So much for Rick Scott’s “7-7-7” plan to create 700,000 jobs in Florida.
This morning Scott unveiled his proposed budget at a private meeting of activists from the Tea Party. For a man who campaigned on promises to create jobs and cut spending, he seems to have only made good on the “cutting” portion of those promises. His proposed budget will cut spending by $4.6 billion.
His proposal also includes cutting 8700 jobs, but Scott prefers to call that “cutting the size of government” since it’s state positions he would eliminate. Scott’s reasoning is this:
Though cutting those state jobs would add to the state’s unemployment rate, Scott indicated that the best way to grow the state’s economy was through his “jobs budget,” which shrinks state government and cuts property and corporate-income taxes by nearly $1.4 billion.
That explanation also conveniently provides red meat for the Tea Party crowd, and was apparently the reason he chose the private “preaching to the choir” budget presentation that he did:
“As long as 1.1 million Floridians are out of work, we can’t afford a government that runs wild with taxes, regulations and excessive spending,” Scott told the enthusiastic crowd of a 1,000 conservative activists.
“Reviewing a governmental budget is much like going through the attic in an old home. You come across some priceless things you need to protect,” Scott said. “But there are a lot of odd things someone once thought we needed. Much of it we’ve outgrown. And it just doesn’t fit anymore. Over the last month, I’ve spent a lot of time in that attic. And I’m cleaning it out.”
Most people would value education as one of those “priceless things you need to protect.” Well, not so the Tea Party types who no doubt fit education into the “it doesn’t fit anymore” category if you’ve observed the mindset, behavior and the misspelled rally signs of Tea “Baggers” and the rich corporate leaders who seek to keep them very much uneducated and in the dark. As evidenced when he began touting his “worse than Jeb” ideas on what to do about education in Florida, Scott hinted that he didn’t value education so much either, and he made that quite clear today when he also announced his proposal to cut education. In one of the largest cuts in his budget, Scott wants to eviscerate education by slashing it by $3.3 billion.
Yes, you read that correctly: $3.3 BILLION. The cuts would come from K-12, community colleges and state universities. However, none of the cuts come from charter schools.
Department of Community Affairs: ($668 million and almost all the employees), Department of Children and Families: ($178.5 million), Justice Administration: ($489 million, plus $39.5 million in cuts to the court system.) Scott also made cuts in Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection, Law Enforcement, Legal Affairs, Juvenile Justice, Transportation, Elder Affairs, and Health among others. A list can be viewed here.
Among things he increased funding for: adding $629 million for the Executive Office Of The Governor.
Looking at Scott’s budget, it’s not too surprising to see that he chose to give the first look to Tea Party activists. Why a private meeting? Well, why not? That’s the way Scott operates. “We the people” don’t matter once the votes are counted. (Although Scott’s working on the problem of “fair elections” too, since he’s quietly trying to get rid of those pesky Amendments 5 & 6 that the voters clearly wanted, and some members of the legislature are helping him out.) But you wouldn’t know that from listening to Scott. His explanation for the private budget presentation was this: “I do things different. The world does not revolve around Tallahassee…that’s why I’m announcing my budget in the real world.” Ah yes, The “real world.” In Scott’s neighborhood, reality is a gated community of lobbyists and COC members and business leaders where he merely commutes to Tallahassee and his day job: Florida. It’s just a business, as he’s been so quick to point out.
Over the weekend Scott gave another explanation. In his radio address he said this:
“In the days ahead, the special interests and those who support big government solutions will attack my budget. They don’t recognize, as you and I do, these times require a bold new path.”
The “special interests” will attack my budget. Really? Does he mean these special interests? They may want to help him plan his budget, but attack it? Not so much.
Sure, as he says “you and I” recognize these times require a bold path.
Unfortunately the path that the clueless Rick Scott is leading Florida down isn’t just bold.