I'm looking at one of the many mail pieces that Rick Scott sent me when he was trying to win my vote.
In it, Rick's wearing a hard hat. And he's promising to "Stand up to the Tallahassee insiders" and "End business as usual."
I'd like that.
But I'm also looking at the financial reports for the inaugural bash Rick decided to throw for himself. In them, I see that Rick has promised everything from candlelight dinners to commemorative cufflinks to the special interests that will fund his celebration.
They took him up on the offer, to the tune of nearly $3 million.
For the big donors — those who gave $25,000 — there were even VIP tickets … to a prayer breakfast.
What an interesting way to honor the Almighty.
If Rick had really stood up to the special interests on his inaugural day — other than to give them "commemorative winter scarves" — most Floridians would have been thrilled.
Because even those of us who didn't vote for him can admit we got a little giddy about his anti-establishment bravado.
He was self-financed and full of independence.
Even if we didn't agree with all his policy proposals, maybe, we thought, Rick would finally be the guy to tell the special interests to pound sand.
But the optimism was short-lived. Because he has already started talking about sating the well-heeled lobbyists who bought special access to this week's festivities.
He has talked of turning growth decisions over to those who profit from them. And of siphoning money from public schools.
His advisers even talked about jacking up your power rates — so that businesses can have lower ones.
Are you kidding me?
No, says Rick. He wants the world to know that "Florida is open for business."
It's that particular slogan that makes me wonder if Rick is disingenuous or wildly uninformed.
Open for business? As if Florida has been too tough in recent years?
Like Jeb Bush had businesses drowning in high corporate-tax rates?
Like former House Speaker Tom Feeney was strangling them in government regulations?
Give me a break. For more than a decade, Republicans have had total domination over everything in Florida government and consequently treated business like royalty — often at the expense of rank-and-file residents.
Corporate income taxes are among the lowest in the nation. And Republicans granted tax breaks to everyone from bottled-water companies and high-end yacht-makers to the wealthiest investors.
Meanwhile, your costs to get a drivers license more than doubled.
Rick is right that people need a change from "business as usual" in Florida. But it's not the CEOs and lobbyists who paid $25,000 for the "Commemorative Vineyard Vines tote bag" he gave out for his inauguration.
Still, I did see a glimmer of hope.
In the midst of all the gifts Rick bestowed upon those who paid for his $3 million party — both literally and in terms of promised legislation — he did one important thing to rankle the business crowd Tuesday.
He signed an executive order requiring that all state agencies and — more important — their contractors run E-Verify checks on their employees and hires to make sure they are legal citizens.
It's a good first step.
But any serious efforts to combat illegal immigration would require all employers to verify that they have made legal hires. It should be the law of the land — no matter how loud the objections from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses that profit from cheap and illegal labor.
Like many of the pressing issues facing our state and nation, we cannot continue to placate and subsidize Corporate America while crushing the middle class.
Not by looking the other way during illegal hiring. Not by jacking up working families' power bills to please CEOs. And not by allowing developers to disrupt communities and pave unspoiled land.
All that stuff, Governor, has already happened in Florida. And it stinks — no matter what you heard from the lobbyists who paid $25,000 to sit near you in the same parade-viewing stand.
Scott Maxwell can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-6141.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun