If Corcoran runs for governor, as expected, he will need an issue to set him apart from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary. Immigration could be that issue. Putnam must be noticing. He recently accused Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum of wanting to make Florida a “sanctuary state,” a claim PolitiFact called “Half True.”
Though the governor said Florida has “come back even stronger” from Hurricane Irma, he said nothing about increased storm preparedness and response. He did not mention the property insurance crisis that Irma has made worse. And, of course, he did not mention climate change and rising seas that make hurricanes more powerful and storm surge more damaging.
And his call for “historic” education spending depends on raising local property taxes, in most cases by more than property owners would save from lower vehicle registration fees.
The session opened amid new revelations about what critics call Tallahassee’s “culture of sex” — harassment or consensual. With the capital’s image so bad, you’d hope the Legislature and the governor could forget about campaigning long enough to worry about real priorities.
Scott did mention his two trips to Puerto Rico to “help in any way I could” and how Florida should be “the most welcoming state” for Hurricane Maria refugees from that island. They could be a big factor in this year’s elections. Scott did not mention that the administration of his “friend,” President Trump, has done a terrible job of restoring power to Puerto Rico.
Scott continued to portray himself as the savior of Florida’s economy. He noted the 1.5 million jobs created since he took office after the worst of the Great Recession had passed and the Obama Recovery was about to begin. You can’t beat timing.
If Scott gave a campaign speech disguised as a session-opening address, so did House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes.
We also didn’t hear about the governor’s demand that all nursing homes have generators. Fourteen patients died after a Hollywood facility lost power after Irma. Now the mostly for-profit nursing home industry wants taxpayers to give it $50 million to make needed safety improvements.
Scott wants to ban state agencies from doing business with Venezuela, though there appears to be no evidence of any such business. Almost in passing, he said he wants $53 million to combat opioid abuse, with half coming from the federal government. The $53 million is nowhere close to what experts say the state needs.