While making a two-hour appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Gov. Rick Scott spoke about a host of issues — most notably job creation and drug testing state welfare applicants. The former CEO of Columbia/HCA and Solantic made clear his belief that running a state should be similar to running a business — with less regulation, drug testing for employees and consolidated departments.
“What we’ve got to do at the federal level, is we’ve got to do what I’ve done,” Scott said during the first half of the early morning interview. “When I walked in, we were going to have somewhere between a $3.4 and 3.7 billion budget deficit, and now we’re predicted to have a $1.2 billion budget surplus.”
When asked where he found those cut, Scott said, “It’s always synergies, it’s always people. We consolidated agencies, things like that. It’s what you do with big companies.”
Defending his stance on drug testing welfare applicants, Scott seemed confident that Florida citizens were very supportive of the measure:
You know it’s interesting … the public completely gets it. I gave a speech yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce down in Miami; when I went through the things we’ve accomplished, it was almost a standing ovation when I said we’re drug screening welfare recipients. Let’s think about why. That money is for the benefit of children. So if there’s two parents — one uses drugs, one doesn’t. You can go give the money to the one that doesn’t use drugs, but do you want to give the money to the parent that uses drugs? The public gets it, all right?
When asked how he would get involved with a businessman who was concerned about federal regulations hurting his business, Scott said it was all about building relationships.
“You sit down with Lisa Jackson, at EPA, you sit down with the Army Corps of Engineers. And you say, ‘These are the things impacting our state,’” he said. “One of my jobs is to build relationships with everybody I can at the cabinet level in D.C. [and] have good people in my agencies in Florida — the Department of Environmental Protection, our Department of Transportation — that get along with people at the federal level, and say, ‘How can we do a win-win?’ That’s how you’re successful in business, and that’s my background.”
Scott went on to say that he recently spoke with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and that he imply wants to “build a relationship” in order to get the numeric nutrient criteria and Everglades litigation “behind us.”