Gov. Rick Scott has indicated he might pass on $7.5 billion that would funnel to Florida's schools, roads and other projects under President Obama's jobs proposal.
Many Treasure Coast state delegates said Scott is right to tread carefully on the decision, at the very least.
Scott, who's already declined federal dollars for bringing high-speed rail to the state, is awaiting word whether Florida will need to chip in future dollars to support the jobs, roads, bridges and other initiatives Obama would target through federal aid.
The White House said Obama's American Jobs Act could create or save 63,000 jobs, including $1.67 billion supporting educators and first responders, $2.7 billion for construction workers to refurbish vacant or foreclosed buildings and homes, $288 million for community colleges, $1.58 billion for infrastructure improvements and $1.28 billion to modernize public schools.
The plan also calls for $1.5 trillion of new taxes in a 10-year deal to reduce the deficit by more than $3 trillion. The deal would cut Medicare by $248 billion and Medicaid by $72 billion, add taxes for millionaires and cut back certain tax breaks for families making more than $250,000.
Here is a look at how Treasure Coast state legislators viewed accepting federal jobs money:
"We need to see where the money is going to come from and what strings are attached, but I can tell you that I'm skeptical of another stimulus package or anything like that."
— Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach
"I haven't been in agreement with Gov. Scott on monies he turned back to the federal government, ranging from high speed to health-care dollars. But I believe the citizens of Florida will welcome any help we can receive from the federal government, especially in this particular program because it goes so directly toward getting people back to work."
— Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton
"I'd support the governor in rejecting 'second stimulus' funds. All states should push back on federal spending with additional borrowed dollars. I think there are some pieces in there — such as anything he's proposing that straightens out the tax credit, that I would support. But I think it's lopsided and geared toward tax increases and additional stimulus spending."
— Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart
"It depends what (the bill) looks like if it passes the entire process. ... If you break this up, and pass it in small chunks, you can really be effective and get some tremendous bipartisan results. Putting things in a 'pass-it-all' omnibus stimulus package, you're not truly addressing the problems."
— Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart
"The president says he's going to give a tax credit break to businessmen and reduce their payroll tax deductions. Any businessman would welcome that with open arms. But I think you need to be cautious. Now that tax reduction that's going to help businesses and stimulate the jobs, where is that money going to be paid back? That money goes to pay for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and many other things. I'm still skeptical on how we're going to afford this. I'm saying, proceed with caution."— Rep. Tom Goodson, R-CocoaWhile some of the proposals outlined in (Obama's) speech may have merit, the majority of it sounded like stimulus part two. The bottom line is that in order to regain the confidence and trust of American consumers and business leaders, we must restore stability to our nation's struggling economy.."— Sen. President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island"I wouldn't do anything to encourage Washington to fund any new programs with money they don't have. I do not think we should accept jobs money that is funded with further deficit spending. In this case, I think we should take a pass."— Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart— Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lakes, could not be reached for comment.
The Associated Press and Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.
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