Rick Scott slams Kathy Castor for criticizing state's troubled unemployment website

  • Rick Scott at Brandon Honda on Wednesday

Rick Scott has certainly heard lots of criticism from Democrats during his term as governor of Florida, but rarely does he react in kind.

But late Wednesday afternoon at a Honda dealership in East Tampa, he fired back upon hearing that Congresswoman Kathy Castor had called the state's troubled $63 million unemployment website a "debacle" and a "disaster."

"Kathy Castor ought to focus on some of the federal issues," he retorted upon hearing the Tampa Democrat's remarks repeated back to him, referring to the the flood insurance program situation and problems with the Affordable Care Act's implementation. "So maybe she could focus on some of those issues," he added.

Scott went on to say that the state's Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is "going to get it fixed," referring to the website. The agency has already recovered $1.5 million in "financial restitution" from website design contractor Deloitte Consulting, and is currently fining them $15,000 a day until the problems with the site are fully corrected.

"I want to make sure everyone that is eligible for unemployment gets it," he said, before repeating his mantra that his main focus is working to bring jobs to Florida so people don't have to rely on unemployment checks. He declined to say whether the state had imposed a deadline on Deloitte to fix the problems with the site.

Scott was at Brandon Honda to promote his proposed $401 million tax cut plan, which would roll back the fees to register a "typical automobile" by $25 (from $71 to $46). It's part of his overall $500 million tax cut plan, though he remained vague on Wednesday about where he would find the remaining $100 million to cut.

"I'm working on that," he said, adding that he should have that part of the plan ready to announce after he finishes work on a proposed budget within the next few weeks.

Scott originally announced his $401 million tax cut plan in South Tampa last month, prompting some reporters to question why his campaign staff was trumpeting the announcement once again.

The governor was also asked by reporters to respond to the lawsuit filed by progressive activist and lobbyist Barbara DaVane that he has a legal obligation to name a successor to former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll.

Carroll resigned 10 months ago after being linked to a charity organization at the center of a $300 million multi-state racketeering investigation. The office has remained vacant since then, prompting some columnists and editorial writers to argue that the job itself serves little purpose.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.