Florida Gov. Rick Scott travels 643 miles to gloat over 40 poached Kentucky jobs

09/22/2015 10:33 PM

UPDATEDLEXINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott, R-Florida, traveled all the way from Tallahassee, Fla., to Lexington on Tuesday to tell gathered media that he’d successfully enticed 40 jobs to the sunshine state.

The announcement was sold to Kentucky media by Scott as a “choice” to either expand in the commonwealth or in Florida. Touting right-to-work, less regulations and lower taxes Scott said the choice was simple 1st Choice Aerospace which has businesses in both Florida and Kentucky.

“They chose Florida,” Scott said. “That means 40 families in Florida are going to have a great job, because Florida is a great place to do business.”

Scott failed to mention in his remarks to the press that several weeks ago recruiters in Florida delivered $160,000 in state and local tax breaks to 1st Choice in exchange for creating new jobs in the company’s already existing South Florida plant, according to the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times.

Scott, standing besides Chris Yeazel, the owner of 1st Choice Aerospace, said the announcement is not political and he has not spoken to Gov. Steve Beshear or Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin about his conquest.

“I’m after jobs,” Scott said.

The Republican Florida governor and former Kentuckian, Scott, said that he would be meeting with more business leaders on Wednesday as part of a two-day trip to Kentucky.

“I’m going to be talking to them about how do you expand? Either move or expand to Florida,” he said.

Yeazel said he “loves Kentucky, but in this instance we had to go with Florida,” because it gives the company “easier access to Europe and South America.”

With a strategic location, Yeazel said the expansion into the Florida facility makes sense, but there are still 43 jobs remaining in their Kentucky facility.

Still the “friendlier tax codes,” make it easier for 1st Choice to do business, Yeazel said.

On Wednesday, Gov. Steve Beshear, D-Kentucky, told Pure Politics that there are a number of factors that governor a businesses decision to grow and expand.

“1st Choice Aerospace, a company headquartered in Florida, chose to create 40 jobs in its home state in order to meet its customer needs there,” Beshear said. “That decision to create 40 jobs in Florida does not affect its operations in Kentucky.

“I congratulate the folks at 1st Choice Aerospace for the company’s growth and success, which, in the long run, will benefit its entire operation, especially its location here in Kentucky.”

Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes fired off at Scott over his claims in a statement sent on Tuesday.

“Despite what Gov. Scott claims, Kentucky jobs are not flowing to Florida, and I would put our pro-business climate up against the sunshine states any day,” Grimes said. “We have worked too hard to encourage job growth and lower our unemployment rate to let him jeopardize our middle class.”

Gov. Scott is no stranger to Kentucky — as CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Scott relocated the company from Louisville to Nashville, Tn. in the 1990’s criticizing Kentucky’s tax code.

In 1997, Scott resigned as CEO of the company amid one of the largest cases of Medicare fraud in the U.S. which resulted in a $1.7 billion settlement.

Video produced by Greg Pursifull

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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