Florida Gov. Rick Scott paid a rare, personal visit to the offices of four Republican senators Wednesday in a last-minute attempt to rescue an anti-union bill that appeared destined for defeat.
The governor asked the same question to Miami Sens. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Rene Garcia, Anitere Flores and Inverness Sen. Charlie Dean. And he got the same answer: No.
Scotts intervention was the Hail Mary pass of Sen. John Thrasher, the Jacksonville lawyer and former Republican Party of Florida chairman whose top priority was passage of the bill to ban public employee unions from using automatic payroll deduction to collect dues. But by the end of the day, Thrasher had all but conceded defeat.
If it isnt right and we cant get the votes to get where we need to get to, well come back and fight another day, he said.
Scotts failure to change the minds of fellow Republicans underscored the lack of popularity of the bill and of the freshman governor who adopted the talking points of the nationally-watched issue but lacked the political juice to get it.
The governor is getting used to the rejection. In recent weeks, Scott has threatened to veto the budget if it didnt include some of his $2.4 billion in cuts to corporate income taxes and fees, urged legislators to pass an Arizona-style immigration bill and has lobbied lawmakers to end the states traditional defined contribution pension plan and replace it with a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Each has been scuttled by lawmakers, raising doubts about the success of the governors session agenda.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos on Wednesday painted a more positive portrait.
Well have a balanced budget without raising taxes, without raising fees and well have some tax decreases and some fee decreases, Haridopolos said. One thing the governors really added to this discussion is everyone knew he would not support a tax increase I consider that to be a success for the governor and the entire state of Florida.
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