In 2011, Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature teamed up to cut about $1.3 billion from our public education system.
The same team also collaborated to waste hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on corporate “incentives”, with precious little in the way of Job Creation or any other benefits to show for it.
Then there’s the recent study showing that eight huge – and hugely profitable – corporations headquartered here in Florida have been allowed to get away with paying state income tax on only four-percent of their profits over the last three years. Or to put it another way, these biggest of Big Businesses paid NO state taxes on 96% of their profits.
So, you may ask: What can our FL state government do in 2012 to keep being just as unfair as they damned-well want to be in granting the greedy wishes of the wealthy few, while ignoring the desperate needs of so many millions of poor and middle class Floridians?
Well, it goes something like this…
After the Education cuts and a barrelful of other bad moves, Scott had earned himself infamous status as America’s least popular governor. As he toured the state doing damage control, he heard nonstop from parents, students, teachers, principals, administrators, and community groups, all blasting him for further gutting the budget of Florida’s already underfunded and underperforming public schools.
So now, in laying out his 2012 budget plan, Scott claims to have “heard” the will of the people on Education cuts, saying he wants to give $1-billion back to public schools – which still leaves them $300-million short of 2010 and way behind where they were a few years ago…just minor details to a guy like Rick Scott, who seems to think that most of the general public either ignores or is confused by actual factual information.
Speaking of which, guess where the billion-dollar Education payback is supposed to come from? Well, this governor – whose prior career as health care CEO featured a record-setting $2-billion federal fine on his company after they committed massive Medicare fraud – wants that billion dollars for Education to be taken away from Florida’s desperately struggling public hospitals, the ones that serve the state’s poorest and neediest citizens.
Robbing Peter To Pay Paul.
Now then, if you think a big new round of cuts to public hospitals won’t affect you, consider the possibility that you or a loved one might someday suffer a sudden-onset illness or accident nearby one of them, and might have to be rushed there for immediate care. Want them understaffed and overcrowded if and when that happens?
And don’t forget the inevitable cost shift over to you in the form of higher taxes and increased health care/insurance costs – which always results when the poor are forced go without adequate or any care at all, until they’re so sick that their care then costs ten times more than it would have before.
The facts indicate that Governor Scott and the Republican Party of Florida prefer to cut and gut our essential public health and education systems, rather than make wildly profitable private corporations pay their fair share of state taxes.
Just. That. Simple.
Our collective capacity to unite in positive political action, to work together across partisan and other dividing lines, calling and emailing our elected officials and demanding a Fair Economy, once and for all…
That is what will determine whether things will get even worse for Florida in 2012, or finally begin to get better.