News Column

Gov. Rick Scott touts small-business growth during Lake visit

June 5, 2014

By Jayna Omaye, Orlando Sentinel

June 05--LEESBURG -- Gov. Rick Scott made a campaign stop in Lake County on Wednesday at Mathias Foodservice Equipment Company in an effort to promote small-business growth across the state.

"The backbone of jobs is small businesses," Scott said. "It's risky. It's hard. It's hard to get loans. It's hard to get people to invest in your company. So we've got to make this the best place for small businesses."

The Republican governor will continue his two-week campaign tour around the state to promote policies that encourage small business innovation, reduces taxes and regulations that impede jobs, and helps businesses expand to new markets.

Scott faulted Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor, for not investing in job creation during the appearance at the food-service and product-design company owned by Lake County School Board member Bill Mathias.

Mathias has endorsed Scott but was unable to be on hand for the visit because he is in Alaska.

"We're a natural for him to visit a typical small business," said Mathias, who said the governor's policies have supported him and his company. "It really is the small business that's going to turn the economy around. I think he recognizes that."

As part of the "Let's Keep Small Businesses Working Plan," Scott proposed to create a $10 million reward to a state private entity that solves Florida's most pressing public-sector issues, including water supply, transportation, infrastructure and medical advances in cancer and other diseases.

"We ought to have contests like that...for the big things that we have," Scott said, comparing the initiative to the $25,000 prize famed aviator Charles Lindbergh won for crossing the Atlantic in 1927. "I want to work with the Legislature to come up with some things."

Other components of Scott's plan include hosting annual business-plan startup competitions in conjunction with colleges and universities, reducing government fees on job creators and expediting the small-business permitting and licensing process.

Crist's campaign didn't return an email seeking comment on Scott's announcement, but he has accused Scott of overselling his job-creation platform.

"Rick Scott is asking for your vote based on his ability to create jobs in Florida," Crist's campaign website says. "But the hard truth is that Scott has repeatedly -- and deliberately -- rejected opportunities to bring jobs to our state."

Scott was joined in Leesburg by Lake County Commissioner Jimmy Conner; state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla; and state Reps. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, and Larry Metz, R-Yalaha.

Scott visited two other small businesses Wednesday, in Alachua and Ocala. He made stops Tuesday in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. or 352-742-5917


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Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)

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