9 Investigates letters sent to Democratic states by Gov. Scott



ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates is looking into letters Gov. Rick Scott sent to businesses in other states.

Those letters are written to convince top businesses to move to Florida, but instead of going after all states, tax money is paying for the governor to target only states run by Democrats.

Investigative reporter Christopher Heath asked the governor's office if it is an economic play or a political ploy.

At a stop in Lakeland, Scott had plenty to brag about.

"We've had a big turnaround in the state. I know you've done well here. Unemployment has gone down from 11.1 to 7.1 percent," he told the crowd.

The governor has been unashamed about taking Florida on the road, but in the letters sent businesses in New York, Maryland and Massachusetts, Scott isn't just selling Florida, he's targeting Democratic states, telling businesses to book a one-way ticket to the Sunshine State.

"We want more jobs to come here to Florida, high-paying jobs at that," said state Rep. Bruce Antone.

Antone calls into question the governor's tactic.

"It's good to send the message that we're open for business, but let's not send the message that we'll pay you," he said.

But Eyewitness News uncovered requests by Enterprise Florida for $3 million in taxpayer money to market Florida to businesses in other states.

And critics have pointed out that the governor has not been willing to send letters to Maine, Wisconsin and North Carolina, Republican-controlled states that have a much higher tax burden than Florida.

Of the eight states sent letters by Scott, all eight have Democratic governors.

Not a single letter has been sent to a state with a Republican governor, despite the fact that Republican governors head 12 states with higher tax burdens than Florida.

9 Investigates asked the governor's office for a response to the taxpayer cost of the campaign and was told simply that the office intends to send more letters but would not say to which states.