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Monday, May 30, 2011

Rick Scott’s 343 million dollar travesty

When Rick Scott did his budget he requested an additional 343 million for the governors office as you can imagine a dramatic increase. Though if you are a silver lining type, maybe you can find solace in that he was going to use some of this money to create 91 extra jobs. However it got me to thinking what else could we have spent the money on.

The first thing that comes to mind is the raid of the transportation trust fund of 150 million dollars. This will cancel a number of projects that would improve our infrastructure and according to the Orlando Sentinel cost eighty-four hundred jobs. Hmm isn’t that two of the states biggest needs, infrastructure and jobs?

I am a teacher but the cuts to education were to massive to be paid for by Scott’s treasure trove (about 20 thousand education jobs state wide lost and that’s before the ten percent pay cut, pension and benefits increase, that will also take billions more out of the economy and cost more jobs) but I find children important so the next thing that came to mind was the 171 million he cut from the department of Children and Family. This can’t help but decrease the level of care some of our most vulnerable citizens but is also going to cost two thousand workers their jobs.

We’re now up to 321 million dollars which leaves only a little over twenty to spend. So I picked the cuts to our libraries (twenty million) public broadcasting (a little over 500 thousand) and the dental van that served Jacksonville’s indigents without dental care (another 500k). That’s right a nearly seventy billion-dollar budget and we couldn’t find enough change in the couch to help poor people with their teeth. These cuts will only cost the state a few hundred jobs at most but it has the effect of dumbing us down, we need libraries and impartial sources of information, and making us cruel to our less fortunate neighbors. You know who else doesn’t have libraries, public television and dental care for it’s poor; Somalia and dozens of other countries on the fringe of civilization and chaos.

So what did we lose so the governor can have a few more assistants and work on his pet projects? Over ten thousand jobs, needed improvements to our infrastructure, protection of our children, and necessary things that separate us from third world countries. This all cut from a budget that is only about a billion less than last years (don’t forget the 1.7 billion dollar cut to education either). Friend’s social services, education, the environment, the middle class and the poor all just took a very bad beating. Since the amount of government spending only went down by a negligible amount, I hope this isn’t what those who voted for him had in mind.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher

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