Your next governor? What a Scott victory could mean for Florida

Rick Scott has said that he would cut the local school property tax levy by nearly 20 percent, or $1.4 billion. That’s money that generally pays for schools and other items for local government.

And his plan to eliminate the corporate tax would eliminate $1.8 billion that goes into the state treasury to help fund the school voucher program.

3. Early prisoner release?

Scott has proposed cutting $1 billion from the state’s Department of Corrections.

That means fewer prisons (not a bad thing), fewer prison guards (potentially dangerous) and maybe, fewer prisoners (guess that depends).

4. Fewer state workers

Scott wants to cut the state work force by 5 percent and make state workers pay 6 percent of their pension benefits.Both plans will probably get support from the voters, as state workers, usually represented by public employee unions, are the scourge of the right wing these days.

And Scott could be on the precipice of a growing trend that will undoubtedly rebound down to city and county levels – the idea of having workers put some of their own money into their pension benefits. With cities (like Tampa) facing serious challenges in meeting their current obligations to pay for employee pensions, such reform will probably spread across the country.

5, School choice

Scott calls for expanding virtual learning, charter schools and school vouchers, even to religious schools.

6. Deregulation of the insurance system

Scott says he wants to revamp Florida’s insurance system by giving insurers more "certainty" — limiting their exposure when it comes to writing policies for hurricanes and sinkholes. With that, he predicts more companies will return, creating competition and lower premiums.

7. Rescinding of abortion rights

Scott supports HB 1143, the bill that would have required that a woman have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. Pregnant women could opt out of viewing the image of the fetus by signing a form, but would have to undergo the ultrasound and pay for it.

GOP leaders in the Legislature said they intend to bring back the measure next year, which Governor Crist vetoed during this past legislative session.

Last month,  Republican Representative Charles Van Zant claimed that Scott supports his bill that would make abortion illegal in Florida in nearly all instances, including rape and incest. But a spokesman for Scott says that his position hasn’t changed: he’s opposed to abortion, but does support it for the life of the mother, as well as for victims of rape and incest.

If Rick Scott wins the close race for governor, what are the possible consequences for Florida?

1. No more high-speed rail?

As a candidate, Scott accused opponent Alex Sink of wanting to spend over $12.5 billion to implement her programs, and accused her of having to raise taxes to do so.

Sink vehemently denied his charges, and it led reporters to wonder where Scott was getting that dollar figure. It was later determined that Scott figured Sink would spend over $9 billion to help cover the state’s costs for a high-speed rail link from Orlando to Miami.

Although there is no reason to believe the state’s expenses for the rail project would ever run that high, Scott's contention led reporters to question whether Scott as governor would kill high-speed rail, which other Republican candidates across the country have said that they would do if elected.

When asked specifically about this, Scott recently softened his stance, saying, "I would go through first and wait until we can see the feasibility study and see what it's going to cost taxpayers. Then I would make the decision."

2. Less money for education and local governments

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