Governor Rick Scott is already creating enemies in Tallahassee, and many of them are his fellow republicans. As the rift widens, Scott's ability to get things done may weaken.
“Now we're gonna call the tune - not the government!”
Rick Scott arrived in Tallahassee an outsider, a man with no political experience, determined to change government as we know it.
First, he rolled out a controversial budget, cutting everything from education to prisons, and now this...
“My job is to represent the taxpayers of this state, and I'm not comfortable that this is a project that we ought to be doing.”
The governor's rejection of federal funding for high-speed rail opened up a new and very public divide with dozens of powerful republican lawmakers. They're making it clear they intend to overrule Scott, and House democratic leader Ron Saunders couldn't be happier.
“It seems that lately that we've been in agreement more with our Republican colleagues against the governor's positions, 'cause when he came out with his budget, for example, even Republican legislators found it too draconian,” Saunders said.
Typically, a new governor enjoys a political honeymoon here at the capitol, lasting all the way from Election Day to the end of his first legislative session, but it all hinges on the ability of lawmakers to cooperate. With our viewer polls indicating the governor's proposals unpopular back home, legislators of both parties have to be careful about how they vote.
Aaron Sharockman with the Saint Petersburg Times can already sense a significant change in the mood around the halls of power.
“This is kind of the end of the honeymoon period,” Sharockman said. “I think people gave his budget a chance, and I think now we're going to start to see just a more kind of normal relationship here in Tallahassee, where people are going to say their ideas, and it doesn't necessarily have to be in lock-step, in line with the governor's.”
Case-in-point: a new bill that would allow for a recall election to remove the governor from office. Another example of a newly-emboldened legislature beginning pushing back against an aggressive governor and his firebrand agenda.
Capital insiders say they wouldn't be surprised to see the GOP majority use its numbers to override any vetoes Scott might cast. That very situation could come up in the case of the high-speed rail funding Scott just rejected.