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As Rick Scott's 2nd legislative session approaches, Tally Rickpublican

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A month before the start of the 2012 legislative session, editorial boards across the state are ramping up their focus on the failed policies of Rick Scott and the Rickpublicans. Seven editorials, from across the state, slammed the Governor and the Republican-led Legislature on everything from the 2012 budget to the Governor’s obsession with big business.

Round-up of editorials below:

Gov. Rick Scott: Ties His Own Hands
[Lakeland Ledger]
“Gov. Rick Scott told The Ledger's Editorial Board on Wednesday that he and the Florida Legislature will face a $1.7 billion to $2 billion budget deficit when the 2012 legislative session starts at the beginning of the new year. As a requirement of the state constitution, by the end of the session, a budget must be produced that erases that deficit and is balanced… Scott's dogmatic belief that any additional spending will deflate employment leaves him unable to reach out and spend wisely to achieve the benefits that he says will improve the state. This hands-tied conundrum surfaced in his answers to a number of questions during his Editorial Board interview.”

Perfect Storm? [Gainesville Sun] “In his Speaking Out published elsewhere on these pages today, Gov. Rick Scott writes as though some natural disaster — some ‘perfect storm’ — is responsible for Florida's education funding shortfall. That's nonsense. Scott and the Florida Legislature are entirely responsible for slashing school, college and university budgets by hundreds of millions of dollars. And they fully intend to continue slashing in the upcoming session. It is a lack of political will, not Mother Nature, that is to blame.”

Don't Throw Good Money After Bad [St. Pete Times] “Smart investors don't throw good money after bad. But that's just what the Republican-led Legislature is being asked to do by Gov. Rick Scott's Department of Economic Opportunity. Despite a series of bookkeeping gaffes in recent weeks and less than impressive performance by predecessor agencies, DEO is seeking 250 percent more money in 2012-13 to woo businesses to Florida or to help those alreadyhere to expand. Last month, members of the Senate budget subcommittee that oversees the agency's spending said all the right things, but the proof will come in the action. If Republicans are true to their mantra of making government operate more like a business, they won't even consider doubling down until they have a full accounting of the money the agency and its predecessors have already spent.”

Secret Deals for Jobs Corrode Public Trust [St. Pete Times] “While Gov. Rick Scott lobbies for even more money for secretive economic incentive deals, Tampa Bay residents remain in the dark about another one unfolding here. State, Pinellas County and St. Petersburg officials have negotiated a deal to provide more than $1 million in tax refund incentives to an unnamed global Fortune 500 conglomerate that's interested in moving some kind of operation to St. Petersburg with a promise to create well-paying jobs… Under state law, all officials have disclosed to taxpayers about the international company — which is looking at other locations outside Florida, by the way — is that it provides vaguely worded "shared services." On that basis alone, the public is expected to blindly accept a commitment to hand over $840,000 in state tax revenue and another $105,000 each from St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.”

Great Scott! Government Isn't Always Like a Business [Palm Beach Post] “His business fixation also is Gov. Scott's biggest weakness. A dozen times during his recent one-hour meeting with ThePalm Beach Post Editorial Board, the governor compared being CEO of a state to being CEO of a company. From issue to issue, Gov. Scott said, ‘It's no different than what you do in business’ or ‘It's exactly what business has to do’ or "We see the exact same thing in business.’ In other words, government is like a business. Right? No. Business exists to make a profit. Government exists to provide services. Government should deliver those services as effectively and efficiently as possible, and phase out those that aren't working, but profit isn't the motive.”

Hit the Books, Governor [Sun Sentinel] “This one comes from the ‘Be Careful What You Ask For’ department. Gov. Rick Scott tossed out a lot of questions at the state's 11 public universities. Now he's gotten volumesback in terms of answers… What has concerned us has been the governor's less than stalwart study habits. When it comes to talking up higher education reforms, we don't think the governor has sufficiently done his homework. As we said before, we were disappointed during an editorial board meeting in September when the governor showed signs of frustration in backing off a discussion on professorial tenure… Elected leaders, especially governors, have to do more than brainstorm. They need to put forth concrete, vetted proposals. Trust us on this, governor: A four-year term will run out of time quicker than you think.”

Senate President's Lies: Haridopolos Should Resign [Lakeland Ledger] “It's amazing how candid some politicians can become if they know they're risking perjury when they answer tough questions falsely. They feel free to say whatever is convenient to them when they're talking to reporters or to the general public, but they occasionally make a180-degree turn if they're first required to raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth. The latest example is the president of the Florida Senate, Mike Haridopolos… Under oath, Haridopolos admitted the obvious — that he and other Republican leaders had signed a settlement agreement in which Greer agreed to resign in return for a $124,000 severance payment from the party in 2010… The problem was that Haridopolos had previously denied having signed — or even seen — the settlement agreement."