Florida leaders intent on punishing Floridians

The odds are clearly against congressional passage of the Americans Jobs Act, but even if it were to pass, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his allies are already inclined to reject efforts to help the state’s struggling economy.

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.”

I’m sure Dean Cannon can offer a brilliant explanation on why he “gets it,” and why spending less money and forcing more workers into unemployment will be good for Florida’s economy.

Indeed, as Marie Diamond noted, under Scott’s gubernatorial administration, “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.”

According to a state-by-state analysis prepared by the Obama administration, the American Jobs Act would direct more than $7.5 billion to Florida in job-creating public investments, and support more than 60,000 in-state public-sector jobs, including teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

But Rick Scott, leading a state with a 10.7% unemployment rate, would rather not accept federal assistance — which may not pass anyway — preferring to move forward with plans for more layoffs.

Between this and some of Scott’s other recent failures, I’m beginning to think Floridians elected a governor who just doesn’t like them. Maybe electing a criminal to be the chief executive of a large state wasn’t such a good idea after all.