TALLAHASSEE – Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich (D-Weston) issued the following statement following Republican Governor Rick Scott’s approval today of the 2012-2013 state budget:
“For the second year in a row, Governor Scott has underscored how little he truly understands about Florida and the priorities of the people he pledged to serve.
“Despite earlier announcing his intent to join Democrats in their long-standing commitment to public education, he approved a $1 billion band aid that doesn’t cover the $1.3 billion in state money his fellow Republicans slashed from Florida’s K-12 schools last year.
“The Governor also insisted he was against raising tuition at Florida’s universities, but today signed off on a budget built on those very same tuition hikes. The Governor was correct when he said ‘increasing education funding is the best investment we can make for our state’s future.’ But he left out the part about where this investment money was going to come from. Not from state government which is supposed to be paying the bills. But from students and parents who have watched the costs of a college education soar while their paychecks sank in the opposite direction.
“To add insult to injury, Governor Scott vetoed programs critical to residents throughout Florida. These weren’t so-called ‘turkeys.’ These were programs that impact all of us statewide: He struck more than $900,000 that would have immunized children against meningitis, an often fatal and highly contagious disease.
“He eliminated $3 million from the University of Miami College of Medicine- money dedicated to training Florida physicians for practice in Florida. He vetoed more than $4 million earmarked for Nova Southeastern to train Florida residents enrolled in pharmacy, nursing, and other allied health sciences, as well as an additional $2 million that would have steered these same professionals to Florida’s rural and underserved areas.
“Our seniors fared no better. Governor Scott decided to veto $6 million from Florida’s Aging Resource Centers – a well-respected network that has been guiding seniors through the daunting task of determining the best options for care in their final years. The veto of these funds results in no resources for the enormous workload that will soon be created by the implementation of the Medicaid Managed Long Term Care program, approved by the Legislature two years ago.
“Governor Scott may have found a receptive audience in the affluent enclave where he signed off on increasing the debt load on Florida’s middle class and abandoning his obligations to our children and our elderly. But for the millions of Floridians beyond those city limits, his signature on this budget means there is still no relief in sight.”