Governor Scott’s Republican friends make runaway profits
By Roger Caldwell
There is an old proverb that says, “What is done in the dark, will eventually come out in the light.” Everyone in Florida knew from the very beginning that our governor was fined by the federal government for breaking the law. Everyone knew he would cheat after he bought the election, but Floridians voted for him anyway, because he is a Republican.
Republicans control the state, even though there are more Democrats registered on the voting rolls. From the very beginning of Governor Scott’s term, his agenda was to disenfranchise and misuse taxpayers’ hard earned money, and help the largest companies in the state be more profitable.
To understand corporate welfare and the misuse of Floridian’s taxes; it starts with Scott’s slush fund, which he calls his economic development agency, Enterprise Florida. Enterprise Florida receives 97 percent of its funding from taxpayers, but it is one of the most secretive agencies in the state. The agency has carte blanche on spending, and some of its questionable expenses have included $22,000 on Yankee luxury suits, $13,000 at San Diego Zoo, $30,000 a month on credit cards, thousands on airfare, renting luxury resorts and limousine services.
Floridians deserve accountability and transparency, but before Florida Crystals Corporate won a no-bid contract to farm sugar on state-owned land, Governor Scott made a trade mission with a portion financed by Enterprise Florida. Enterprise Florida is a partnership between business and government, but no one knows where the government money ends and the business money begins.
Florida Crystals Corporate donated $150,000 to a political committee that supports Scott’s re-election campaign and then received a no-bid contract. “The fact that Scott was taking a trip with sugar execs the month before the deal was announced really just proves that sugar gets what it wants.
It is probably the most egregious example of government for sale,” says Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, a nonprofit that supports environmental preservation.
In Tallahassee, an army of lobbyist gives lawmakers and our governor millions of dollars for their campaigns to protect their interest and profitability. Florida’s largest electric companies are charging customers a fee for a future construction of a new nuclear power plant that may not ever be built. Progress Energy, now known as Duke Energy has charged its customers more than $1.5 billion, for a nuclear fee, and the law allows the company to keep the money.
Our governor and our legislators enjoy keeping Floridians in the dark. The fewer questions the residents ask the more profits the large companies can make. There is no way that Floridians can understand who receives what from the state budget. From the budget it appears that Florida Enterprise only receives $18 million for its operating budget. But there is another $150 million in another line item for economic development, which they can allocate and spend.
Governor Scott and his team of Republicans are exploiting Floridians, and they tell us they are doing a great job. When the governor gives out no-bid contracts, and Enterprise Florida spends taxpayers’ hard earned money with no accountability, it is time to ask question and stop believing lies.