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News

Rick Scott’s budget doesn’t make any cents

As polling numbers dwindle, the governor races to craft a new math

Photo: , License: N/A


JUST THE STATS

 

$74.2 BILLION

SIZE OF GOV. RICK SCOTT’S 2014-2015 “IT’S YOUR MONEY TAX CUT BUDGET” PROPOSAL AS INTRODUCED JAN. 29 TO FLORIDA LEGISLATORS AND THE MEDIA

 

$542 MILLION

PROPOSED INCREASE IN STATE FUNDING OF K-12 SCHOOLS, AMOUNTING TO APPROXIMATELY $169 MORE PER STUDENT

 

$678 MILLION

PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS TO THE FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION, BECAUSE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL NO LONGER PROVIDE FEDERAL DOLLARS TO MEDICAID-FRIENDLY DOCTORS THIS YEAR, EVEN AS THE GOVERNOR HAS REFUSED $51 BILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION UNDER THE ACT

 

“FLORIDA WAS IN A HOLE, AND FOR FOUR YEARS, THERE WAS JUST MORE DIGGING. TODAY, ALL THAT HAS CHANGED.”
– GOV. RICK SCOTT
SOURCE: TAMPA BAY TIMES

NOT YOUR MONEY

Quick, somebody yank the fiscal responsibility emergency brake! Gov. Rick Scott has finally revealed the entirety of his “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” – after creating a terrible logo and setting his press team on a slow information drip for the past month or so – and it’s full of the exact smoke and mirrors you might expect from a governor with flagging polling and a bad reputation for honesty. Though he didn’t make the big reveal in the closed quarters of the Villages while being circled by the golf-cart wagons of elderly Tea Party enthusiasts (sooooo 2011), his message retained his characteristic obfuscation along with that sort of gloating peculiar to people who refer to their own actions as “historic” while everyone else in the room makes coughing noises.

We’ve been informing you of Scott’s “It’s Your Money” and “It’s Working” hashtaggability for some time now: Everything from the Everglades to the elderly to the environment has been getting special mention for your pocketbook interests. But the most controversial of Scott’s obsessions has come, once again, in his neither-here-nor-there interest in “public” education; the quote marks come mostly because the governor has rarely delineated between public schools and charter schools when he’s either chopping $3 billion in education spending or beefing it up by $1 billion each year since. Who’s counting?

Well, apparently the governor isn’t. Though this year’s budget aims to increase K-12 spending by $542 million, much of that increase isn’t coming from that elusive $846 million budget surplus that the governor has been waving like a dollar-bill flag for the past forever. In fact, it’s coming from property value increases, which begat increases in property tax collections, which means $375 million of that grand educational gesture is coming from a tax increase, which is goblin-speak in conservative quarters. It’s your money, after all. Why aren’t you getting it back?

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