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FDP Statement on Governor Scott's New Budget

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The Florida Democratic Party issues the following statement on announcement of Governor Scott’s new budget:
 
Governor Scott’s budgets have always reflected the same self-serving politics that have defined his career: slashing investment in our public schools, zeroing out funding for key environmental programs and cutting funding for veterans, healthcare and public safety – while giving huge handouts to his well-off and well-connected donors and friends. Today’s budget is more of the same – and more importantly, under Scott, Florida has cut investment in growth, leaving middle-class families with fewer well-paying jobs and fewer economic opportunities. At every turn, Scott is proving he’s only ever looking out for himself, and he can’t run away from seven years of budgets that have left hardworking Floridians worse off than when he took office.
 
SEVEN YEARS OF BAD BUDGETS AND UNFULFILLED PROMISES AS REPORTED BY THE INDEPENDENT PRESS:
 
SCOTT HAS FAILED TO LIVE UP TO HIS JOB PROMISES TO FLORIDIANS, IS PUSHING TAX PLAN THAT WOULD BENEFIT HIMSELF
 
Pensacola News Journal Editorial Board: “More Than Half The State Simply Hasn’t Seen What Scott Promised To Deliver” On Jobs. “More than half the state simply hasn’t seen what Gov. Scott promised to deliver… What they can help create are strong schools, healthy communities, clean environments, smart kids and intelligent infrastructure. Do that and the jobs will follow.” [Editorial, Pensacola News Journal,8/12/17]
 
More than half – 36 – of Florida’s 67 counties have lost jobs. There is a strong inconsistency in economy recovery from the urban areas," Laura Youmans, a lobbyist for the Florida Association of Counties. She spoke Monday to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, which hosted a panel discussion on how the state's rural areas remain plagued by lack of infrastructure, few jobs and a "brain drain." Gov. Rick Scott, a likely Senate candidate in 2018, often touts the fact that the state has created 1.3 million jobs since he took office in 2011, but panelists painted a bleak picture of the state's wide swatch of urban areas. More than half — 36 — of Florida's 67 counties have lost jobs since 2007, and most of the jobs have been lost in the state's rural areas. [Politico,11/13/17]
Palm Beach Post Editorial Board Criticized Scott For Bragging About FL’s Low Wages. “Gov. Rick Scott has spent the week on another job poaching expedition, this time in California…His pitch: Wages are low in Florida. What a terrible thing to brag about.” [Editorial, Palm Beach Post, 5/6/16]
 
Headline: Gov. Scott Would Be A Big Winner Under GOP Tax Plan. [Tampa Bay Times, 11/2/17]
 
SCOTT SIGNED BUDGETS SLASHING FUNDING FOR K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION
 
Scott Cut $1.3 Billion From K-12 Education In 2011, $300 Million From State Universities In 2012. “In this fact-check we will explain if Scott cut education by $1.3 billion in his first year in office in 2011 and then in the second year cut $300 million from state universities…. As Scott approached his first legislative session in 2011, he unveiled a budget proposal at a tea party rally that included steep spending cuts, including to education. Ultimately, the Republican-led Legislature backed some of those cuts. Multiple news articles described the cuts to K-12 education at more than $1 billion -- and many articles used that $1.3 billion figure …The state also cut $300 million from universities during Scott’s second legislative session.” [PolitiFact, 11/11/13]
 
In 2011, The Budget Signed By Scott Raised Tuition For State Universities By 8 Percent. “Under Scott’s first approved budget in 2011, the base tuition for universities increased by 8 percent.” [PolitiFact, 8/2/13]
 
2017: Scott Signed “Horrendous” Budget That Further Dismantled Public Education. “Peace in Tallahassee comes at a high price. Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders announced Friday they have agreed to spend more money on public schools, promote tourism and rework the governor's pet job incentives program. But the cost of this detente is too steep, with the governor poised to allow horrendous legislation to become law that would further dismantle public education.” [Editorial, Tampa Bay Times,6/2/17]
 
2017: Scott Signed Budget That Cut $25 Million From Florida’s State Colleges.“Part of Scott’s reasoning for vetoing the bill was his approval of about $25 million in cuts to the two-year college system. Those cuts were part of the annual 2017-18 state budget that Scott signed off on June 2.” [Inside Higher Education, 6/16/17]
 
SCOTT VETOED FUNDING FOR VETERANS EDUCATION AND HOUSING  
 
2013: Scott Vetoed $1 Million For Building Homes For Heroes Program For Veterans. “Though his veto pen struck down funding for a Broward County Holocaust education center, job training for “displaced homemakers” and a “Building Homes for Heroes” program for veterans.” [Miami Herald, 5/20/13; Office Of The Governor Of Florida, 2013 Veto List]
 
In 2013, Scott Vetoed $2 Million In Financial Aid For Post-9/11 Active Duty Military And Veterans Attending College Or University. “Scott, however, used his veto pen to eliminate nearly $368 million worth of projects placed in the budget by state legislators…VETERAN EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS: $2 million in financial aid set aside to pay living expenses for active duty military and veterans attending college or a university. The aid was limited to roughly 2,700 students who were in military on or after Sept. 11, 2001.”[Associated Press, 5/20/13]
 
2011: Scott Vetoed $12 Million From Homeless Veterans Program. “In his speechThursday, Scott omitted many of the serious-sounding programs he cut: homeless veterans, meals for poor seniors, a council for deafness, a children's hospital, cancer research, public radio, whooping-cough vaccines for poor mothers or aid for the paralyzed. […] National Veterans Homeless Support Group, $12 million” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/26/11]
 
UNDER SCOTT, LAW ENFORCEMENT IN FLORIDA HAS BEEN SHORTCHANGED
 
Tampa Bay Times Headline: “Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Legislature Turn Cost-Cutting Attention To Law Enforcement.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/29/11]
 
Tampa Bay Times Editorial Headline: The Price Of Shortchanging Law Enforcement. [Editorial, Tampa Bay Times, 9/18/15]
 
Gainesville Sun: “The Delays In Processing Crime Evidence” Were “Common Knowledge” To “The Governor” Yet “Funding For The FDLE Remained Stagnant.” “The backlogs at the FDLE should come as no surprise. The delays in processing crime evidence have been common knowledge among law enforcement officials, the Legislature and the governor. As delays grew longer in recent years, and Scott and the Legislature doled out tax cuts, funding for the FDLE remained stagnant.” [Editorial, Gainesville Sun, 11/24/15]
 
NBC2: Under Scott, Florida Law Enforcement Officers Still Among “Lowest Paid” In Country. “The NBC2 Investigators questioned Gov. Rick Scott about his budget's 5 percent pay raise for state law enforcement officers and why they're not being paid more. While the governor was touting the salary increase Monday morning at FDLE in Fort Myers, the NBC2 Investigators were crunching the numbers. Even with the 5 percent raise, Florida state troopers are among the lowest paid in the country. An FHP officer was making $33,977 annually. Now, the starting salary is $36,223 annually.” [NBC2,7/10/17]
 
SCOTT REPEATEDLY SIGNED BUDGETS ZEROING OUT FUNDING FOR THE FLORIDA FOREVER CONSERVATION PROGRAM
 
In 2011, Scott Zeroed Out Funding For The Florida Forever Conservation Program. ‘In Scott's first year in office in 2011, the Legislature zeroed out funding for the Florida Forever land conservation program, which received roughly $300 million annually until the Great Recession. The program eventually got $744,000 that year transferred from existing state funds.’ [TC Palm, 7/12/17]
 
In 2017, Scott Signed Budget That Zeroed Out Funding For The Florida Forever Program. ‘Despite a 2014 constitutional amendment to funnel more money into land conservation, budget allocations for the program haven’t surpassed $15.2 million, and this year it was zeroed out.’ [TC Palm, 7/12/17]
 
SCOTT OPPOSED BUDGET PLAN TO EXPAND MEDICAID, WOULD PERSONALLY BENEFIT FROM ACA REPEAL 
 
Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board: Scott “All But Crushed” Hopes Of 800,000 Floridians To Get Healthcare Through Medicaid Expansion By Opposing State Senate Budget Plan. “This week Gov. Rick Scott all but crushed the hopes of 800,000 Floridians to get private health insurance by apparently ruling out his support for a bipartisan Senate plan to expand coverage using federal tax dollars.  Scott hasn't been moved to back the plan by the Senate's Republican leaders. He hasn't been persuaded by the business and hospital representatives behind the free-market approach. He's been deaf to pleas from advocates for the poor. He hasn't followed the example of other GOP governors who have expanded coverage.” [Editorial, Orlando Sentinel, 4/8/15]
 
POLITICO Florida Headline: “Scott Would See Big Tax Savings Under Obamacare Repeal” [POLITICO Florida, 4/11/17]
 
SCOTT SLASHED FUNDING FOR NURSING HOMES, LEADING TO LESS DIRECT CARE PROVIDED TO SENIORS
 
2011 And 2012: Scott “Slashed” Funding For Nursing Homes. “State payments to hospitals and nursing homes treating Medicaid patients have been slashed the past two years under Scott.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/13]
 
AP: Measure Signed By Scott To Reduce Direct Care Provided To Seniors At Nursing Homes “Seen As A Cost-Cutting Measure In The Face Of” Cuts To Funding For Nursing Homes. “…another legislative change, to lower the staff-to-resident ratio requirements for nursing homes, did pass, seen as a cost-cutting measure in the face of reductions to Medicaid reimbursements. It reduces the average amount of direct care provided residents by 18 minutes each day. ‘Eighteen minutes can be the difference between someone coming in and putting food on the tray and not having time to feed someone," said Jeff Johnson, AARP's interim state director. "Or it's another 18 minutes that someone has to sit in a soiled diaper.’” [Associated Press, 5/22/11]
 
SCOTT REPEATEDLY SLASHED FUNDING FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
 
2017: Scott Signed Budget Cutting Mental Health And Substance Abuse Treatment Funding By More Than $11 Million. “The bill, along with the Public Health Emergency that Scott directed in May, will help communities fight the national opioid epidemic, according to a news release from Scott’s office. Scott was joined by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Gauger, Senate President Joe Negron, and local law enforcement officers. But this year, lawmakers cut mental health and addiction services by more than $11 million.” [News 4 Jax, 7/11/17]
 
The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board Said Scott’s 2016 Budget Proposal Would Result In “Gutting” State Programs, Like Mental-Health Services. “The governor's budget proposal would result in further gutting state programs such as mental-health services that already rank near the bottom nationally in spending. It comes as the state still hasn't fully addressed how to fill budget gaps created by the failure to expand Medicaid. While Scott oversaw Florida's recovery from the recession, his plan might create an even bigger budget crisis during the next downturn. Lawmakers should listen to state economists and make decisions that better ensure Florida's long-term fiscal stability.” [Editorial, The Gainesville Sun, 11/12/15]
 
2011: Scott Proposed $178 Million Cut To State Agency In Charge Of Substance Abuse Programs. “Many of the state's programs for mental health and substance abuse are administered by the Department of Children and Families. Scott is proposing to cut more than $178 million from that state agency.” [Editorial, The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News, 2/16/11]
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