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FDP Statement on Gov. Rick Scott’s Signing of 2012-2013 Budget

GOP Budget an Assault on Middle Class, Moves Our State in Wrong Direction

Tallahassee, FL – Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith today issued the following statement on Gov. Rick Scott’s signing of the 2012-2013 budget:

“There is little to be proud of in the 2012-2013 budget. What the Governor touts as an investment in education fails to restore the massive cuts made by Scott and the GOP-led Legislature last session. This budget is nothing more than the same shortsighted priorities of Florida Republicans that has put the special interests ahead of investing in education – while schools are left crumbling around our children. That is no way to lead.

“More importantly, this budget squeezes funding from critical services, putting the burden of balancing the budget squarely on the backs of Florida’s families. This budget is an assault on the middle class and fails Florida’s families in every way by moving our state in the wrong direction.”

The facts about the GOP’s war on education:

The GOP cut $300 million from higher education and universities. “The House and Senate agreed to cut universities by $300 million” [Palm Beach Post, 3/2/12]

The GOP raised tuition on college students by 5-percent. “It includes a 5 percent tuition increase for Florida college students” [Gainesville Sun, 3/5/2012]

Because the GOP cut funding, university students could and will 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]; “UNF plans to make up the remaining $5 million gap with a 15 percent tuition increase” [Florida Times Union 3/5/2012]; “’We are being put in a position of having no choice but to raise tuition,’ Ramil said” [Tampa Tribune 3/1/2012]

The GOP cuts to higher education will force Universities to cut services. “The progress USF has made to reduce class sizes and boost graduation rates is likely to be lost…there’s nothing left to deal with the $72 million worth of maintenance USF has been putting off for lack of funds, and nothing to use if a pipe springs a leak or a roof caves in” [Tampa Tribune 3/1/2012]

The GOP cut the “Bright Futures” scholarship program. “Another measure would cut thousands of students from the Bright Futures scholarships” [Miami Herald, 2/29/12]

The GOP failed to restore k-12 funding to the same level following the historic cuts they made. “St. Johns County Superintendent Joseph Joyner said, ‘an increase is not always an increase.’ He said the boost from last year does not overcome past budget cuts — $1.3 billion statewide last year alone” [Florida Times Union, 2/28/2012]

The GOP budget includes 0 dollars for public school construction and repair. “Florida’s schools, community colleges and state universities, which anticipate zero construction dollars, will be forced to stop or put off for years many dozens of new projects, including repairs to roofs and air-conditioners” [Sunshine State News, 3/3/2012]

Gov. Scott claimed 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 the GOP budget 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]

PDF of fact sheet available here:

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