PolitiFact: Scott's Promises Worth Watching
With Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State Address and the start of the 2015 Florida Legislative Session both taking place this past Tuesday, the promises coming out of Tallahassee are going under PolitiFact Florida's microscope.
Josh Gillin said they're keeping an eye on a number of promises Scott made, both on the campaign trail and in his address:
Taxes - Among the tax cuts Scott is asking for is one that reduces the state's communications services sales tax.
According to PolitiFact Florida, the tax "is a somewhat complex combination of a state levy on wireless phone and cable service to both residents and businesses, a tax on gross receipts for services, a direct-to-home satellite service tax and a portion imposed locally, which varies from county to county. Combined, the tax can top 16 percent of a consumer's bill."
"That's a pretty high tax compared to the national average," Gillin said. "He wants to reduce (the state portion) by 3.6 percent, which is a pretty big chunk - it'll save the average family, by some estimates, about $3.58 a month."
Education - Scott wants to raise Florida's per pupil spending for K-12 education to an all-time high of $7,176. That's about $50 more than the record set in the 2007-2008 school year by predecessor Charlie Crist, who Scott beat in this past November's election.
"But considering that when (Scott) came into office, he cut it down $1.3 billion, he's pretty much playing catch-up here," Gillin said. "When we factor in inflation from (2007-2008), it is really not keeping up, so it's not as high as it sounds."
Environment - With the passage of Amendment 1 - which Scott never took a position on, Gillin pointed out - the governor is hoping to use some of the state funds provided by that amendment.
"He wants to secure $50 million for springs restoration," Gillin said. "He asked for $50 million last year and only got $30 million from the Legislature."
And that, Gillin pointed out, is why PolitiFact Florida is currently rating these policies as "In the Works" - and shows how much a governor depends on other lawmakers to secure his legacy.
"All these things that Scott is asking for are just requests," Gillin added. "They're not what he's actually going to get - the Legislature actually decides that."