Tuesday, March 1, 2011

With a Governor Like this Who Needs Enemies?

Governor Scott - the Bald Avenger of Responsible Fiscal Decision-making (BARFD) - said it was time to "measure the heck out of everything."

So, let the measuring commence.

1. He sold two state aircraft. He took the proceeds from one to pay off the lease for the other, something he wasn't supposed to do without consulting the legislature, according to some members of the state house. He also sold these aircraft in a soft market for executive jets, thus earning an unknown loss to the taxpayers in the transaction. The transaction looked like this $3,67 million were the sale proceeds from both, the lease to be paid off on Jet #2 was $3.4 million. Thus, ($3.67 Mil-$3.4Mill= $270,000) An observer here might question why this was such an important fiscal decision to be made the moment his foot crossed the doorway in that the actual earnings to the taxpayer, when considering the soft market, are nil?

2. He proposed a budget that would give $4 billion in tax cuts to large corporations, during a time when he claims there is a massive budget shortfall. He then proposes cutting $3 billion from education via local property taxes. In effect, taking the money cut from education and handing it to those corps, leaving a $1 billion deeper hole in the allegedly massive deficit. Thus he is increasing the deficit he says these plans are designed to reduce.  -$1 billion

3. He continues to push for the nixing of High Speed Rail, which in effect, sends $2.4 billion originally slated for Florida to California so they can develop their rail system ahead of us, and in so doing nixing 24,000 jobs.  -$2.4 billion

4. He brokered a deal giving Bing Energy $1.9 million in tax relief so they could bring 240 jobs to the state. (700,000-240=)699,760 jobs to go, as opposed to (700,000-24,240=)675,760 jobs to go.

5. He and his office spent $X, where X=unknown, in an all-expenses paid, three day trip to Washington D.C. The price includes meals, gas for his jet, cars, plush accommodations, and ancillary expenditures. So far no word on how much it cost but we will get back to you. (-$X)

6. He proposes a long exhaustive legal battle between Florida and the unions, in the elimination of collective bargaining as a right under the state constitution. The fight will of course, deeply divide the citizens, and necessitate the enormous expenditure to house counsel and outside labor attorneys. Not to mention the costs in clean up and police presence during the expected protests. (-$X Million)

7. His "informal education adviser" Michelle Rhee has proposed harsh measures aimed at teachers. Pensions, and teacher tenure are now the targets. This stance of course serves to demoralize and demotivate Florida teachers. The result likely will be to thin the ranks of those seeking to enter the profession here in Florida, and  constitute a "brain drain" on the profession, statewide. Younger teachers who feel a calling for this profession, will surely seek greener pastures elsewhere, in other states where teachers are given a better deal. The legal battles in education specifically will result in unknown costs to the state taxpayers. In other words, the costs for us to defend ourselves legally, from our own teachers. (-$X million)

It should be noted Florida has risen from the bottom twelve to the top five public school departments in the nation since 2000. So in effect, he seems desirous of breaking something that was demonstrably in the process of fixing itself; a massive perversion of the refrain "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

The loss to the state in this regard of course is incalculable. State students receiving a poorer education will slip from the top five in the rankings down to the bottom rungs, as has South Carolina, who cut massive holes in their education system to "incentivize" big business. Former Gov. Mark Sanford's approach, has in fact served to hinder education while not attracting business to South Carolina. The unheeded lesson being tax breaks can't force companies to choose a state where the employees can't adequately prepare their children for a future.

The loss to education, the loss to students, loss to the state has an exponential, if not, logarithmic negative affect. (-$X^2 million)

8. Governor Scott has effectively, or is attempting to nix a state data base on "Pill Mills" a problem for not only the state's law enforcement community, but the nations. These unscrupulous pain clinics and their perennial clients abuse the insurance industry and the medical community, and the law enforcers by providing dangerous drugs under cover of prescriptions. The pervasion of these drugs continues to reduce the quality of life, kill citizens who become addicted.  The cost here is unknown for not having a database to better help law enforcers track these clinics and those who use them. (-$X million)

For now we tally what we know.

Known and proposed dollar losses, to date, for the Rick Scott plan = -$3.4 billion- $270,000 (jet proceeds)= -$3,399,730,000.

Known job losses to date- 24,000-1,700 corrections officers -8,700 other state workers =-34,440+240 Bing Energy Jobs= -34,160

At the present time we conclude that the governor  isn't serving the state so much as - quite literally - attacking it. His effort seems to be to destroy the actual fabric of that which is working, that which is actually holding the state together, while reducing the quality of life and making it more dangerous for the law enforcement community, and the department of corrections!

We note with alarm he attacks that which works, FIRST, education. The bi-product of giving the money from teachers to corporations - a sort of "raping Peter, to pay Paul" if you will - may not be the point at all, but only serve as a kind of plumage; signalling to higher authority in Washington, and in corporate America, that he is on-board with their plans here in Florida. Those plans could include anything from a repeat of the Enronification of the energy grid, to whatever may most insult and injure Floridians. Who really knows?

In sum, and to quote another common refrain, with a governor like this, who needs enemies?

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