A Fly on the Wall

June 27, 2015

Like a fly on the wall, this past week I sat in the far back of a packed room in Norwalk where Florida Governor Rick Scott pitched his state to many of our area’s small businesses.

Connecticut is in financial crisis and it is vital to hear what the competition is selling and how they are achieving their success.

What I heard needs to be broadcast widely so that Connecticut learns what works and strives to employ some of those same strategies here.

Here is Governor Scott’s list of best practices:

Make jobs # 1 priority

Sets a goal of making Florida the best place in the world to do business (not just the US), sites Palm Beach as the place for Hedge Funds. People want a job, education and public safety.

Florida benchmarks itself against other successful states. He is the state’s top salesman and brings his department heads with him to call on companies.

He is happy to poach businesses from other Republican states and is proud to say that Florida beat Texas in job creation.

Businesses must talk to their employees on how new taxes impact their jobs.

Balance the budget and spend less.

If a program wants more funding then find cuts in other places. Use the veto pen.

Control costs, measure the heck out of everything the state does, do a ROI analysis on what is spent.

Reform pensions

Fund Education-Florida is #2 in the world in 4th grade reading and closing its education gap.

Fund transportation and water ports.

Fund programs for the disabled.


Sell your plan to the public and then legislators. Tell the people what you plan to do and then tell them when you do it. Hold yourself accountable. Show up when something goes wrong.

His parting shot was that when a state like Connecticut raises taxes or increases regulations it makes it so much easier for Florida to compete.

Florida has no income, inheritance, gift, and car or pension tax. Governor Scott remarked that too many people in Connecticut just give up and leave instead of standing up and fighting.

You cannot argue with the success that Florida and other states are having.

If Connecticut leaders copied good models and followed some of the basic principles Governor Scott is putting into practice -instead of constantly criticizing him – it might just convince businesses to stay.

Those who have one foot out the door might be convinced Connecticut does mean business when leaders proclaim “we are open for business. Not just with words but with action.

The warning bell has been sounded!