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Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

0610wilma425On Nov. 21- right before Thanksgiving- the state got the final economic breakdown about Florida’s revenue future- and it was not something to give thanks for. If you haven’t heard, check out this morning’s St. Pete Times or Miami Herald.

The short story is that the state bet on a high growth rate, but because of the economy, that growth rate just doesn’t exist anymore. The state will be short more than $31 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B, people) in revenue that it expected over the next four years just won’t exist.

Problem? I think so. But, apparently, platitudes are supposed to get me through the hard times. Charlie Crist, Cheerleader in Chief, had this to say in response…

Florida will probably come out of it first. I mean, the sun always comes up in Florida first.”

Well, thanks Charlie, I’ll be sure to file that under the “are you effing kidding me” category. First, let’s start with Florida isn’t the eastern most state, so the sun doesn’t come up first here. But, more importantly, platitudes aren’t going to help; this isn’t leadership. Florida is facing a huge crisis here, and this doesn’t exactly boost my morale, let alone the state economy.

But, at least Alex Sink is paying attention. Alex understands that unfortunately the state banked on a high growth rate, that’s dwindling, and she responded to the numbers saying the following:

We can’t rely any more on attracting fixed-income retirees from up north and selling them cheap land…Those days are over.”

Ah, leadership. Understanding of the issues. How I miss yee.

Florida should be demanding more; we certainly need leadership that befits such a great state.

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Alex Sink called for a special session, and here at DraftAlex, we’re backing her up.

In case you don’t know about the myriad of projects that would be cut or just deleted from the state budget, you can go online to the Florida Fiscal Portal and check it out. Each state agency has submitted their proposed cuts, which can be seen under Sechedule VIIB-2, in order to comply with the additional 10% of the across the board budget cuts asked for by Charlie.

Here’s a few that chafed my ass the most:

  • No more Amber alerts or sexual predator unit
  • Eliminate 13 state law enforcement offices from Broward to Gainsville
  • Reduction of probation supervision by 40% making the probation officer to parolee ration 1:196
  • Cut contracts that improve nursing homes and organ and tissue donation programs
  • Eliminate health coverage for poor pregnant mothers and their kids
  • Eliminate vision, hearing, and dental appointments from Medicare
  • Dramatically reduced support for Pre-K
  • Significant reduction in investigative services and child protection at DCFS
  • $65 Million in funding shifts in Medicare to local governments who don’t have the money either
  • Reduction of unemployment services for over 88,000 Floridans out-of-work including closing 10 centers

and the kicker: From the Office of the Governor, eliminate 10 budget workers.

At least a lot of this has to be approved by the legislature, although that means we have to count on them to stand up for us.

On Friday, Charlie said, “These are historically challenging economic times our state is facing, but just like Florida’s families, we will continue to tighten our belts and live within our means.”

Are you kidding me? This isn’t just about tightening the state’s belt, this is about not getting the water shut off.

Oh, and if you haven’t yet, sign our petition to call for a special session to back up Alex and other state Democrats.

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sinkwithcristSo cliche to say, but: If you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention.

Have you stopped to think what will be affected by Charlie Crist’s across the board (read: lazy) budget cuts? Well, a local Jacksonville news station helps to spell it out: public safety programs are at risk.

If the Department of Law Enforcement is forced to make more cuts, two very important programs will be getting axed. They are the Amber Alert program, that helps the FDLE find missing children, and the Sex- Offender registry notifications, which after you sign up for it will notify you if a sex-offender moves into your neighborhood.

My point is this: After two years of across the board budget cuts, there’s not fat left to cut out for agencies like the FDLE. So, with more proposed across the board cuts, Florida is starting to cut out the muscle and the bone, programs that are key to the infrastructure and safety of the state.

I can’t say it enough times: Alex Sink is right, and Florida needs a special session to tackle the budget issues, so that programs critical to state safety aren’t cut.

Sign DraftAlex’s petition to pressure Charlie into calling for a special session now.

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After she made it clear to the Council of 100 that we need a special session, Alex Sink continued to talk about the need for the session with Steve Bousquet of the St. Pete Times. She said:

I do not see any way we can afford to wait until March to deal with a potential $1-billion-plus shortfall in this budget year. That’s just an impossible situation.

0610wilma425Alex Sink is looking to get working now on fixing the budget and getting ready for a hard year, but Charlie Crist and the Republican leadership are taking a wait and see approach.

This isn’t just a question of next year’s budget- Alex Sink want to use targetted cut spending right now, so we aren’t harder hit next year.

Charlie Crist is worried trying to fix the problem now might make people think things are bad.  Well Charlie things are bad, and while you wait to see which way the wind is blowing — the situation is only getting worse.

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While Charlie Crist tries to ignore McCain’s loss, and Samson claims momentum while not wanting a special session. –Alex Sink is filling the leadership vacuum in Tallahassee.

She has asked for Crist to call a special session of the legislature to deal with the budget – and boy do we need it.

The Orlando Sentienal tells us Charlie is asking to borrow another 1.25 billion from the state trust fund that has to be paid by June and we are expecting a 3.5 billion shortfall for the next budget. That is a lot of billions of dollars that Republicans would prefer to worry about sometime next year.

“You have the ugly possibility of cutting deep into our state’s basic needs, education and services.” Dave Aaronberg told the post.

Instead of starting to work now on budget cuts and reducing spending to prevent borrowing the Republicans would prefer to go on spending the money at the same rate and worry about it next year – like the budget is some college paper they can wait until the last minute to deal with.

Alex knows it is not as simple as taking a hatchet to the budget and cutting all departments by 10%, cutting that much out of the budget isn’t easy if you want to make sure it doesn’t hurt Floridians. It will only get worse next year if we don’t start now.

Alex Sink is right – we need a special session now.

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