Rick Scott’s Policies Are Failing Floridians, And They’re Not Happy
Ahead of Florida’s first gubernatorial debate on Friday, Governor Rick Scott is on the hot seat.
From failing to expand Medicaid and opposing an increase to the minimum wage, to ignoring climate change as a central threat to his state, Scott has hurt the lives and livelihoods of millions of Floridians—many of whom are from communities of color. A new Center for American Progress Action Fund report details Scott’s failure to act on behalf of his state’s residents. Accompanying the report, a new survey shows how Floridians disagree with his harmful positions.
The CAP Action report highlights several ways that Gov. Scott is failing Floridians:
- Gov. Scott has opposed raising the minimum wage, even though 55 percent of Floridians support raising it to $10.10 per hour and a whopping 79 percent don’t think they could support their family on the current minimum wage. His opposition to raising the wage to $10.10 means that 1.7 million Floridians—including 357,000 African Americans and 536,000 Hispanics—are being denied fair wages. While Scott says efforts to raise the minimum wage make him “cringe,” workers are losing out on $2.1 billion in wages and Florida forgoes $1.3 billion in economic growth. Additionally, raising the minimum wage would save the state money. By putting more money into the pockets of working Floridians, 195,000 people would no longer need food stamps, saving the state $295.1 million each year.
- Gov. Scott also now refuses to expand access to health coverage for Floridians through Medicaid, despite the facts that Florida has the third-highest uninsured rate in the nation. Gov. Scott’s failure to act means 764,000 working Floridians fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, including 214,000 African Americans and 200,000 Hispanics. This failure is costing the state 63,000 jobs, $66 billion in additional federal funds, and $20 billion in Florida taxpayer money that is going to other states to fund their expanded Medicaid programs.
- Gov. Scott refuses to address climate change. Initially a climate denier, Gov. Scott now says he is “not a scientist,” a new talking point for conservatives who are trying to skirt the issue. This is despite the fact that Florida is one of the most at-risk states from the damaging effects of climate change and Florida voters are less likely to support a candidate who denies that man-made climate change is real. His failure to act means most of South Florida will be completely washed away by the end of the century, according to current forecasts, and risks $9 billion in lost tourism by 2025 and $40 billion by 2050. Hispanics in particular will feel the effects of climate change, since about half of the state’s Hispanic population lives in South Florida counties.
Floridians are recognizing these failures. By a 12-point margin in the latest survey, voters are less likely to vote to for Scott because of his position opposing a minimum wage increase. Voters are less likely to support Scott by an 11-point margin based on his refusal to expand Medicaid to cover the state’s 1 million low- and moderate-income Floridians. And by a 16-point margin, Florida voters are less likely to vote for a candidate — like Scott — who denies that man-made climate change is real.
BOTTOM LINE: Florida Governor Rick Scott’s policies on the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, and climate change are failing to create an economy that works for every Floridian, not just the wealthiest. Voters in the state disagree with these positions, and they are taking notice.