07 March 2005

Devious plans revealed

Tomorrow, Florida's legislators will convene in Tallahassee to begin the "work of the people." Governor Bush and the Republican-controlled Legislature claim that they put the will of the people first, but we'll see. A recent poll, conducted for the Jacksonville Times-Union and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, shows that the number one issue for the people of Florida is education. The poll, which was sponsored by , shows that 34% of Floridians rank Education as their number one priority. The economy and health insurance are a distant second and third. (Read more)

It shouldn't be a surprise that Florida's citizens are up in arms over the state of public education in the Sunshine State. Florida consistently lags behind the rest of the nation in the level of education it provides its children. Governor Bush inherited a broken public education system from the Chiles administration, but unfortunately, Bush's actions only made it worse. During the 1990s, the Clinton administration's fiscal policies led to the greatest economic boom in modern American history. As a result, Florida witnessed a tremendous surge in tax revenues. Instead of investing those new dollars in important issues like education, Governor Bush spent taxpayers' money on corporate subsidies and tax cuts to wealthy investors and out-of-state companies. In 2002, the voters said that enough was enough and passed Amendment 9, which limits class size in our public schools. Studies show that the students in overcrowded schools fall behind their counterparts in more appropriately sized classrooms. Still, Governor Bush opposed Amendment 9, claiming to have "devious plans" to undermine the constitutional amendment if passed by the voters. Now, his plans have emerged.

Governor Bush has recently shown his hand, and it may win the political jackpot. At a recent press conference, the governor proposed a constitutional amendment to repeal the class size mandate passed by 52.4% of the voters in 2002. The ace up his sleeve? ... link the repeal of the class size amendment to a provision increasing starting salaries for public school teachers. Florida teachers are among the lowest paid educators in the nation, and our public schools are currently facing a crisis in recruitment and retention of quality teachers. The strategy is brilliant! In 2002, Florida's teachers were the most significant supporters of the class size amendment the FEA is faced with choosing between either smaller classes or more competitive teacher pay. This is a choice that our teachers should not be forced to make.

Of course, Governor Bush is pushing more corporate subsidies and tax cuts for his campaign contributors this year. He says we have the money for those items. But for our children's schools, the well is apparently dry. The people of Florida have voiced their concerns. Unfortunately, no one is listening.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Hank Schmidt said...

Governor Bush takes a lot of credit for cutting taxes. It should be noted that none of those taxes would be possible if not for Democratic AG Bob Butterworth's groundbreaking settlement with Big Tobacco, which created a multi-billion dollar annuity income, inteneded to defray health care costs and provide anti-tobacco education in our schools.

Instead we got tax breaks for Ostrich feed, and luxury sky-boxes at sports arenas.

Governor Bush has one sole aim: enact policy to crush Democratic influence in the public sector, and redistribute state revenue for the benefit of political contributors and cronies. A simple look at his legislative agenda clearly demonstrates no fealty to the will of the people, despite consensus at the polls for the amendments he systematically seeks to rescind.

3:36:00 PM  
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