Florida Gov. Rick Scott believes his state is turning the corner on attracting new business and creating jobs, even though the unemployment rate still hovers around 10.7 percent, considerably higher than the national average.
Nonetheless, that is still better than the state was doing last year at this time, thanks to the addition of 87,200 private sector jobs since the first of the year, Scott said in an interview Tuesday with Miami’s WIOD news radio.
“We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said, emphasizing that 900,000 Floridians who want to work are still unemployed.
Scott said people are “engaged and a lot more optimistic” about the state’s economy, and efforts to attract new employers, than they were a year ago.
“We don’t have an income tax and we’re getting rid of the business tax,” he said. “This is the place to be.”
Asked about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s victory in the state’s Straw Poll Saturday, Scott said he was not surprised at the Georgia businessman’s showing.
Noting that it takes a lot more than being a governor to get noticed, he said Cain put in the time in Florida and connected with Republican voters from all over the state.
“People are looking for something new,” Scott said, adding his background was similar to Cain's, as both started in business and had little campaign funds when they sought public office.
He said Cain “did a great job in the debate” in Florida last week and scored more points with GOP supporters because he “hung around and talked to people” before the Straw Poll.
The governor also told WIOD that he’s taking a close look at gambling expansion proposals in the state to bring in more money.
“I don’t want our state budget to be completely dependent on gambling,” he said, pointing to problems in Nevada because the state budget there is heavily dependent on the up downs of the gambling industry.
But he added: “It is something we have to look at very seriously.”
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