Tallahassee, Florida - Gov. Rick Scott's mission to create jobs took him through rural counties in north Florida on Monday.
His first stop was in Gadsden County where he told elected leaders and business owners that every county is important in his effort to rebuild Florida's economy.
Gadsden County Commission Chairwoman Sherrie Taylor said a new law requiring counties to pay disputed Medicaid bills and declining property values are contributing to a $1.5 million budget shortfall for the county next year.
Taylor asked Scott what he could to help.
The governor said Florida is making progress with the unemployment rate dropping from above 11 percent to below eight percent. But he conceded it's not enough until every person who wants a job has a chance to get one.
Gov. Scott urged people at the business roundtable to join the state in its economic development efforts.
"Call on every company you can think of. Because every company out there is dealing with places where they have higher taxes than Florida, more regulation than Florida, litigation risks, things like that. They want to be here but they don't know how to get started."
Scott says he's directing the state Agency for Healthcare Administration to be flexible over the huge backlog of Medicaid bills owed by county governments across the state.
Counties face a bill of more than $300 million in disputed Medicaid bills dating back years. The bills piled up because counties argued the state's Medicaid billing system was flawed and they refused to pay.
Scott said at the roundtable he wants to make sure counties pay only legitimate bills. He invited county leaders to contact him directly with their concerns.
"If you have any questions, if you have any bills that you don't think are fair, call me directly because AHCA is not interested in certifying things that you don't owe because it's not fair to you. I don't want to pay bills that I don't owe and I know you don't want to pay bills that you don't owe."
Scott said representatives from the Agency for Healthcare Administration have already visited 64 of Florida's 67 counties to talk about the Medicaid billing dispute.
His series of business roundtables on Monday also included Calhoun, Jackson, Washington, Holmes and Liberty counties.