JACKSONVILLE – A man shouted “Let’s get to work!” as Gov. Rick Scott stepped up to a microphone at a car dealership on Monday, and the governor quickly reminded him that things have changed since 2010.
“Now we’re going to do ‘Let’s keep working.’ Let’s practice,” Scott said as he lead the crowd in chanting his new slogan – the first of eight times he and other speakers prompted the chant.
Now that the Legislature’s business is over, Scott is turning his focus on winning a second term. The event began a week of campaigning with a focus on $500 million in tax cuts Scott and the Legislature are making this year, including $400 million in motor vehicle registration fees that were raised under then Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking his old job with as a Democrat.
“We can never forget this tax on motor vehicles was raised 54 percent by? Charlie Crist!” Scott said. “Boo, Charlie Crist. He raised these taxes on you.”
Crist, meanwhile, campaigned in Miami and pointed out that the budget that passed Friday will force local governments to raise property taxes by $400 million to pay for schools.
Crist spokesman Kevin Cate said Scott is “trying to reboot his campaign by misleading about a budget that raises property taxes by $400 million and only spends 7 percent of new revenues on K-12 education. His campaign started with negative ads about six months ago, and these fraudulent attacks are nothing new – the same old politics that people hate.”
Scott isn’t known for being a dynamic speaker, and he relied on letting others speak for his record during much of the event. Scott only spoke for about 9 minutes of the 32-minute event while 10 other people gave brief speeches, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Congressman Ander Crenshaw and state, local and business officials.
Scott did touch on other themes voters can expect to hear leading up to November’s election. He talked about growing up poor and joining the Navy so he could pay for his college education.
He also criticized Crist for not supporting in-state university tuition for immigrants brought to the state illegally as minors – a position Scott was also against before this year – and for signing a bill into law that allows the state Board of Governors to approve tuition hikes up to 15 percent a year.
Scott was well-received by supporters.
“That’s so cool!” Jessi Higgins, 22, said as she looked at a “Let’s Keep Working” campaign sign that Scott signed for her.
“What he’s doing for our economy is wonderful,” said Higgins.