Rick Scott Doesn’t Believe in Fair Wages

Rick Scott seems to believe that $7.93 an hour is a livable wage.

By refusing to raise the minimum wage, even though most Floridians say they support doing just that, Rick Scott is doubling down on his policy to give corporate handouts to big businesses so that they, in turn, will presumably create more jobs. We know that this policy doesn’t work, and it’s time that Rick Scott understands the needs of Floridians who work hard every day but still can’t make ends meet.

Raising the minimum wage has a simple economic benefit: more money in the pockets of Floridians means more money that goes back into the economy. But for Rick Scott and his bankrolling right-wing special interest groups, if raising the minimum wage means less money in their pockets, then it’s bad for Florida.

Rick Scott's Top Ten Dirtiest Deeds

The Scott Administration has been plagued by pay-to-play accusations and cronyism, including awarding lucrative state contracts to his political supporters, and pushing for legislation and policies that benefit his and his donors’ financial interests.

Here are some of his greatest hits! 

1. Killed High Speed Rail

All Aboard Florida: Rick Scott rejected federal funding for high-speed rail, which would have created tens of thousands of jobs, connected major cities, and reduced air pollution and traffic congestion. Scott lied and said the project would have cost taxpayers $1 billion in overrun costs. This year it was revealed his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, who was formerly employed by All Aboard Florida, helped negotiate a sweetheart passenger rail deal for his former employer. The private project has been partly funded by taxpayer dollars. Read More...

2. Not So Blind Trust

Blind Trust: Scott is the only elected using a blind trust to shield his assets. He claims it’s to prevent a conflict of interest. However, recent reports suggest Scott’s blind trust is anything but blind. According to the Miami Herald, SEC filings show Scott has approved some transactions. The same report details instances in which his decisions favored companies he was invested in. Even more disturbing however, are the assets contained in his portfolio. Records show Scott has or has had a stake in oil and gas development in the state, including the Sabal Trail pipeline. Read more…


3. Fast-tracked dangerous fracked gas pipeline

Cartoon Source

Sabal Trail Pipeline: Rick Scott signed a bill fast-tracking the Sabal Trail Pipeline, a pipeline that will carry explosive fracked methane through 13 counties in Florida. As of December 2013, Scott’s blind trust had a $53,000 stake in Spectra Energy, the company chosen by FPL to build the project. Read more...


4. Donors include CEO of Private Prison Company


Prison Privatization: Rick Scott pushed for and supported prison privatization efforts in Florida, which could primarily benefit companies that have donated hundreds of thousands to his campaign and the Republican Party of Florida. Earlier this year, Scott attended a fundraiser at the home of the CEO of the GEO Group, the second-largest private prison company in the world. Rick Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work Committee” has received at least $365,000 from Geo and related companies. Read more...

5. Costly Mandated Drug Testing

Drug Testing & Solantic: Rick Scott used his position to push through legislation requiring federal employees and welfare recipients to undergo mandatory drug test. The policy was only stopped when courts ruled that the policy was unconstitutional, this was after costing taxpayers nearly $400,000 in legal fees. Scott’s family had a majority stake in Solantic, the company that could have potentially profited from Scott’s policies. Read more...

6. Tax Dollars Spent on "Job Creation"...and Lobster Dinners

Enterprise Florida: Enterprise Florida, the Scott Administration’s private-public economic development agency, was caught spending taxpayer dollars on lavish expenditures, including “thousands of dollars spent at steak houses, seafood restaurants and lavish hotels”. Scott has doled out millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to big companies through the agency, in exchange for promises of job creation that haven’t materialized. Read more...

7. State Medicaid Contracts Awarded to Top Donor

Medicaid Contracts & Mike Fernandez: Companies partly owned by Mike Fernandez, a South Florida health-care executive who’s contributed at least $1.4 million to Rick Scott since 2010, won Medicaid contracts worth potentially billions of dollars. Fernandez later became Scott’s campaign Finance Director before resigning in protest over accusations of anti-Hispanic comments made by one of Scott’s campaign staffers. Two other companies AmeriGroup and Humana who donated over $800,000 have collectively won 9 contracts. Read More...

8. Sweetheart Deal for Insurance Company

Citizens Insurance Policy Transfers: A company that contributed $110,000 to Rick Scott’s re-election effort received a controversial $52 million “sweetheart” deal with Citizens Insurance, Florida’s state-run insurance company. Policyholders may wind up with less reliable coverage and higher rates after three years than they would have if they stayed with Citizens. Read more..

9. Went on Secret Hunting Trips Paid for By Big Sugar

King Ranch: Rick Scott and key Republican leaders went on a trip to King Ranch, one of the state's larger citrus and sugar cane growers. The secret trip was paid for and attended by Big Sugar and their lobbyists. A month later a King Ranch Executive was appointed to the South FL. Water Management District, a powerful board that will oversee the Everglade's restoration project. This month, it was revealed that a huge development deal for Big Sugar has been put on the fast track. Read more...

10. Was Against Tax-funded Rowing Center. What Changed?


Sarasota Rowing Center: Rick Scott vetoed state money for a Sarasota rowing center—until political contributions started rolling in from developers who would benefit from the project. Over the last two years, Scott has allowed $10 million in taxpayer money to flow to the rowing center. Read more...


Don't forget to download and print out a #ShadyRick hand sanitizer to "Keep Your Hands Clean of Dirty Politics". Fits most 8 oz. bottles. 



Advocates Celebrate Passage of Earned Sick Time; Too Bad it Can’t be Enforced

Carlos Smith, Orange County DEC Chair, Stephanie Porta, Executive Director of Organize Now, Anna Eskamani, Regional Manager at FL Planned Parenthood PAC, and local Orlando residents without Earned Sick Time benefits, held a press conference to demand an overturn of the “kill shot” legislation that Rick Scott signed, which preempted local communities from being able to provide Earned Sick Time benefits to working families.


“If voters had been given a fair shake we would have passed Earned Sick Time benefits in 2012 and today our community would be healthier and our economy would be stronger,” Porta said. “But the struggle will continue until the voice of voters is heard and hardworking families have the same opportunity to care for their loved ones that the politicians and lobbyists do today.” 


The event took place on the second anniversary of the Orange County Commission’s decision to keep a sick time referendum off the ballot until this year’s primary election, so that Scott and his allies could pass a state law preempting it. This August, Orange County residents voted 64% in favor of the sick leave measure. Unfortunately, it will not be implemented due to the Governor and the GOP’s intervention.

The conspiracy to block Earned Sick Time was revealed in a texting scandal involving Orange County commissioners, GOP officials, and lobbyists that were fighting the measure. In one exchange, Orange County GOP Chair Lew Oliver texted Commissioner Ted Edwards that he wanted "at least one good faith straight face test reason to at least delay it long enough to keep it off the ballot in November. After that, the Legislature can deliver the kill shot."

Rick Scott and his allies in Tallahassee did indeed deliver the kill shot in the form of, HB 655, which prohibits local governments from requiring businesses to provide employee benefits, including sick time. Scott and the GOP have received almost a million dollars from special interests and businesses who were opposed to the measure.

"On August 26th, election day in Orange County, 64% of voters who approved the Earned Sick Tick referendum were told by Rick Scott to sit down and shut up,” said Carlos Smith, Chair of the Orange County DEC. “They were told their vote didn’t count. 255,000 workers in Orange County could have access to earned sick time right now, but Rick Scott refused to let them have it. We need a Governor who has the courage to stand up to big business, repeal this preemption of local control, and work with the legislature to establish a commonsense approach to Earned Sick Time in Florida. 

One of those workers is Inetra Pickard, who did not have sick time benefits when she was told by her manager that she had to choose between taking her sick daughter to work or get fired. She chose her daughter and was subsequently let go.

“I don’t think any parent should have to make the decision between being a good parent or being a good employee,” said Pickard in a statement. “We should have policies in place to ensure we can be both. I truly believe that I would still have a job if I had Earned Sick Time.”


Leaders Expose Rick Scott's Failed Job Record - Activists Demand Changes

Representative Victor Torres, Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida Vice President, John Cortes, and Regional Manager at Florida Planned Parenthood PAC, Anna Eskamani held a press conference Thursday Morning at the Osceola Courthouse highlighting Scott’s “Working” Tour duplicity.

The event was one of a series of protests following Labor Day. In response to the annual “State of Working Florida” report released by FIU’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, leaders wished to address the Scott Administration’s four year failure to substantiate its jobs promise and financial implications Floridians have faced as a result of that failure.

“The people in Central Florida who are working full time, struggling on minimum wage, don’t have the money to make campaign donations,” said Representative Victor Rodriguez. “Rick Scott has forgotten that his first responsibility is to the people, not the companies in his investment portfolio.”

Scott has repeatedly ignored or refused to support initiatives like raising the minimum and the Paycheck Fairness Act.  

The legislators and activists noted that the overwhelming consensus of data shows that the wage gap continues to increase in the state and that the minimum wage falls well below the projected living wage. They also noted that it is often minorities and women who have felt that brunt of Scott’s failed job policies. 

“Despite often being the primary breadwinners, women on average, earn almost ten thousand dollars less than their male counterparts,” said Anna Eskamani, Regional Manager at Florida Planned Parenthood PAC. “Florida women deserve better, they're families are counting on it.”


Orlando Leaders Tell Rick Scott ‘Don’t Cheat’

Voting rights activists echo Holder’s warning that Scott Administration may try to rig system

(Orlando, FL) – Senator Darren Soto, Senator Geraldine Thompson, and Carlos Smith, Chair of the Orange County DEC, joined local voting rights advocates today to denounce the Scott Administration’s voter suppression tactics and let the Governor know that efforts to prevent Floridians from voting will not be tolerated.

The speakers echoed Attorney General Eric Holder’s stern warning that the agency will be ‘carefully monitoring’ voter access in the state because Florida has ‘repeatedly added barriers to voting and redistricted access to the polls’.

“Since the founding of our country, voting has been a dear and fundamental American right, but one that was denied, either in law or in practice, to too many Americans for too long,” said Senator Geraldine Thompson. Unfortunately, Rick Scott’s record on voting has been one of obstacle and delay. All voters ought to be outraged by these attacks on one of our most basic rights."

The speakers spoke out against many of these politically motivated tactics, including a 2011 law that cut early voting days in half, which created long lines and delays of up to six hours or more for voters to cast their ballots. According the Orlando Sentinel, the law, since changed, kept more than 200,000 Floridians from voting.

The following year, the Scott Administration announced a voter roll purge of supposed non-citizens. In the end, the purge turned out to be wildly inaccurate, cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, and unfairly targeted Latinos and African-Americans. Over 80 percent of those on the first purge lists were people of color and more than 6 in 10 were Hispanic.

"As Governor, Rick Scott is entrusted with ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected, not just those that agree with him," said Carlos Smith. “He certainly shouldn’t be abusing his power by disenfranchising voters.”

Protestors warned that Scott and his administration have and will continue efforts to create barriers to voting, including an aborted attempt at a second voter purge, a directive from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, limiting drop off locations for absentee ballots, as well as the refusal to allow early voting at University of Florida.

“With voting rights consistently under siege in our state, it is critical for Floridians to stand strong in support of their constitutional right to vote and for reasonable access to the polls, said Senator Darren Soto.”

Scott Had Financial Stake in Fracked Gas Pipeline - Activists Say Florida is Not for Sale

Carlos Smith, Chair of the Orange County DEC, and local environmentalists held a press conference on Friday, July 25th, denouncing Governor Rick Scott’s financial ties to the Sabal Trail pipeline, which will carry volatile fracked gas near cities and ecologically sensitive areas.

For the second time this year, it was uncovered that Rick Scott has a stake in a company with hazardous environmental plans in Florida. A recent investigation revealed that as of December 2013, Scott’s blind trust had $53,000 worth of in Spectra Energy, the company chosen by FPL to build a dangerous pipeline from Georgia to south of Orlando. Scott’s portfolio also included several investments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in companies tied to other gas pipeline interests throughout the state

Last month it was reported that Scott had a $135,000 stake in Schlumberger Ltd, a firm with ties to illegal fracking operations near the Everglades and fresh water aquifers in Collier County.

“From denying federal money for high-speed rail and instead pushing for a well-connected private rail project, to privatizing prison operations, to denying health care to working families. Time and time again we’ve seen Rick Scott sacrifice the needs of Floridians for his special interest friends, said Carlos Smith, Chair of the Orange County DEC. “And now we see he’s doing the same thing with air and water.”

The controversial pipeline will cut through 13 counties in Florida and run above the Floridan Aquifer, one of the state’s major sources of drinking water. It will carry methane gas from fracking operations, which is highly volatile and explosive.

The speakers warned of Spectra’s dismal safety record, including a $15 million fine for discharging highly toxic PCBs at 89 sites along another gas pipeline running from Texas to New Jersey. Since 2006, Spectra has been responsible for almost $9 million in property damage.

Environmentalists called on Scott to instead harness Florida’s rich renewable energy sources, like solar, and take advantage of the clean energy boom, which is far outpacing the fossil fuel industry in job creation.

“We’re opposed to the expanded reliance on natural gas, as it only serves to feed the destructive effects of fracking, which have destroyed drinking water resources in entire communities, said Marjorie Holt, President of the Central Florida Sierra Club. “The sunshine state should instead expand energy efficiency measures and solar power capacity rather than increase it’s dependence on fracked natural gas.”

But, with the influence that the utility companies have on the Scott administration and his allies in the legislature, it is unlikely we will see any energy reforms soon.

Case in point, at this week’s Florida Public Service Commission hearings on energy efficiency, utility monopolies argued for less efficiency programs and more power plants, while successfully blocking solar power proponents from participating. All five members of the PSC were appointed by Scott, who, who has received at least $1 million in campaign contributions from both FPL and Progress/Duke Energy.

Activist Actor Mark Ruffalo gives Shout-Out to Florida for All & Support for Renewable Energy


Democratic Leaders Target Rick Scott for His Anti-Latino Policies

Representatives Ricardo Rangel and Victor Torres joined Orange County DEC, Carlos Smith and community activists at the Osceola Courthouse today. After an increase in publicity tours aimed at Latinos in central Florida by Rick Scott, local leaders responded emphatically. The message to the governor was three months of political pandering and ads with Scott speaking broken Spanish could not erase three years of anti-Latino policy. Leaders blasted Scott for his encouragement of Arizona-style immigration laws, vetoes of bills designed to help Dreamers get driver’s licenses, and cuts to the Bright Futures Scholarship, which disproportionately affect minorities. 

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