Governor Rick Scott says jobs are up, insists "no" to Amazon jobs is not political

2:03 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Gov. Rick Scott announces positive jobs numbers, but is facing questions about one jobs decision we learned about in the past 24 hours.

Scott announced new unemployment numbers at an event in Tampa on Friday morning.

For the second straight month, Florida is below the national average and now at 7.2 percent. That's the lowest it's been since September of 2008. 

But the governor is facing questions about one jobs decision we learned about in the past 24 hours. He declined a deal with Amazon.com to bring 2,500 jobs to the Sunshine State. 

In front of workers welding industrial equipment at Heat Pipe Technology in Tampa, Gov. Scott signed a bill into law he said would bring more jobs like those to Florida.

In part, this new law tells companies they won't have to pay sales tax on big manufacturing machinery they bring to Florida.

"For too long, Florida manufacturers have been at a disadvantage because they had to pay a tax that people in other states don't have to pay," Scott said.

"Now, by putting this money back in our manufacturers' pockets, they can hire more people, buy more equipment, do more research and development, do things like that to create more jobs."

But after the event, we wanted to know why Gov. Scott -- who has made bringing jobs to Florida his top priority -- turned down 2,500 jobs from Amazon.

The online retailer wanted incentives to open warehouses in Florida. That would mean they would have to collect sales taxes from Floridians.

Scott said no to the incentives, the warehouses, and the jobs.

Running for re-election next year, it's reasonable to think Scott doesn't want an opponent saying he raised taxes on Floridians by giving the green light to an online retailers to start collecting sales taxes.

The governor insists it's not about politics.

"My job is to make sure I do the right thing for the taxpayers of the state. And based on the opportunity that I had at the time, it didn't make sense," Scott said.

We asked Amazon for their take, and they declined to comment.

Gov. Scott said a deal with Amazon isn't dead, and he's willing to discuss issues with the company in the future, but the terms on the table would have to change.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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