.
As the Tribune's Rob Shaw found, Scott doesn't seem interested in pursuing legal action against BP for the damage caused Florida by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year.
Then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid to serve as a special counsel on the spill, directing him to develop a legal strategy that would enable Florida to recover some of its losses.
But Yerrid's tenure ended last year, and he has yet to hear from Scott.
So the money the state is rightfully due-- which could be used to fund key state initiatives, including environmental programs Scott is neglecting-- is left in BP's pockets.
...[Florida] could collect from BP $2 billion to $2.5 billion, which would represent lost "sales taxes, bed taxes, reduced property values and environmental damage."
The money is available. A $20 billion account has been established to reimburse victims of the spill. About $4 billion has been allocated.
But Scott, a proponent of offshore drilling who has even refused to rule out allowing drilling close to Florida's shores, has not responded to Yerrid's findings.
His stance is baffling, particularly given that Florida faces a $3.75 billion budget shortfall, which is forcing severe cuts in education and other state efforts. Important environmental programs, such as Florida Forever and Everglades restoration, have been virtually abandoned.
Yet Scott, who has made clear he doesn't like litigation, apparently believes giant BP, one of the world's most profitable companies, merits his tender regard. His priority should be the people of Florida, not solely the corporations he constantly champions, thinking only they can get the state back on solid economic footing.
It is yet another disturbing decision by a governor who seems unwilling to allow facts-- or the welfare of Florida-- to affect his rigid outlook on issues.