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Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’

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.

Also “cleaned out from Florida’s attic:”

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.

It’s dangerous.

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While Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky continues to block legislation that would keep some federal programs functioning, Florida is one of the states that stands to suffer the most. The hold Bunning has placed on the legislation affects jobless benefits for thousands of unemployed workers, rural television customers, doctors receiving Medicare payments and others. Bunning wants the $10-billion price of extending the programs offset by reductions in spending elsewhere in the budget to not drive up the deficit.

Transportation furloughs:

The Department of Transportation furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay Monday as the government began to feel the impact of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s one-man blockage of legislation that would keep a host of federal programs operating.

“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.”

Federal projects shut down include more than $38 million in project funding for Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest and Fernan Lakes Idaho Panhandle National Forest and $86 million for bridge replacements in the Washington, D.C., area. Bunning’s home state of Kentucky has no projects affected by his action.

However, nearly 1.2 million unemployed workers, including 14,000 in Kentucky, would lose federal jobless benefits this month if Congress doesn’t extend them, according to the National Employment Law Project, a liberal-leaning research group. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that about one-third will lose benefits in the first two weeks of the month.

Letting the highway program lapse could mean an estimated 90,000 jobs lost. As many as 2 million families could lose access to local television because a copyright law expired overnight.

States hardest hit by the Monday cutoff, according to the law project, would be California, where an estimated 201,274 people could lose help, and Florida, where the total is an estimated 105,016. Other potential state totals: Georgia, 48,284; Texas, 82,850 and Illinois, 65,431.

The Department of Labor calculations show that 400,000 people will lose unemployment benefits if the Senate isn’t able to break Sen. Bunning’s block of an extension.

The White House sent the state-by-state totals to regional reporters last night. Bunning’s Kentucky is at the low end, with 4,300 people affected. Florida has one of the higher totals of 49,000, as a result of Congress not extending jobless benefits.

That’s 49,000 people who will their unemployment insurance in the State of Florida for the week ending March 13.

Bunning doesn’t really care though, because he has other “important” concerns.

“I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00 and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year,” he said on the Senate floor Friday


And how did Sen. Bunning respond to those who wanted him to drop his objections? Two words:

“Tough shit.”

Bunning stated during his arguments that unemployment benefits were akin to paying people who don’t want to work, or were too lazy to get a job. Given that Bunning is a member in good standing along with his partners in obstruction in the “Party of No,” he’s getting paid quite nicely for doing nothing more than trying to bring the government to a halt. His obstruction here is really just a lazy man’s filibuster.

Yesterday part of his reasoning for blocking the benefits for others was that he didn’t think any such thing should go forward that couldn’t be paid for.

By that standard, then perhaps he would be willing to give up his salary as well?

Why not put your salary where your mouth is, Sen. Bunning?

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The Center For American Progress has come out with a great new web tool you might want to take a look at. It’s an interactive job creation map from the first year of the Recovery Act:  Jobs Saved Or Created By The Recovery Act.

You can just roll over a state to see how many jobs were saved or created.

The numbers for Florida:

Jobs saved or created: 112,000

Jobs per hundred thousand residents: 604

Another tool you might want to check out if you haven’t yet is the Florida Transparency website that the Florida Senate launched a month ago. So far the site hasn’t gotten as much traffic as they expected. It could be that they haven’t gotten the word out very well. I don’t think many people have even heard about it or even knew it existed.

So if you’re at all interested in transparency and the Florida budget, you might want to throw some love to the website. We need all the transparency we can get and we sure don’t want them to take it down for lack of interest!

Here are those links again, below. You can also find them anytime on the sidebar on the right of this website, under my “FYI” links.

Dig in!

Transparency Florida

Interactive Map: One Year After Recovery

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