GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott took aim at New York’s two most prominent Democrats in a speech to the New York State Republican Party’s annual gala—crediting their policies with sending businesses and citizens pouring into the Sunshine State.
The Republican governor kicked off his speech to the gathering at the Times Square Sheraton with the remark that he “never thought I’d be speaking to a Republican group in New York.” He then struck on the recurring theme of his address: negatively comparing the Empire State’s business climate to that of Florida, and asserting the latter had profited from the former
“A lot of things New York is doing is great for me, and for our economy. Your governor is outstanding for our economy. Your mayor couldn’t be better for our economy,” he said. “Think of how many New Yorkers are coming to our state.”
The former for-profit hospital operated highlighted the straitened circumstances of the Florida economy when he assumed office in 2011, and and its $4 billion budget deficit.He credited the subsequent successive years of job growth to his program of slashing taxes and—more importantly—regulations on business.
“I don’t think your governor’s done that, right?” he said, asserting that his policies had swelled the state’s coffers and enabled it to invest in higher education and transportation. “What’s happened with us is you spend your dollars in our state, you move to our state and we get more jobs.”
“Let’s look at where Florida is today and where New York is,” he continued.
He then rattled off a battery of figures: Florida’s job growth rate of more than three percent compared to New York’s 1.7 percent; New York’s highest in the nation per capita tax burden contrasted with Florida’s second lowest; Florida’s roughly $20 billion state debt in contrast to New York’s more than $60 billion; New York’s $60 billion Medicaid program next to to Florida’s $23 billion—and, of course, Florida’s population of 20.6 million to New York’s 19.75.
“I know that you feel like you’re getting a lot out of that, right?” he said. “But everything we’ve done, you can do.”
Speaking to reporters afterward, Scott dispensed his recommendations to New Yorkers: cut restrictions and taxes on the private sector, restrain public spending—and put Republicans in office
“When I talk to business people, they’re tired of the taxes, they’re tired of the regulations, they’re tired of the difficulty in getting permits, they’re just tired of how difficult it is to do business here,” Scott said. “Governor Cuomo is helpful to me, and de Blasio’s helpful to me, because people are getting tired of it.”
“If you elect somebody who’s focused on creating a great economy, you can solve a lot of problems,” he continued.
The mayor and governor’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment.