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Florida Gov. Rick Scott renewed his opposition to a federally-funded high-speed rail line yesterday, rejecting a proposal to shift responsibility to run the line from the state to a group of cities.
And now a fellow Republican is accusing Gov. Scott of violating the state constitution and breaking the law to squash the project. The St. Petersburg Times reports:
“I believe that he exceeded his executive authority and in a very strong sense we have a constitutional crisis on our hands,” [State Sen. Thad] Altman said.
Senate Republican leader Andy Gardiner acknowledged there are concerns about the “parameters” of the governor’s use of his executive power. He did not reject the possibility that a fellow caucus member would have a legitimate basis for suing the Republican governor.
Altman noted that the Legislature voted to accept the federal money and build high-speed rail in a special session.
“We have a law on the books,” he said, and quoted the portion of the Florida Constitution that reads: “The Governor shall take care that the laws of Florida are faithfully executed.”
“The governor has completely ignored that,” Altman said.
State Sen. Altman also said to the Tampa Tribune: “I’m a conservative Republican and a strict constitutionalist. I want to make sure our constitution is in place.”
Altman is not a rogue Florida Republican. Several Florida GOPers are upset with the governor for throwing away 24,000 jobs.
That’s because infrastructure investments haven’t been and don’t have to be partisan issues.
A rational believer in limited government also understands the need for some government. It’s long been understood across the ideological spectrum that infrastructure investment is unquestionably a proper place for government, because essential roads, bridges, airports and trains simply involve too much up-front cost for a private company to afford alone.
Furthermore, as many conservatives claim to support, the President’s high-speed rail vision is based on public-private partnerships. And in Florida, private companies that would run the system have expressed the willingness to absorb any cost overruns to protect state taxpayers.
Yet instead of embracing a bipartisan, pubic-private partnership to create jobs, Gov. Scott relies on a hack report from a right-wing libertarian outfit to justify what appears to be violating the law and the state constitution, sacrificing jobs to appease a bizarre notion of ideological purity.
Meanwhile, neither Gov. Scott, his fellow right-wing rail opponents WI Gov. Scott Walker, OH Gov. John Kasich and NJ Gov. Chris Christie, or the conservative Republicans in the U.S. Congress, have offered any plan or idea to create jobs.
Yet they will go to extreme lengths to destroy jobs, whether it’s throwing away federal funding, or making draconian cuts instead of asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
But to break the law and violate a state constitution? You gotta really hate jobs to take it that far.
Job creation is one of those issues where folks say, “nobody is against creating jobs.” I’m beginning to revisit that notion.