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It still probably hasn't filtered down to the people that voted to elect Rick Scott as their Governor, but Republicans in the state legislature are feeling very queasy right now.
Rick Scott, the conservative Republican billionaire who plucked the governor’s job from the party establishment in November with $73 million of his own money and the backing of the Tea Party, vowed during his campaign to run the troubled state like a corporate chief executive (which he was) and not a politician (which he proudly says he is not). And now it has become a problem, some of his fellow Republicans say. “The governor doesn’t understand there is a State Constitution and that we have three branches of government,” said State Senator Mike Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey who upset Mr. Scott with rough handling of his staff during a testy committee hearing. “They are talking about the attitude that he is still the C.E.O. of his former health care corporation, and that is not going to work in this state, in Tallahassee, in my district. The people believe in three branches of government.”
Republican lawmakers in Florida were hoping for a smoother transition. Instead, they say, they got top-down management from a political novice. With the Legislature convening on Tuesday for a potentially arduous two-month session that is bound to usher in major cuts in spending and jobs and radical changes to education, pensions, unemployment benefits and Medicaid, the governor will be tested on a broader, more public scale. Florida faces an estimated $3.6 billion budget shortfall this year and has a stubborn 12 percent unemployment rate. “I think there have been some understandable growing pains because government doesn’t function like a corporation,” said Speaker Dean Cannon, a Republican from central Florida, taking a more measured tone than Mr. Fasano. “I like Governor Scott a lot as a person and a leader,” Mr. Cannon said. “I think he’s going through the understandable adjustment of the transition from campaigning to governance.”
In his first two months in office, the governor has irritated the State Senate’s powerful Budget Committee chairman by selling two state jets without legislative permission, a constitutional no-no. The governor wanted the sale done quickly (he uses his own plane), and he succeeded.
Republicans were pissed when he turned down the High Speed Rail money from the Feds, but what he's proposing now is insane.
Even some of Mr. Scott’s closest allies acknowledge that he will need to downshift. After all, the real power in Florida rests with the Legislature, which now has Republican supermajorities in both chambers that can override the governor’s veto. “He has created some sore spots that will have to heal,” said State Representative Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City and one of Mr. Scott’s earliest supporters. “You want to come in and clean house,” he said. “But there is a learning curve.” Mr. Scott is single-minded in his plans to shake up Florida and create jobs. He wants to create a business-friendly environment, chop up the bureaucracy, peel away regulations and hand out $1.7 billion in tax cuts for corporations and property owners in the first year of his budget. ]
Privatizing Medicaid and prisons is also high on the agenda. In his budget proposal, Mr. Scott is seeking to eliminate more than 8,500 state jobs, including in the Corrections and Health Departments. His budget for the state’s already lean public schools is $1.75 billion less than this year’s, mostly because federal stimulus money dried up.
And he wants to cut costs in Florida’s pension fund by requiring more than 600,000 government workers, including police officers, teachers, firefighters, judges and retirees, to contribute 5 percent to their retirement. New employees would use plans similar to a 401(k). This has angered state workers, who have gone without a general raise since 2006. They plan large demonstrations around Florida on Tuesday.
I wonder if some police officers might respond to his heavy handedness by pulling over Scott and writing a few traffic tickets when warranted? Will he throw them in their faces because he is King? I'm waiting for Scott to demand that all his minions chant Hail Caesar, Hail Caesar, Hail Scott, Hail Scott when he enters a room.