Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) on Thursday released the following statement in response to GOP Governor Rick Scott's proposed state spending plan:
"As I predicted, the governor's proposed budget smacks of pre-election year gimmicks. While I'm glad that he now appears to have seen the error of his ways, many of the groups and areas – public school teachers, state employees, higher education – for which he's suddenly developed a new found affection are the very same ones that have borne the brunt of his deep cuts over the past two years. His proposal, for example, to raise teachers' salaries by $2,500 doesn't match two years of taxing 3 percent annually from their average $45,700 salary. And no number of teachers gathered as props in a press conference can change those facts.
"Sadly, it also appears that our Republican governor is continuing his war against the president's health care reform, despite the affirmation of its constitutionality by the U.S. Supreme Court. There is still no money in his budget for expanding Medicaid, ignoring the overwhelming support by a majority of Floridians to broaden the program, and assuring Florida's role as a national leader in the number of uninsured citizens.
"While he claims these moves are all part of continuing to keep the American Dream alive, he forgets that many of those new jobs he touts are minimum wage with no benefits, especially healthcare, that Florida has soared to first in the country for foreclosures, and that many of the corporate tax incentives he's so fond of expanding have been a dismal failure. This budget is not an investment in the things that actually turn around an economy. It's a taxpayer-financed down payment on courting votes for 2014."