California has its own crop of colorful governors, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, and this tends to distract all but the most devoted news junkies from what is happening under governors in other states (unless that governor happens to be the larger than life Chris Christie). Still, we have reason to be grateful to some of those other governors, such as Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, and most recently, Florida’s Rick Scott.
Scott, a self-proclaimed venture capitalist, has a background in the health care industry. He was Chairman and CEO of Columbia/HCA, though he was forced to step down when the company pleaded guilty to 14 felony accounts for fraud regarding Medicare. The company was fined $600 million and later settled for over $2 billion in a variety of civil law suits. Scott claimed to know nothing of these practices, but was nevertheless forced to resign. He received almost $10 million in a compensation settlement, as well as $350 million in stock—more than enough to finance his bid for the governorship as the local Tea Party candidate.
Yesterday, Scott announced that he will not be accepting federal funding for Florida’s proposed high speed rail line, linking Tampa Bay with Orlando. The project, which has had its ups and downs, was possibly the most advanced high speed rail project in the country, and Scott’s refusal to take the money means that it will end up funding HSR in other states. While New York Senator Chuck Schumer has made a bid for the money, some of it will inevitably end up in California’s coffers. For that, the people of California owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Scott.