Yesterday was the first day of the 2014 regular legislative session in Tallahassee, kicked off by Rick Scott's rather personal - and cutting - state of the state address
, in which the Florida Governor made clear that he believes he has quite a bit to boast about going into his re-election campaign later this year. You could argue that he has the wind at his back —
With a projected $1.2 billion surplus, Scott wants to cut taxes and boost spending for education, child welfare investigators and Everglades restoration and springs protection projects.
But will the voters buy it?
They haven't so far, at least when you put Scott's name next to Charlie Crist's in a survey and ask them who they would rather have as their next governor. No doubt those numbers might change when the content of Scott's speech yesterday is transformed into slick television commercials contrasting the two men's economic performances as governor. Of course, Crist was battling a major recession when he was in charge, which might mitigate those comparisons, but "I disagree," Scott said yesterday. If he can convincingly throw enough razzle-dazzle around what the numbers say since he took over (and since he'll have the ability to shove those ads down our collective throats all summer long), you have to wonder.
As the Tampa Tribune
editorial board writes today,
"one can argue whether Scott deserves all the credit he claims in the state's economy," the editorial says. "But we find it impossible to believe that his policies did not play a role in the state's unemployment rate dropping from more than 11 percent, to 6.3 percent."
Meanwhile, in what has become an annual ritual, progressive groups held protest rallies around the state yesterday on the first day of the regular session in Tally. The Awake the State rally in Tampa's Ybor City wasn't nearly as robust as in previous years however, though the rhetoric was just as strong.
In other news, Hillsborough community activist Elizabeth Belche
r says she's going to challenge Victor Crist as he runs for reelection later this year. We're not certain of Belcher's chances, but if you're a fan of democracy you ought to be pleased, since Hillsborough Democrats haven't exactly been rushing to challenge the Republicans running for re-election on the board this year ... and what does the term "Beyond Sustainability" mean? Our Terrence Smith went to a conference over at Hillsborough Community College last week to get learn more