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Gov. Scott's High Speed Rail Rejection An Economic Train Wreck

Thursday, February 17, 2011

If anything Gov. Rick Scott is consistent in making sure his ideological makeup doesn’t get its hair mussed no matter what the storm is swirling around him. This past Wednesday when he made a big deal out of turning down federal stimulus monies to build a high speed rail network between Orlando and Tampa he joined in with two other Governors who have chosen the same path to turn down the jobs that went with it: Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich and Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker. Gov. Walker as it turns out is dealing with another firestorm regarding an attempt to strip union bargaining rights from state and public employees which is another story.

Rick Scott ran an ad during his campaign promising from behind the wheel of a pickup truck the usual two part refrain all right wing conservative Republicans regurgitate in their run: making government smaller and cutting taxes. The “will create jobs” rejoinder uttered each time afterwards is almost a throwaway line. This was followed by a grin and a campaign slogan designed to burnish some kind of blue collar credential: “Let’s get to work.” That’s the entire breadth of his so called plans for Florida. His entire campaign could almost be a perfect laboratory study in a stunning lack of vision beyond those two goals.

Confirming this lack of insight for Florida's future is an Economic Research Group study commissioned by the non-partison U.S. Conference of Mayors showing the benefits of the $2.4B stimulus Scott just turned down: $2.9 billion per year in new business, including up to $1.7 billion per year in GRP growth and up to 27,500 jobs. Let me repeat that: 27,500 jobs. On top of that the study also pointed out one other critical feature to this federal stimulus package: […]HSR's projected larger flow of passengers will lead to increased tourism and business travel, generating additional spending at local hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Projections show that by 2035, HSR can annually add roughly $255 million in the Orlando area.

With Scott’s recent inaugural budget seeming to be more of a blueprint for cutting jobs to the tune of 8,800 public sector workers all one needs to do is add the 27,500 jobs that was projected from the stimulus money and you have a total of +35,000 plus jobs gone as a first year achievement for Mr. Scotts “vision for Florida that’s nothing more than an impending economic trainwreck for Florida taxpayers. Meteor Blades over at Daily Kos sums up what these GOP Governors are about perfectly:

Planning for the past is big with these Republican governors. Planning for the future, in their view, is apparently only relevant in Europe, Japan and China.
Already there isn’t enough sugar on the planet to sweeten the bitter taste of the tea these three Governors are brewing.