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Is Rick Scott the Environmental Governor? And PolitiFact Fl on Marco and Job Creation

Is Rick Scott really the environmental governor? And did Marco Rubio strike a nerve when he said more businesses now fail in the country than start up? To answer those questions, WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Josh Gillen of PolitiFact Florida.


Let's take a trip back to Governor Rick Scott's economic summit last week in Orlando. There, he reeled off a bunch of statistics about Florida’s economy including this one: "If you care about the environment, we've got record funding."

Now the governor hasn't exactly shown his "green" credentials in the five years he's been in office. He's been lashed by tree-huggers for supposedly banning the use of the term "climate change,"  the number of environmental fines have dipped, and Scott has boasted about reducing the number of days it takes to get a building permit.

It got so bad that voters in November approved a referendum demanding an increase in the amount of money set aside for conservation - although good luck getting that approved by the legislature.

We asked Josh Gillen of PolitiFact Florida if Florida now have "record funding" for the environment?

Their ruling:

Scott's team points to investments the state has made to restore the Everglades and springs during Scott’s tenure -- and he has championed both.

While those are high-profile projects, he claimed that Florida has "record funding" for the environment overall, and that’s not the case. The budget for the state Department of Environmental Protection and for Florida Forever were not a record under Scott -- two major pots of money that relate to the environment.

Scott repeated a previously debunked claim in a national forum; his statement has long been proved incorrect. We rate this claim Pants on Fire!


Let's go back to that summit in Orlando. Just about every Republican presidential candidate showed up. Senator Marco Rubio wasn't there in person, but spoke via a video connection. There, he took a jab at President Obama's policies, saying ""For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses dying than we do starting."

True or false? Here's PolitiFact Florida's ruling:

We located a May 2014 report by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, titled, "Declining Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and Metros."

In that report, coauthors Robert Litan and Ian Hathaway published data that supports Rubio’s claim. Their calculations come from a collection of U.S. Census Bureau data called Business Dynamics Statistics.

"Recent evidence points to a U.S. economy that has steadily become less dynamic over time," they wrote.

They found that the rate of business failures held steady, except for an uptick during the Great Recession -- but they also found that the entry rate of new firms declined by nearly half between 1978 and 2011. "The precipitous drop since 2006 is both noteworthy and disturbing," the authors wrote.

Here’s the kicker from the report: "Business deaths now exceed business births for the first time in the 30-plus-year history of our data," the authors wrote.

We rate Rubio’s claim True.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.