Florida gov. urges 100 NYC CEOs to move companies South

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": On the job hunt? Well, so is Florida Governor Rick Scott. He is set to announce an effort to bring jobs from New York City to his home state. He joins me right now.

Governor, always great to have you.

GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: It’s nice having you.

I just got back from New York and you could just see the unbelievable opportunity for New York businesses and New York employees to do so much better in Florida.

CAVUTO: I am sure Mayor Bloomberg appreciated your efforts, but what are you trying to do?


SCOTT: Oh, gosh, well, I want American businesses to do well and we’re competing in the world market.

And I know that they can do a better job if they are headquartered and if they work in Florida.

CAVUTO: So what are you doing?

SCOTT: On top of having -- well, I have written a letter and I will be calling on -- basically, I start with the 100 largest companies in New York, and I will be calling on their CEOs and I wrote them a letter today.

And then I will just continue to do that to let them know not only is our weather better, we have got a lower cost of living, but also, it is just a better place to do business so they can compete in the world market way better than you can if you are sitting in New York City or New York State.

CAVUTO: Governor, this comes at a time when a lot of your colleagues across other states are trying to do similar things. The governor of Indiana is trying to woo folks and businesses from Illinois and the governor of Ohio trying to woo folks from both of those states, and all bragging about lower tax rates and better business environments.

Who wins in a contest like this?

SCOTT: Florida wins.

Look, if you look at our tax rates, our business tax, we’re the fifth lowest. The four lower than us are the two Dakotas and Wyoming and Alaska. Great states. Now, we’re not competing with them. New York in that survey is number 49. We are number five. Of the most populous states, we’re number one.

With regard to regulation we are dramatically better than New York. Teacher quality, something important to everything, we are number one in the country. Work force training, according to the U.S. Chamber, we are number one in the country.

So if you think about the things that are important to businesses and their customers, so the business can do better, clearly Florida is a better choice.

CAVUTO: But why geographically did you have to make the haul to New York? Around you, you could have easily gone to any one of the Southern states. But some of them have lower rates and better business environments than yours, right, South Carolina and to a lesser extent Georgia.

SCOTT: Oh, no.

CAVUTO: So why not make the pitch there?

SCOTT: Well, first off, if you look at the dichotomy, we’re number five and New York is number 49. So, the spread is dramatic.


CAVUTO: In other words, you are saying New York was worth the trip.

SCOTT: Oh, gosh, absolutely.

We’re doing really well. There a lot of companies that are coming down from the Northeast, especially New York, because of taxes, because of regulation, because of permitting processes. So we are clearly the place - - if you want to do business, you want to come to Florida.

Think about you as a customer. You are not willing to pay more because a company is headquartered or does business in a jurisdiction with higher taxes, more costs and regulation, more litigation risk. And plus you want to live in an environment with great benches and great weather.


CAVUTO: There is no doubt.

But, Governor, I’m wondering if there is a stigma, fairly or not, attached to Florida, that was the ground zero in the real estate meltdown and a lot of the businesses might be saying, well, we are not so sure of that. We’re not sure they are out of the...


SCOTT: Well, you are right. You better start hurrying up and buying these homes down here. Our home are doing very well.


SCOTT: Our home sales are up 8 percent.

Think about it, Neil. If you make $125,000 in New York City, it is worth -- down here you are buying power is $208,000. Think about what you can do as far as education for your child and transportation and vacation and housing and all these things. Plus, today, I think it is about 30 degrees warmer here than it is in New York City. So the weather is great. The beaches are great. The regulation is better, all these things that make it easier for your business to be well.

CAVUTO: No, no, no, Governor, we love Florida, but it is hot in the summer and humid in the summer. That’s all I’m saying.

SCOTT: Yes. If you want to do well in business, this is the state.

CAVUTO: There’s air conditioning there.

SCOTT: Now we have air conditioning, of course.

CAVUTO: Governor, if you don't mind me meandering a little bit into politics here, Marco Rubio of course announced his support for Mitt Romney. And that has prompted talk he might make a great number two on the Republican ticket. What do you think of that?

SCOTT: Well, Senator Rubio is from our great state, from Miami, and he would be a great number two.

The great thing about that ticket is they care about businesses which is what I care about. Its jobs, jobs, jobs. We need it in Florida and we need it in the country. So that ticket would be a very formidable ticket for President Obama.

CAVUTO: All right, now, I know you have addressed this issue in the past, but if you will indulge me, Governor, in the Trayvon Martin, the New Black Panther Party has targeted the shooter, George Zimmerman, calling for sort of a I guess vigilante-style arrest. What do you make of that?

SCOTT: Well, the first thing you have to do in that case is just think about the poor family to lose a 17-year-old. No family in this country can just imagine that happening to them. It is a wonderful family and I met both the parents last week.

I have a new state attorney involved. I have got the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But, look, this vigilante justice, it makes no sense. No one wants to be subject to that vigilante justice. We have a process to make sure that justice prevails. It has to be fair to the Trayvon Martin family and fair to George Zimmerman, but we cannot have vigilante justice.

CAVUTO: Do you think though that it will call into question whether these gated communities should have essentially their own private police force complete with guys who have guns? Maybe that shouldn’t be.

SCOTT: Neil, I think what happens any time a tragedy like this happens -- and this is clearly a tragedy -- people should go back and think about what they are doing.

One thing I have done is I set up a task force that once the investigation is over, we will look at the laws we have in Florida. Is there a law -- should we change anything?


CAVUTO: Do you think you should change that law, that particular law?

SCOTT: I'm not -- I will look at it. I have a task force to look at it.

But we’re at a four-year low in our crime rate in Florida. This is a very safe state to live in. We have done very well with our crime rate. So, we will look at all these things to make sure we continue to do the right thing for the citizens of our great state.

CAVUTO: So, when these other issues concerning Zimmerman, that he got into a scuffle with Trayvon Martin and he thought Martin was a threat to him, any thoughts on that? Do you believe that?

SCOTT: Well, we will do is -- that’s why I have a great state attorney looking into it and we have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. attorney is looking into it. And we will find out exactly what happened and we will make sure that justice prevails.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised at the international reaction this has gotten?

SCOTT: I think any tragedy like this -- and this is absolutely a tragedy -- you need to go back and look at what happened and make sure that your laws are right and make sure that justice prevails. And that is what we are doing here.

CAVUTO: OK. Governor, it's always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

SCOTT: Nice seeing you. Bye-bye.

CAVUTO: Governor Rick Scott, all right.

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