Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) discussed how federal overreach by the Biden administration will negatively impact small businesses and the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a conversation with Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president & CEO, (pictured left) during the 2021 Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), the current chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, (pictured right) discussed how federal overreach by the Biden administration will negatively impact small businesses and the economy's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
During the one-on-one discussion, Sen. Scott critiqued President Joe Biden's tax plan, infrastructure proposals, Medicare for All, the "Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act" and more, underscoring that big government is damaging to small businesses and the poorest American families.
Sen. Scott promised to fight the PRO Act, which would drastically change the nation's labor laws and includes a provision that could significantly impact the independent agency system. Among other things, the legislation seeks to change the definition of “independent contractor" in a way that could cause significant disruption to the financial services and property-casualty insurance markets, including independent insurance agents and the consumers they serve.
“I don't believe you need any help out of the federal government to tell you how to run your business," Sen. Scott said. “When people are independent, they're actually independent. They get to make independent choices and we shouldn't have legislation that is going to change that. So, I'm going to continue to fight against foolish legislation that's going to hurt our business community."
Sen. Scott grew up in a poor family. “I watched my parents struggle for work. We lived in public housing," he said. “I want business to prosper because they're the ones that create jobs." However, the Florida senator warns that President Biden's plans to raise the corporate rate to 28% and individual rates to 39.6%, double capital gains rates, limit itemized deductions, and remove the cap on social security and payroll taxes will “kill jobs."
Contrasting Republican economic principles with the Biden administration's fiscal policy, Sen. Scott referenced his record as governor of Florida between 2011 and 2019. During that time he cut state taxes while also increasing public sector spending and reduced unemployment from 11.1% in 2011 to 3.7% in 2018, outpacing national trends.
“My goal is to make government a smaller portion of the economy every year—not a bigger portion of the economy—because I know it would have been good for our family like mine growing up," he said.
As one of the first states to reopen during the pandemic, Sen. Scott emphasized the importance of reduced government oversight in Florida's speedy recovery from the pandemic.
“The number of people moving to Florida is unbelievable," he said. “I don't get what these governors and legislators are doing because they're just killing their economies. And again, it always hurts the poorest family. My heart goes out to people that live in these blue states where they don't want to let you open your business and want to raise your taxes."
Sen. Scott, who recently implored states to return COVID-19 stimulus funding to the government in an open letter, continued his criticism of reckless federal spending and big government by taking aim at Medicare for All and the administration's infrastructure plan.
The former CEO of Columbia/HCA, which was at one point the single largest for-profit health care company in the country, Sen. Scott said that he will “fight to make sure that Americans have access to a private healthcare system," instead of focusing on a “government program that tries to run our whole lives."
“Every government program they [Democrats] set up in healthcare has cost way more and provided way less," he said. “If you want somebody that's going to focus on how you get better access to healthcare, better prices for healthcare, better quality healthcare, you need to rely on the private sector, not government."
Last week, President Biden characterized his infrastructure plans “a once-in-a-generation investment in America." However, Sen. Scott said that “it has nothing to do with infrastructure", dubbing it a “power grab to make government bigger" and “a bill to raise taxes."
“We already have $30 trillion in debt. We've already seen interest rates go up. We've already seen gas prices go up. We've already seen food prices go up. That's all because we have a government that is getting way too big and doesn't understand that you can't just spend money willy-nilly," he said.
Despite the political divide on Capitol Hill, Sen. Scott emphasized the need for a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), adding that private flood options and fairer pricing, particularly for Floridians, is crucial.
“We need to have a permanent solution for the NFIP and we need the federal government to make sure that they allow a private component to come in and compete," Sen. Scott said. “We need way more competition and the rates have to be fair to Americans."
“Florida has generally been a donor state. I think it's a four to one donor state since the inception of the NFIP," he added. “That's not fair to Florida families and it's completely unfair how they changed the rules in last few years which caused insurance rates to go up."
When asked by Rusbuldt about the prospect of bipartisan legislation being passed in Congress on some of the most divisive issues, Sen. Scott's response was simple: “No," adding that “the Democrats have zero interest in talking to Republicans. Their goal is a liberal left agenda that they're going to try to cram down the public's throat."
Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.