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FL Dems Across State Blast GOP Cuts to Higher Education

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Across the state, Florida Democrats are speaking out: joining Sen. Bob Graham, FDP Chair Smith and Florida University students in blasting the GOP's cuts to higher education which have caused tuition to spike and hurt our students, parents and teachers. And while the Republicans cut millions from Florida's universities, they continued to waste tax dollars on handouts to Tallahassee special interests. Statements and background below: 

STATEMENT FROM FRANK BRUNO, SD-8:

"Florida Republicans are squeezing the middle class, hiking tuition rates for colleges and universities while giving tax breaks to Tallahassee special interests,” said Democratic candidate Frank Bruno. “These aren’t our values and they aren’t the values that will create an economy in Florida that is built to last. It is time we invest in our children’s future by cutting wasteful spending of our tax dollars and reinvesting in the next generation.” 

STATEMENT FROM MARIA SACHS, SD-34:

"Republicans like Bogdanoff have led an assault on our education system: voting to cut millions of dollars from our universities which has caused tuition to spike on our students and made it harder for middle class families to afford college and higher education," said Maria Sachs. And while Bogdanoff was draining funding from the schools middle class families rely on, she had no problem squandering our tax dollars on handouts to Tallahassee special interests. Investing in education, at every level, is the key to growing our economy and is the pathway to economic opportunity for Floridians, which is why I've stood up to the GOP's attacks on our schools and will continue to fight to ensure that our parents, students and teachers have the quality education system they deserve and expect." 

STATEMENT FROM KAREN CASTOR DENTEL, HD-30: 

"As a teacher and a parent, I know first hand how important it is for our children that we invest in public education at every level — which is why it's been so frustrating to watch the Republicans in Tallahassee drain millions of dollars from our public schools, slash millions from our universities and raise the cost of higher education for students," said Karen Castor Dentel. These misguided priorities are hurting middle class families. That's why I've pledged to make investing in quality schools one of my top priorities, so that we can finally put our students, teachers and middle class families first." 

STATEMENT FROM EILEEN GAME, HD-42:

"The GOP has drained millions of dollars from our universities — making it harder for middle class families to afford a higher education, and these are not the values of our state," said Eileen Game. "Republicans say that we need to make hard choices, but what they are presenting is a false choice: squandering our tax dollars on handouts to Tallahassee special interests instead of investing in the public schools that are the key to growing our economy. These misguided priorities need to change, which is why I'm running to bring accountability and fiscal responsibility back to our state government."

STATEMENT FROM LINDA STEWART, HD 47:

"Republicans in Tallahassee have led an assault on our higher education system: slashing millions from universities and forcing tuition to spike for students — including a 15-percent increase at nearby UCF. Investing in our schools, colleges and universities is the pathway to opportunity for middle class families and the key to growing our economy and attracting quality businesses which can create jobs," said Linda Stewart. "But instead of making these critical investments, the Republicans in Tallahassee have squandered our tax dollars on handouts to corporate special interests and drained millions of our education dollars from our schools. These our the wrong priorities for our students, the wrong priorities for our parents, and the wrong priorities to grow our economy middle class families." 

STATEMENT FROM DWIGHT DUDLEY, HD-68

"Rick Scott and the Republicans have lead an assault on our state's education and forced tuition to spike for Florida students at our colleges and universities," said Dwight Dudley. "Republicans in Tallahassee have the wrong priorities and instead of making the tough decisions, they are squeezing the middle class and giving tax breaks to special interests. It’s the middle class that needs their help. Higher education is part of the American dream, but it's slowly slipping out of reach for too many families in Florida. It’s time for a new direction." 

STATEMENT FROM JOSH SHULMAN, HD-69:  

"An investment in education is an investment in our children’s future and in our state’s economy," said Democratic candidate Josh Shulman. "Instead of strengthening education and making smart investments toward our future, the Republicans are giving away our tax dollars to the Tallahassee special interests. It’s time we put the interests of the middle class and of our children ahead of the Republican’s political cronies – it’s just that simple.” 

STATEMENT FROM JOSE JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, HD 112

"Whether increasing our insurance rates for homeowners or causing tuition to spike for our students, Republicans in Tallahassee our increasing the burden on middle class families in every way," said Jose Javier Rodriguez. "Instead of investing the schools that our students, parents and teachers deserve and expect, Republicans have squandered our tax dollars on handouts to Tallahassee special interests, We deserve a representative who will stand up for our parents, teachers and students and make our investments which will grow our economy and reflect our values."

STATEMENT FROM IAN WHITNEY, HD-120:

“It’s simply unacceptable that our tax dollars continued to be doled out to special interests while our students' tuition rates rise,” said Democratic candidate Ian Whitney. “We can and must do better. It’s time for a new direction and fresh leadership to reinvest in education and get our school system working for our children and middle class families again.” 

BACKGROUND:

In 2012, Republicans cut $300 million for higher education and universities. “The House and Senate have agreed to cut universities by $300 million” [Palm Beach Post ,3/1/2012]

Republicans forced students to face tuition increases. “Students still could face double-digit tuition increases while schools will spend less to educate them” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]; “’We are being put in a position of having no choice but to raise tuition,’ Ramil said” [WUSF, 3/1/2012

UCF Trustees made clear that state budget cuts to higher education were prompting tuition increases.  “UCF trustees reluctantly approved tuition increases in May while making it clear that they are concerned about repeated state budget cuts to higher education” [UCF Board of Governors,6/21/12

At Gulf Coast University, "Students sign petition protesting education cuts." Florida Gulf  Coast University students say they are fed up with the years of state funding cuts to education and they are taking action. Students have started a petition denouncing the $3.6 million in cuts. Students this school year will spend less time inside Florida Gulf Coast University's library, and not because they choose to. The university says it can no longer afford to keep the campus building open late at night or on Saturday…'The state really needs to invest more, not less in higher education and make that affordable    and have access for more, not fewer students,' said Bradshaw. [ABC 7, 9/20/12

All public Florida universities will see tuition increases between 9% and 15%. The hikes come as Florida’s public universities are hit by $300-million dollars in state funding cuts [ABC, 6/21/12

In 2012, Republican's budget raised tuition on college students by 5-percent. “It includes a 5 percent tuition increase for Florida college students” [Gainesville Sun, 3/5/12]

Republicans like Rick Scott said education would be a priority. “I’d like to focus on what I believe are the three most important jobs I have… two, securing the right of every Floridian to a quality education” [Gov. Scott’s “State of the State,” 1/9/2012

But Scott and Republicans puts corporate special interests over middle class families.“The proposed 2012-13 budget…is a study in pork-barrel spending, reckless policy and a shortchanged future.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]

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