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After Promising To Focus On Jobs, Gov. Rick Scott Signals He’ll Reject Billions Of Dollars From Obama Jobs Plan

By Marie Diamond on September 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

"After Promising To Focus On Jobs, Gov. Rick Scott Signals He’ll Reject Billions Of Dollars From Obama Jobs Plan"

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Top economic analysts have weighed in with positive reviews of President Obama’s recently unveiled jobs plan to spur job creation. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, predicted that Obama’s “American Jobs Act” will likely add 1.9 million jobs and grow the economy by 2 percent. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute reported that it would boost employment by around 4.3 million jobs, with 2.6 million jobs coming from new initiatives alone.

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and other GOP legislators in the state are strongly indicating they will reject billions in federal aid that could be used to create jobs in Florida:

Gov. Rick Scott and top Florida Republicans are sending early signals they could reject the billions in federal aid that could flow to the state under President Barack Obama’s jobs proposal.

Florida has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. But Scott and GOP legislative leaders said the plan outlined by President Barack Obama was too similar to the nearly $800 billion stimulus package that was approved by Congress back in 2009.

“It sounds like President Obama still doesn’t get it,” House Speaker Dean Cannon said Friday. “The answer to the current economic problems is not spending more money.”[...]

A state-by-state breakdown of the president’s plan shows that Florida could stand to receive more than $7.5 billion for schools, roads and other projects. The White House estimates that the funds under the plan would support more than 60,000 jobs in Florida, including those held by teachers, cops and firefighters.

Scott’s insistence on putting ideology over policies that would put Floridians back to work is especially disconcerting given how often he has insisted that his focus is job creation. His campaign mantras were “Let’s get to work!” and “jobs, jobs, jobs.” However, the Orlando Sentinel reports that recently he’s backed off his earlier lofty goals to create 700,000 jobs in addition to the 1 million jobs Florida is expected to generate as part of the state’s growth. Dodging his earlier pledge, Scott now says he deserves credit toward his total for all jobs created in Florida since he took office in January.

Under Scott, 1,700 state workers have been laid off and at least 2,500 more layoffs are expected. Deep education cuts will cost many teachers and school employees their jobs. Scott also rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that supporters say would have created 24,000 jobs.

Scott’s likely refusal to accept federal money for job creation parallels his refusal to accept millions from the Affordable Care Act that would help seniors, children, and the disabled. Scott has chronically low approval ratings since many Floridians are protesting that he has “not fulfilled campaign promises to create jobs since he rejected federal money for high speed rail and health care.”

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