Stateline Story

Florida Governor Revises Goal of 700,000 New Jobs

Florida Governor Rick Scott has moved the goalposts on a key promise he made during his campaign for the state's top office last year: to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years.

Scott, a Republican, repeatedly vowed during his campaign that his policies would help create the new jobs on top of the million that Florida economists were already projecting during the seven-year period in question. Now, however, Scott is revising his goal, saying he promised only a total of 700,000 new jobs - not the 1.7 million total that would be reached by combining his initiatives with previously projected growth.

PolitiFact Florida revealed the governor's revision last week , giving Scott a "full flop" for changing how his new jobs total should be calculated. The fact-checking website included video evidence of the governor saying, during his campaign, that his jobs goal would come on top of already projected growth. "Our plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs," the governor said last year, "and that plan is on top of what normal growth would be."

But Scott no longer frames his goal that way.  When an Associated Press reporter reminded the governor this year that his jobs promise came on top of projected growth, Scott said that was "not true."  "I don't know who said that," Scott told the reporter, according to PolitiFact. "I have no idea."

Scott is facing sharp criticism in the Florida press for his reversal, but said in a statement on Friday (October 7) that his promise of 700,000 new jobs has not changed "regardless of what the economy might otherwise gain or lose." "Floridians will judge me not on what an economist in Tallahassee predicts, but on actual job growth each month," the governor said. "Those are the numbers I will be held accountable for and that's what I remain focused on."

Critics, however, point out that without including projected growth in his jobs target, Scott is actually promising to create 300,000 fewer jobs than were expected anyway over seven years.