TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Taking his quest to lure jobs from other states up another notch, Gov. Rick Scott got Florida to start airing radio ads blasting California's decision to raise the minimum wage.
Scott announced Monday that the state's economic development agency will use taxpayer money to pay for spots that will run on Los Angeles and San Francisco radio stations ahead of a trade mission Scott is taking next week to the Golden State.
The radio ads, paid by Enterprise Florida, contend that a new law that gradually raises California's minimum wage to $15 an hour will cost the state 700,000 jobs.
"That's how many California jobs will be lost thanks to the politicians raising the minimum wage," an unidentified woman says on the radio ad, which then says companies will replace people with computer kiosks and robots. Later the ad states: "Ready to leave California? Go to Florida instead - no state income tax and Governor Scott has cut regulations."
Since winning re-election in November 2014, the Republican governor has taken several trips to states led by Democratic governors where he has asked companies to relocate to Florida. He visited California last year.
Florida's unemployment rate right now — 4.9 percent — is slightly better than California's 5.4 percent jobless rate. California, however, has bested Florida in the last year in job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. California, the state with the country's largest population, has added nearly 421,000 jobs while Florida has added more than 234,000.
Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, said California would "extend a warm welcome" to Scott so he can learn what's happening in the state.
"Since his last 2,000 mile cross-country jaunt, California has added twice as many jobs as Florida, while paying down debt, building a robust rainy day fund and taking bold action on issues Governor Scott continues to ignore, like climate change and poverty," Westrup said in an email.
Last week when he announced his California trip, Scott contended that companies would want to leave the Golden State because of a "crippling" increase in the minimum wage. Brown earlier this month signed into law a measure that will lift the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
It's not clear how many radio ads Enterprise Florida is paying for. Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for the agency, said the amount was still being worked out and a final figure was not available.