TAMPA — On his first day as governor, Charlie Crist would issue executive orders raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for government contractors and demanding more openness with government records, he said Tuesday in the first of what’s expected to be a series of policy announcements over the next month.
Crist also said his “First Day of Fairness” as governor would include executive orders intended to end discrimination against gay and transgender employees and male-female wage disparities in state agencies and contractors, to push for more government contracts to go to Florida businesses, and for contractors to hire Florida residents.
Crist, who will be the Democratic nominee for governor if he survives a primary challenge from dark-horse challenger Nan Rich, used the news conference to bash Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s record on government transparency and contracting.
“The First Day of Fairness is about giving middle-class families and small businesses the same opportunities and protections the big corporations have enjoyed under Rick Scott,” Crist said.
The Scott campaign responded that Crist is promising to “force his personal agenda on Florida with the stroke of a pen” instead of seeking action from the Legislature on his agenda.
“Crist is lifting a dangerous page from President Obama’s playbook, saying he will do an end-run around the people’s elected representatives and single-handedly mandate policies through executive order,” said a statement signed by top Republican legislative leaders including St. Augustine Sen. John Thrasher, Scott’s campaign chairman.
Florida’s minimum wage is $7.93 per hour, while the federal minimum is $7.25. Scott has said he opposes raising the wage.
Scott also has tangled with news agencies on occasion over requests for public records.
Crist cited a 2011 report from the Crowley Political Report blog that Scott’s office charged more money for copies of 1,100 emails from a former Governor’s Office spokesman than the state of Alaska charged for 24,000 pages of emails from former Gov. Sarah Palin.
He also cited an April report, by National Public Radio affiliate WGCU that the Scott administration has said when government employees use their private email accounts to conduct state business, reporters have to ask the employees individually for those emails rather than requesting them from the agency involved.
That makes it harder for anyone making the request to obtain public documents.