January 10, 2012

Scott Isn't Increasing Education Budget.

If you're following the story in the news, you might believe that Governor Rick Scott is increasing the education budget by a whopping one million dollars.  And there's a reason you might believe that; it's what The Miami Herald is reporting:
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott opened the annual legislative session Tuesday with a State of the State address punctuated by a vow to not sign a new budget unless it increases school spending by $1 billion next year.
But in fact, he's not increasing spending.  He's only restoring most - but not all - of the money he cut away from the education budget last year.  And in fact, The Herald does include this information, but sort of blows past it as it re-affirms the fictional increase:
Scott last spring signed a budget that cut school spending by $1.3 billion. But in a series of meetings with parents across the state, he said they resoundingly favored more money for schools...
Are you doing the math?  Just in case you can't slip your shoes off to count your toes, if the legislature gives Scott what he wants, he will have reduced the education budget by 300 million dollars since he's taken office.

The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel did a better job of reporting the matter:
With anti-Scott protestors crowding the Capitol halls, the Republican governor used his 34-minute State of the State speech to a joint session of the Legislature to reiterate his demand that lawmakers boost classroom spending by roughly $1 billion – after cutting $1.35 billion last year.
Makes it a little easier to see the chicanery in action, doesn't it?  And look, they didn't round down an additional $50 million like The Herald did.

The bottom line is that Rick Scott is spending $350 million less on education than his predecessor did.

And how is Governor Scott getting this $1 billion dollars, since he's slashed taxes and other sources of revenue  in order to give tax breaks to corporations and a thousand or so of the wealthiest Floridians?

He's taking it from the poor.
Scott's budget calls for cutting $1.9 billion from the $21 billion Medicaid program that treats nearly 3 million poor, sick and elderly.
I guess the ran the company that committed the largest Medicare fraud in history figures that if you're poor, sick, and dying, what's a little more pain and suffering matter?  Or perhaps this is a clever attempt to lower the unemployment rate; dead people don't show up as unemployed!

Nah, I'm sure that's just a happily opportunistic coincidence.

At least some Democrats are paying attention:
"To say we're adding money is disingenuous," said Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, a Weston Democrat who complained cutting health care to fund schools was a bait-and-switch. "The same people are ending up paying the cost of what he's asking for."   - The Sun-Sentinel
So under Rick Scott's plan, Dick and Jane might still be able to go to school, but Mom and Dad might be too sick to help them with their homework, and might even die. 

Maybe then Dick and Jane can get into foster care!  They might not be among the thousands of children who are abused and neglected, and there hasn't been a case of foster parents killing their wards in months!

Oh, wait, Govenor Scott gutted THAT agency, too.  He fired 14% of the DCF workforce in order to create more jobs.  So how is an agency that was already overwhelmed supposed to improve?
“I believe in the protective power and prayer and hope,” Governor Rick Scott’s Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said at a stop in Miami last week. - CBS4 Miami
Dick and Jane are so boned.

And we have Frank Paruas to thank.

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