Jacksonville, FL - Florida Governor Rick Scott had only one thing to say about the response he received from the Department of Defense over his sequestration concerns:
Earlier this week, Scott had sent a letter to the President outlining his concerns about sequestration, including that it may delay the arrival of Navy ships here in Jacksonville or affect the Florida National Guard statewide. Friday night, Scott received a response from the Deputy Secretary of Defense detailing what the DOD knows about cuts so far.
Specifically in Jacksonville, the Navy is losing $135 million in funding for aircraft depot maintenance. There will also be cuts at nearby Camp Blanding as the Army scales back $7 million statewide. The letter further reaffirms that most civilian DOD employees will be furloughed for 22 days and concludes by mentioning defense contractors will also take a hit.
“They should have sat down and done their job, they shouldn’t have played politics because they’re playing politics with family’s lives in Florida,” Scott says.
He holds specifically the President responsible for the cuts, but says lawmakers are on the hook as well. He believes neither should get any pay until the sequester is ended.
“It’s infuriating that they’re just playing politics like this with jobs in our state,” he says.
But while politics continue to tie things up, Scott says he will do his best to defer the hits to Florida.
“We’re gunna do everything at the state level to take care of the military. We care about the military,” he says.
Scott plans to talk with lawmakers at all levels of government to continue to press for an end to the cuts. I specifically asked him whether there should be some legislative protections put in at the state level, with the session kicking off next week. He didn’t mention anything finite, but reiterated that he will do what he can to protect Florida families.
“We don’t need these cuts in Florida right now, when we’re working very diligently to turn our economy around,” he says.
Scott wants lawmakers to take a look at the job growth he says Florida has seen when figuring out the best direction to take the nation.