OTR Interviews

Fla. Gov. Scott on Tourism, Rejecting High-Speed Rail Plans, 'Obamacare' and Collective Bargaining

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Florida Governor Rick Scott is in Washington, D.C., busy meeting with other governors trying to get people to visit the "Sunshine State." Governor Rick Scott went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you, sir.

GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: Its' nice to see you. Nice being here.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is our tourism spot you came to steal our tourists.

SCOTT: We want all of them to come to Florida. We have great weather, beaches, amusement parks, fishing, everything, great oysters, all those things.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are hitting cities to attract tourism?

SCOTT: This week I'm the tourism governor. I'm going here, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago. We are giving away vacation packages, but we're the number one travel destination in the world. We have 82 million visitors a year. You guys have had a horrible winter. We are open for business. We want all of you to come to Florida enjoy.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are getting a little heat by some. This high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando you have until Friday to decide whether you are talking these federal funds or not. What is your problem with this high speed rail train?

SCOTT: The federal government has offered us $2.4 billion dollars. But they are not going to cover the cost overruns. These projects always go over. They are not going to cover operating costs. If it gets shutdown we have to give the $2.4 billion dollars back. I'm not going to put the taxpayers on the hook for something like this.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of this train, what about the train from Tampa to Miami to go north and south? One corridor, I know the area you can probably dive it in an hour and a half with $60 worth of gas, so it clogs the highways of course. But north and south is a far bigger problem in your state.

SCOTT: We need expansion of our ports. We have the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014. We need to get Miami, Jacksonville, probably another port done. We need to build our highways. Connect those ports to our rail system. That's where the money needs to be spent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Will they give you the $2.4 billion for that?

SCOTT: No, it is trains. They are committed to high speed rail. I'm committed to getting our state back to work.

VAN SUSTEREN: Collective bargaining, you are getting heat because you said you are for collective bargaining for public employees, now opposed. Which is it?

SCOTT: Here's what I said. In our state government workers don't pay into the pension plan. In our state in contrast to Wisconsin we have collective bargaining in our constitution you cannot change that. Would I like to not have collective bargaining? Sure, because I could pay the most effective, hardest working employees more. You can't with collective bargaining.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are saying because it is in the constitution, you are stuck with it. But you think Governor Walker, I don't want to put words in your mouth, you think Governor Walker is doing the right thing?

SCOTT: Scott Walker is has the same problem I have, a big budget deficit. He has a smaller budget so it is a bigger problem for him. How do we make sure we treat taxpayers fairly? If you are a taxpayer in Florida you don't have a pension plan. If you have any plan you have a 401(k) that you pay into. I want to treat taxpayers and government workers fairly. Government workers ought to pay into the pension plan. So that's my job. It is a balancing act.

VAN SUSTEREN: We you met with the president, did you think the president understood your state's problem?

SCOTT: No. I asked him, I said here's our problem, we need jobs. We are competing with other countries. And so high corporate tax rate, deficits, increased regulations last two years, all that impacting jobs. "Obamacare" is killing jobs. It is not focused on driving down health care costs. It is raising our costs. We are competing with other countries. We can't treat business people worse on their dollars will go someplace else.

VAN SUSTEREN: He doesn't get that you don't think?

SCOTT: Based on his actions he doesn't.

VAN SUSTEREN: The federal lawsuit in your home state and the judge has declared the statute unconstitutional. Are you going to take any steps to implement the national health care before it gets to the Supreme Court for a final decision?

SCOTT: Our attorney general did a great job making sure we won that lawsuit. She will continue to do a good job. We are not going to implement it. It is not the law of the land. I'm not going to implement any of that bill. It is bad for patients, bad for taxpayers, bad for business.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you fear down the road you will lose in the Supreme Court and you are behind the eight ball because you haven't taken steps to implement it?

SCOTT: No. We are not going to lose in the Supreme Court. If we do, I don't think we will, I believe it is going to get repealed. We all know that is a horrible law for patients, taxpayers, and businesses, and that is jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you had one message for the president, what is that?

SCOTT: I would stop and think about how he's impacting the job base in this country. Our biggest problem in our state is jobs. We have a million people out of work. We need to treat business people differently. We've got to reduce taxes, regulation. How do we compete with these other countries? That's what he needs to be focused on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any position when the Florida primary should be for president?

SCOTT: The earliest without losing delegates.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does that mean?

SCOTT: First part of March.