Gov. Rick Scott’s budget proposals for Florida are so drastic that not even the Republicans in the state legislature are happy with them.
Scott proposed spending almost $66 billion — $4.6 billion less than this year’s budget. Scott also wants to eliminate 7 percent of the state’s government jobs, which would mean about 6,700 state-worker layoffs. He wants even more cuts the following year.
Scott’s proposal was cheered by conservative activists and businesses, but it provoked a lukewarm response from fellow Republicans in the state Capitol. Democrats, unions and state workers could barely contain their bitterness over Scott’s calls to cut billions from schools, pensions and health programs.
Though cutting state jobs would temporarily add to the state’s unemployment rate, Scott said his “jobs budget” would improve the economy by shrinking state government and cutting $2.4 billion in revenue, from major school-property taxes to the little known alligator-egg collection permit fee.
He made the announcement in front of a rah-rah gathering of Tea Partiers in the hamlet of Eustis, perhaps just to prove that he’s still on the campaign trail in the part of the state where being cranky, white, and paranoid about the “guvamint” is par for the course. (The only state agency that is getting an increase is the Executive Office of the Governor.) The budget cuts taxes for the rich and screws over the people who can’t do anything about it — school kids, people on pensions, and those without healthcare. Mr. Scott is living up to the true creed of the Tea Party: I got mine, screw you.
If this budget goes through — and it’s so radical that even the righties in Tallahassee are hating it — Florida will be stupid, broke, and sick. Welcome to Paradise.