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Florida Taxpayers Paid For Controversial Ad In California

Gage Skidmore
Florida Gov. Rick Scott will be visiting California soon. A controversial job-recruitment radio spot has preceded him.

Let’s lure jobs from California to Florida. That’s the crux of a controversial radio ad airing in Los Angeles and San Francisco in advance of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s trip there next week for a “trade mission.”

But how that ad was paid for has raised some eyebrows.

Enterprise Florida, the state’s mostly taxpayer funded economic development agency, footed the bill. This comes on the heel of a difficult legislative session where its request for $250 million in economic incentive money was denied.

The argument of the one-minute ad is clear: California’s heavily debated decision to increase its minimum wage to $15 by 2022 is a bad idea. And because of it, things are going to be hard for Californians, so:

... Woman #2: It’s time to leave California. Woman #1: You got that right. Woman #2: This place is beautiful, but you just can’t afford to live here. Announcer: Ready to leave California? Go to Florida instead – no state income tax and Gov. Scott has cut regulations. Now Florida is adding 1 million jobs, not losing them...

Florida’s minimum wage is $8.05 for un-tipped positions.

Florida Taxpayers Paid For Controversial Ad In California
Listen to the ad.

People like Florida state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, say this kind of ad is an inappropriate use of public funds.

“We can have debates about min wage, how high it should be [or the] competitive advantage of different states,” said Rodriguez, “but to run an ad that looks like a campaign ad, it’s just in very, very poor taste.”

Gov. Scott, a Republican, has not been shy about trying to poach jobs from other states, often states run by Democrats.

Scott’s office did not return a request for comment, but a spokesperson from California Gov, Jerry Brown’s office responded with the following comment:

We can understand why he’s coming back -- there’s lots to do and plenty to learn. In fact, since his last 2,000-mile cross-country jaunt, California has added twice as many jobs as Florida, while paying down debt, building a robust rainy day fund and taking bold action on issues Gov. Scott continues to ignore, like climate change and poverty. 

Scott's trip to California is slated to begin on Sunday.