BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — To hear four governors tell it, the U.S. is doing well — aside from Illinois and Puerto Rico.
The four, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, spoke Monday afternoon on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference.
During a question and answer period, an audience member asked about the impact of the news that Puerto Rico would default on $367 million of $467 million in debt payments due Monday.
The questioner asked for a response from bordering states.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, said the largest impact to his state has been a flood of Puerto Ricans relocating to Orlando from the U.S. territory.
Whether the conversation drifted to trade, infrastructure, or education, all the talk centered on how each governor is working to create more jobs for their state's residents.
Other panelists were Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, both Democrats, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, moderated the panel.
All bragged on low unemployment rates for their states and rattled off the number of jobs created during their time in office.
And each one came out in support of increased free trade agreements.
Congress may not be in agreement on free trade, but most of the governors support it, because of the potential for job creation, McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe criticized Congress for its inability to fund transportation and also for sequestration, of which he said national leaders had kicked the can down the road two years.
McAuliffe said he is trying to diversify the economy away from its dependence on defense, because of the harm caused by sequestration.
"The military is great, but we have to build a new economy," McAuliffe.
Schmidt questioned McAuliffe about how much time he spends traveling internationally.
"Eighty percent of the growth is going to come from outside of America," McAuliffe said. "I go where the jobs are. We are bringing jobs back."
He said his state just signed a deal worth $2 billion with a Chinese company, which he characterized the largest deal a U.S. state has struck to-date with a Chinese company.
He added many governors focus on traveling to other states and pay for jobs through tax breaks for companies who relocate, but he is not willing to do that.
"I won't pay for jobs," he said. "I don't have to buy deals like my fellow governors."
In discussing the biggest issues in cutbacks to federal funding, McAuliffe said it was the transportation bill, which he said just kicked the issues of how to fund infrastructure improvements down the road.
"You can't build roads without a long term plan to do it - and you can't build the economy if you can't build roads," McAuliffe said.
The federal government has put no money into ports, said Scott, adding that Florida has 15 seaports.
When the state has needed matching funds from the federal government, it has not been available.
"We are spending $10.8 billion on transportation," he said.
If Florida waited for Congress to get it together, the needed projects would never get done, Scott said.