COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Florida Governor Rick Scott in town; this is the first time he's met with media locally since being elected. Scott took a private tour of Arthrex, a medical device manufacturer. He talked jobs, budgets and more.
Scott commended Arthrex on it's plans to add 150 jobs this year, saying the public sector should start operating similar to the private sector in order to created jobs and cut spending.
"I'm going through and trying to run the state as efficiently as I can run the state, making sure where we can streamline, we're going to streamline," Scott tells WINK News.
He spoke to hundreds of employees at the company on how he plans to save taxpayer money. One way will be setting up the state's employee pension plans similar to the way Arthrex and other companies would set up their own.
"Starting July 1, anybody that's in our pension plan is going to contribute five percent," Scott explained.
Also, the Governor plans to keep only jobs that are higher risk, such as law enforcement and fire fighters, in a group that will be vested at two percent. Jobs such as judges and dispatchers will go back to the way it was years ago, vested at 1.6 percent.
In addition, Scott plans to get rid of a plan known for double dipping on taxpayers. "We have a program called DROP which allows you to stay on the job after you've retired a few years. We're going to stop that July 1st because I don't think that's fair to the taxpayers of the state."
It's the Governor's plan that these cuts will save taxpayers over a billion dollars next year.
Although Scott says he plans to lower property taxes in order to attract companies to move to Florida and bring jobs, state employees could loose their positions with his plan to streamline and combine departments. He says employees shouldn't worry, "most of the jobs that we'll eliminate are duplicates or haven't been filled."
The president of Arthrex tells WINK News he and Scott talked about Jackson Labs briefly, and says both agreed it was good the opportunity passed Collier County by for budget reasons.
Scott's full budget will roll out on Monday.
RENEE STOLL, REPORTER