Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Details, Details

Gov. Rick Scott’s budget is getting the once-over twice in Tallahassee, and for once there is bipartisan agreement on something: just about everybody hates it.

Whether it was his billions in cuts to Medicaid or to schools, legislators said they weren’t sure what Scott specifically wanted to do in his budget, which would further widen a $3.6 billion shortfall next year due to nearly $2.4 billion in proposed tax cuts.

The criticisms and tough questions weren’t limited to Democrats; Scott’s fellow Republicans were skeptical of what many thought were skimpy details in his $65.9 billion budget.

The bipartisan concerns underscored a growing sense in the Legislature that Scott’s proposal is rooted in unrealistic political calculations, not the subtle calculus it takes to run the nation’s fourth-most populous state. In the House K-12 budget committee on Tuesday morning, eyebrows arched and heads shook as lawmakers tried digesting Scott’s plan to slash state-paid per-student spending by 10 percent.


Scott, elected with strong tea party support, hopes activists change legislators’ minds. Scott wants them to pressure lawmakers to pass his budget, which he unveiled at a tea party rally in the rural town of Eustis. The governor urged the crowd of roughly 1,000 on Monday to pressure lawmakers on his budget.

“What I hope from you is that you get very active in this whole campaign,” Scott said Monday. He said the state can’t afford its government and that the Legislature needs to adopt his “jobs budget.”

Later, in a semi-private dinner with three top Senate Republicans at the Governor’s Mansion, Scott urged the lawmakers to “just pass it [the budget],” according to a report posted on the Fine Print blog, which also noted that Scott’s chief policy advisor told the lawmakers that the eyes of the nation will be looking at the Republican Legislature to see if it enacts Scott’s “fiscally conservative” budget.

Mr. Scott seems to think that he’s still the CEO of a company as opposed to being an elected official who is supposed to represent all of the people of the state, not just the cranky old white folks who don’t know anything about history or economics except for what they get from Glenn Beck and the orders from the mother ship through their tin-foil hats.