Floridians Consider Taxes, Budget Cuts, and Effects on the Everglade State

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copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

On April 15, as Floridians rush to file tax forms few think of more than the burden.  The cost of living in the Sunshine State is high.  Levies are higher.  Each year, the toll these expenditures take on the lives of individuals and families increases.  Many citizens in this Southern State cry, “We need some relief!”  Representative have heard the call and responded.  Yet, the reaction may not be as thoughtful as it first appears to be.

Floridians may wish to consider the plea Democratic Party Chair, Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman presents.  The Congresswoman discusses a stark reality.  Change may come at the expense of the common people.  A reduction in dollars and cents spent does not always equate to a savings.

Many in The Orange State are grateful.  Representatives in the State reviewed the budget and then expressed a belief cuts must be made.  Prompted by much public angst, the Conservatives may claim the people want the Legislature to be more restrained.  Few would argue that this is true.  What is equally valid is the fact that few would wish to compromise the safety, security, or sanity of the poorest people, and those who are physically most dependent on others.  If the impoverished are in need, incidental costs amass and local communities pay the ultimate price.

Our children, and their education, are vital.  The progeny are our future.  Parents are also not persons we would wish to hurt.  Throughout our lives Moms and Dads, now elderly protected us.  Now, we must help provide for their safety and security, just as they did for us.  Without the person who cared for us in our younger years, we would not be as profound and emotionally prosperous as we are.

The police and fire men and women also help ensure our safety and security.  Floridians, please ask yourself, can you afford to chance that these public servants may not be there when you need them most?

Granted, in this moment a resident of Florida may not be able to see into the future.  Today, he or she may think himself or herself healthy.  However, all living creatures must consider that cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia does not knock on the door and ask for an invitation to enter a body.  These catastrophic illnesses creep up on a being silently, too often suddenly.  When people are fit, they need to ponder the possibility that has become more probable in many American households.  Insurers have cut coverage.  Co-pays are more exorbitant.  Businesses have eliminated Health Care benefits.  As the economy worsens and profits are negligible, this trend is likely to increase.  Floridians need to consider what might occur in hospitals as the cost of care soars .

There is much to contemplate as Floridians assess the quality of life and the proposed budget cuts.  I invite readers to respond to the impending crisis.  Planned budget cuts may not be the blessing citizens in the Everglade State thought they would be.  It is possible to remove allocations that do not serve the common folk well.  Floridians, please, let us look before we leap.  Do not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Please, ponder the profound impacts these changes may bring, rather than rely on clichés.  

Seemingly, simple solutions rarely address the specifics that are all too real in the lives of residents.  The thoughts of the Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman  may help the people in Florida to make an informed decision.

Help if you choose.  Click on any of the links if you wish to act in the interest of those you love, Mom, Dad, son, daughter, spouse, and you .  .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“If a state had its priorities straight, balancing a budget on the backs of the working poor, the elderly and the disabled would be the last option.  This year in Florida, it’s the first option… the Republican-led House and Senate [have] completed mutually heartless, stupid budgets…”

– Palm Beach Post Editorial, 4/15/08

Dear Florida Democrats,

Today is tax day in America, which means that we’ve all got money on the mind, even more than usual.  Times are tough.  Florida families are being squeezed, either directly or indirectly, by skyrocketing gas prices, rising health care costs, the continued housing crisis and, of course, the subprime mortgage disaster.

Moreover, the Republicans’ reckless policy of raising property taxes on middle class families to pay for special interest tax loopholes has been devastating.  You won’t ever hear them admit to raising taxes, but it’s true.  They’ve increased the required local effort – local property taxes – time and again.

Now the Republican politicians in Tallahassee want to squeeze the people of Florida even more – including the most vulnerable among us.  I’m always amazed by how heartless and self-serving Republicans in power are, but the proposed state budgets from the House and Senate mark a new low.

It’s not over yet, however.  As the “leaders” of the Republican-controlled Legislature negotiate the final budget, we must send them a strong and clear message: Get your priorities straight – NOW.

Click below to use our automated online tool to send a message to Republican Senate President Ken Pruitt, possible future Senate President Jeff Atwater, Speaker Marco Rubio and Speaker-Designate Ray Sansom today.


What do the Republicans want?  I’ll tell you:

The Republicans want to reduce per student spending in K-12 education for the first time in almost 40 years.  They want to eliminate Everglades clean-up efforts.  Though child abuse rises as the economy dives, they’re going after more than 70 child-protection jobs.

The Republicans also want to gut the highway patrol and reduce public safety.  They want to lay off almost 2,000 corrections officers, despite prisons being stretched to the limit already.  They want to cut a third of the state’s probation officers – the law enforcement specialists whose job it is to keep convicted sexual predators away from your children.

Republicans want to reduce hospice care for seniors and decimate county health departments and Area Health Education Centers, where Florida’s poorest in rural areas and underserved urban communities often go for their medical care.  They want thousands of inner-city school kids in Miami to see their doctors less often.

The Republicans want to end hospital care for 20,000 people with catastrophic illnesses and reduce access to anti-rejection drugs for Floridians who have received life-saving organ transplants.

The Republicans don’t have to do this.  Florida has a rainy day fund, and there are plenty of corporate tax loopholes that can be closed.  Democrats in the Legislature are fighting tooth and nail against the Republicans’ terrible decisions, but they need your help.

Click below to send a message to the Republicans in charge.  Write them about a personal story, and tell them to stop their recklessness before it hurts more Floridians.


They’ve spared nothing – except their special interest buddies.

Speaker Rubio secretly inserted language into the House budget to allow a friend’s company to bid for a multi-million dollar state contract.  While the Republicans want to slash financial aid and increase tuition for college students, Sen. Mike Haridopolos is accepting $75,000 a year to lecture part-time – on top of the $150,000 in state money he took to write a book that was never published.

Atwater, who thinks he should be Senate President, tried to kick bail bondsmen some cash, until he was caught red-handed by Democratic Sen. Arthenia Joyner.  Meanwhile, President Pruitt is allowing Atwater to take $7000 a month to train his future chief of staff – an unprecedented waste of taxpayer money.

Democrats proposed an alternative budget, and of course, the Republicans rejected it.  But that doesn’t mean we should back down.  Someday we’ll have a Legislature that works for the people again.  Until then, we have to speak up loudly.  Please take a few minutes today and write the Legislature before it’s too late.

Thank you for your commitment.


Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman

Chair, Florida Democratic Party

P.S. This Republican recession is a mess, and the Republican Legislature’s budget plans are going to make it even worse – if we don’t act now.  Send a message today:


Floridians who care thank those who also choose to do more than stress, then slice, and dice the necessary expenditures, those that ensure that inhabitants of the Sunshine State are safe, sane, and remain stable.