June 16, 2017

Fla. Gov. Scott visiting CT to poach businesses

Fla. Gov. Scott at a recent press conference touting a new business economic development fund.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is visiting Connecticut next week on a poaching expedition, but he won't be hunting wild game.

Instead the conservative Republican said he's leading an economic development expedition to the Nutmeg State to try to convince Connecticut companies to move their operations to Florida.

In an announcement, Scott said his visit is being spurred by the Sunshine State's recent adoption of an $85 million Job Growth Grant Fund. He said he's also trying to take advantage of Connecticut's continued fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty.

"The business environment in Connecticut simply cannot compete with everything Florida has to offer," Scott said. "That is why I am leading an economic development mission to Connecticut to share this message firsthand with job creators and site selectors next week."

This isn't Scott's first trip to Connecticut. In 2015, he visited the Nutmeg State on a similar mission, following the General Assembly's decision that year to enact another major tax increase, which led to public backlash by some of the state's largest employers.

Scott, who has had public political spats with Malloy on past occasions, touted Florida's business climate.

"By working with the Florida Legislature, over the past six and a half years we have cut more than $6.7 billion in taxes, reduced 4,800 burdensome regulations and made important investments to help create opportunities across Florida for future generations," he said. "With more than 1.35 million new jobs, an unemployment rate at a nearly 10-year low and a job growth rate that has exceeded the nation's for more than five consecutive years, there is no better place to grow a business than Florida."

In a written statement, Malloy spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said, "It's no wonder that Governor Scott would look to Connecticut and be envious of what we have here. We foster a high quality of life, schools that are among the best in the nation, an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable workforce, and we're home to some of the best employers in the world.

"The truth is, no amount of money or effort will make up for the fact that Gov Scott is leading his state in the wrong direction. We are happy to host Mr Scott to show him a better way to serve his state, but if he's expecting anyone in Connecticut to buy what he's selling, he's better off saving his taxpayers the cost of the trip and staying home."

Scott's visit comes less than two weeks after Connecticut ended its legislative session without passing a two-year budget, which is facing a projected $5 billion deficit. Hartford health insurer Aetna also recently announced it is looking for a new home for its corporate headquarters, possibly in New York City.

In a bit of good news for Connecticut, employers boosted their payrolls by 6,700 jobs in May, keeping the unemployment steady at 4.9 percent, new labor data shows.

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