What’s 700,000 jobs give or take … 1 million? That’s the question a new ad from the Charlie Crist campaign hopes to answer for Florida voters.
"He made a promise," the ad says, showing video of Gov. Rick Scott from the 2010 campaign for governor. "Hold me accountable for delivering on the campaign promises I make," Scott says.
The ad then shows Scott promising to create 700,000 jobs "on top of what normal growth would be." Later, in reaction to a reporter’s question on that metric, Scott said, "No."
The ad is paid for by the Florida Democratic Party, but the Crist campaign approved it and promoted it to the media. So we’re rating it as coming from the Crist campaign.
Since 2010, PolitiFact Florida has been tracking Scott’s promise to create 700,000 jobs over seven years, so this controversy is very familiar to us. But if you’re just tuning in now, we’ll start the story from the beginning.
Because of the state’s housing-driven economy, Florida took a tremendous hit during the financial crash of 2008. By 2010, state economists said that the bottom had hit and Florida would gradually recover. That July, economists predicted that Florida would gradually recover, adding 1 million jobs by 2017 -- no matter who was governor.
On July 21, 2010, Scott unveiled his now famous 7-7-7 plan, promising to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years (actually the plan was written to create 661,914 jobs, but the Scott campaign rounded up for effect). The jobs would flow from his pro-business, anti-regulation, anti-tax agenda.
During the campaign, Scott said that the jobs would come on top of natural growth.
"Our plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs, and that plan is on top of what normal growth would be," Scott said during a 2010 debate hosted by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association on Oct. 20. (This is the video shown in the Crist ad.)
Accounting for normal growth would make the target 1.7 million jobs over seven years.
A few months after Scott took office in 2011, though, he started backtracking. First his staff and then Scott himself announced that they would be counting new jobs toward a goal of 700,000, period, not 700,000 on top of natural growth.
When an Associated Press reporter reminded Scott in August 2011 that his original promise was 700,000 jobs on top of natural growth, Scott said, "No, that’s not true." Members of the Sun Sentinel editorial board asked Scott in September 2011 if that was his promise -- "Your pledge was for 700,000 in addition to normal growth, wasn't it?'' -- and Scott said no. At the time, PolitiFact Florida rated Scott's new position a Full Flop on our Flip-O-Meter.
Scott seems to be sticking to his new metric.
In May 2013, Scott said the state was "already almost halfway to our 2010 goal of creating 700,000 new jobs in seven years" when approximately 302,500 net jobs had been created since December 2010.
We rated the claim that he was halfway to his 2010 goal as Mostly False, noting that he still had a ways to go to make it to 1.7 million jobs created.
His jobs promise, which we track on our Scott-O-Meter, is rated In the Works, because Scott promised the jobs would be created over seven years, and he still has three more years to go. The seven-year yardstick is ignored in Crist’s latest ad.
Crist’s ad says that Scott changed 2010 his 2010 promise of 700,000 jobs created "on top of what normal growth would be" to just 700,000 jobs. That’s a difference of 1 million jobs, as had been projected by economists.
The ad provides a concise but accurate summary of Scott’s 2010 pledge and then his public statements that modified the terms. We rate the ad’s statement True.