Our dumb state's dumb governor
Published: March 3, 2011
Despite the appearance of supporting tax cuts for all, Scott's plans to cut property taxes would save the average homeowner only about $100 annually in a state that already favors the rich in taxation. The rich - or corporations - currently suffer under a 2.6 percent cumulative tax rate, while low-income residents are saddled with 13.5 percent, despite the fact that Florida doesn't even levy a personal income tax. On the buttered side of the bread, Scott's asking for $700 million worth of cuts to corporate state income taxes to inspire greedy CEOs to come to Florida's vaunted sweatshops and make, well, more bread.
Just like the homebound miscreants populating newspaper message boards, Scott espouses the "anti-entitlement" notion that's currently wrecking our public schools. Why should I pay to educate your children? It's called society. His budget proposal includes a $3.3 billion cut from the state's education coffers, some of which would come from $1.4 billion carved out of education-directed property taxes. Rick Scott would rather cut you a check and let you figure out how to learn your children right.
Rick Scott will bust a motherfucking union. He may be on record in support of collective bargaining, but one phone call from Wisconsin Gov. Walker (or a fake Koch brother), and the deal will be off quicker than Scott's hair. Already, Scott's pulling the pension-gate schtick by requiring all public employees - including teachers, police officers and firemen - to begin funding their own pensions with 5 percent of their already frozen salaries. Nearly 655,000 workers will have their pay effectively cut in the wake of the Great Recession. What a fucking bargain.
Standing before a group of black legislators last month, Scott unleashed this little slice of backfire empathy: "I grew up probably in the same situation as you guys. I started school in public housing. My dad had a sixth-grade education." Several in attendance were rightfully appalled. But the veins of racial dysfunction run deeper than candor in Scott's stated policies. He stood in support of an Arizona-style immigration law throughout his campaign. He's come out against the state's $421,000 Office of Supplier Diversity, which sought to ensure minority bidding on state contracts. This is, after all, the Old South.
Also key to Scott's budget proposal were notable cuts to philanthropic agencies. Scott wants to repeal the law that established the state's Office of Homelessness. According to the Miami Herald, more than 74,000 homeless people were assisted with just $7 million just last year. Scott's also placed indigent criminal defense, rape crisis programs, unemployment and suicide prevention on the chopping block. The sooner you're out of his way, the better off he is.
Perhaps it's apt that a man who's made his millions off the backs of sick people (and the federal government) would find his most salient issue in the deep waters of the health care debate. In December, Scott's advisors hinted that there might not be much need for public hospitals. That's funny coming from an administration poised to profit off of the expansion of private health care facilities, and even funnier coming from a man who wants to decimate Medicaid and resist the federal Affordable Care Act. Back before he was known as the Republican who won by a hair with no hair, Scott spent at least $5 million of his own fortune buying television ads for his anti-reform group Conservatives for Patients' Rights. Rich patients, that is. Scott, ever the deregulator, has even come out against electronic medical records meant to stem the flood of dilated pill-mill pupils overrunning our crime news feed, meaning he probably feels pretty good right now.
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