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New Incoming House Democratic Leader’s Claims In The South Florida Sun-Sentinel vs. The Facts

STATEMENT FROM RPOF CHAIRMAN LENNY CURRY: “When it comes to investing in Florida’s future, Representative Mark Pafford has no business attacking Governor Rick Scott and the Republican legislature. Need we remind Pafford that nearly eighty percent of Democrats in the legislature voted for the Governor’s budget while he ended up in the extreme minority of his own party by voting against it? Governor Scott’s focus on jobs and putting the state government’s fiscal house in order have provided us the economic and financial stability to help all Floridians. 


CLAIM: “In The Coming Months, You’ll Hear More About Ideas That Democrats In The House Of Representatives Hope To Bring Forward. I’m Also Confident That You’ll Hear More From The Democratic Candidates For Governor About Why New Leadership Is Needed In The Governor’s Office.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Four Out Of Every Five Democrat Legislators, House And Senate, Voted For Gov. Rick Scott’s And GOP Legislature’s Budget. (Floor Vote, Bill Number 1500, Florida House of Representatives, 5/3/13; Floor Vote, Bill Number 1500, Florida Senate, 5/3/13)


CLAIM: “Florida Lacks Long-Term Economic Development And Planning Strategies Due To Unstable Resources And Shifting Focus.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Rick Scott’s Focus On Jobs And “Policies Of Tax Cuts And Less Regulation Have Helped The Economy.” (Jeff Ostrowski, “UCF Economist: Florida On Track To Exceed Gov. Scott’s Job Creation Promise,”The Palm Beach Post, 11/21/13)

FACT: South Florida Sun-Sentinel Columnist Kingsley Guy Says Democratic Claims That Rick Scott Has Nothing To Do With Sunshine State’s Recovery Are Refuted By Comparing Florida To Other States. “Democrats will claim Scott and the GOP-dominated Legislature had nothing to do with the relatively low unemployment number … If the Florida recovery is solely a by-product of the business cycle and national policies, why aren’t the other hardest-hit states keeping pace with Florida? Clearly, they aren’t.” (Kingsley Guy, “Crist Brings Charisma, But Tough Fight Looms,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/17/13)

  • FACT: Under Rick Scott, Florida Has Had The Second Largest Drop In Unemployment Out Of All 50 States And DC, Decreasing By 4.4 Percentage Points, More Than Twice The Rate Of The Entire Country (2.0 Percentage Points). (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/2/13)
  • FACT:”Economic Recovery Taking Shape; State Expected To Outperform Nation Long Term.” (Nicole Johnson, “Florida Back On Track,” Moody’s Investor Service, 6/27/13)


CLAIM: “Schools … Are In Need Of Serious Repair … Public School Teachers Are Demoralized …” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Rick Scott’s Budget Includes The Highest State Contribution To Florida K-12 Schools In History. ”The budget I announce tomorrow will include an increase of $1.2 billion in funding for K-12 public schools. That’s right – a $1.2 billion increase in funding for K-12 public schools. This total includes $10.7 billion in state funding for Florida K-12 schools – the highest state funding level in history. This funding commitment represents per student funding of around $6,800 – an increase of more than $400 per student, or around 6.5 percent, over the current fiscal year.” (Remarks to Associated Press, “$1.2 Billion Increase In Funding For K-12 Public Schools,” Gov. Rick Scott, 1/30/13)

FACT: Florida Teacher Union President Praises Gov. Rick Scott For Teacher Pay Raises. “FEA thanks Governor Scott for his efforts to provide an immediate across-the-board pay increase to Florida’s classroom teachers in recognition of their demonstrated performance which has brought Florida’s education system to sixth in the nation.  FEA applauds the infusion of additional resources into public education as was proposed by the Governor.” (Press Release, “Governor Rick Scott And Florida Teachers Applaud $480 Million To Give Every Teacher A Pay Raise,” Gov. Rick Scott, 4/28/13)

  • FACT: Pafford Was In The Minority Of His Own Party, Voting “No” On Budget That Included Record State-Based Funding For Schools And Pay Raises For Teachers. (Floor Vote, Bill Number: 1500, Florida House of Representatives, 5/3/13)


CLAIM: “Vital Natural Resources … Do Not Enjoy All The Necessary Protections, And State Government Is Doing Too Little To Acquire Land For Preservation For Future Generations.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Naples Daily News‘ Dave Trecker: Under Rick Scott, Republican Legislature, “Our Environment Is Getting Much-Needed Attention,” With Resources Committed “To Shore Up Water Management In South Florida.” “Our environment is getting much-needed attention … The Florida legislature is considering $190 million in new projects to shore up water management in South Florida — most importantly to clean up polluted water coming from Lake Okeechobee and to bridge a 2.6-mile section of the Tamiami Trail that blocks water flow into the Everglades. Governor Rick Scott is on board, as are Sen. Garrett Richter and Rep. Matt Hudson. In separate presentations to civic groups this month, Richter and Hudson said water issues will be a priority in Tallahassee next year.” (Dave Trecker, “Some Other Things To Be Thankful For,” The Naples Daily News, 11/17/13)

  • FACT: Rick Scott Committed $40 Million To “Speed Up Critical Water Treatment Project” For Lake Okeechobee. (Press Release, “Gov. Scott Announces $40 Million Commitment To Speed Up Critical Water Treatment Project,”  Office Of Gov. Rick Scott, 8/21/13)


CLAIM: “Thousands Of Elders And People With Developmental Disabilities Stay On Waiting Lists For Basic Services.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Executive Director For Florida Council On Aging Commends Rick Scott, Republican Legislature For “Elders Who Need Assistance. ”Margaret Lynn Duggar, Executive Director, Florida Council on Aging: ”The Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott are to be commended for addressing the needs of Florida’s frail elders who need assistance to remain in their homes. Programs like Community Care for the Elderly, the Aged and Disabled Waiver and Nursing Home Diversion provide the in-home services, like meals on wheels and assistance with bathing, that help elders be independent and safe in their homes. These additional funds are essential to help some of the nearly 50,000 seniors on the waiting list for these services.” (Press Release, Florida Families First Budget Supports Florida Seniors,” Gov. Rick Scott, 6/3/13)

  • FACT: Executive Director Of Special Olympics Florida Says Rick Scott, GOP Legislature “Committed To Better Serving People With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities.” “This new $36 million in funding for the APD waiting list is critical to expanding statewide access to support services for those who need them most.  It will help grow awareness of programs like Special Olympics Healthy Community that offers comprehensive health screenings, evaluations, and wellness opportunities to a population that is generally underserved.  We are grateful that Governor Scott, the Legislature, and APD recognize and are committed to better serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; a goal that Special Olympics has routinely sought to accomplish.” (Press Release, “Florida Families First Budget Invests In Priorities For Disability Community And Vulnerable Populations,” Gov. Rick Scott, 5/20/13)


CLAIM: “They’ve Given Away Financial Resources To Wealthy Special Interests And Big Corporations To The Detriment Of The Middle Class.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Governor Passed Manufacturing Tax Cut That Will “Provide Great Incentives To An Important Group Of Employers … Who Help Grow The Nation’s Middle Class.” “To improve Florida’s job picture, that needs to change. Growing the manufacturing base in the Sunshine State is one way to add jobs and diversify the state’s workforce. Gov. Rick Scott champions the proposed tax cut, which would remove sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. The proposal has legislative support. (Editorial, “Extend Sales-Tax Relief For Florida Manufacturers,” The Daytona Beach News-Journal, 4/25/13)

  • FACT: Taxes Are Low In Florida, And “It Will Get Better” With “Further Tax Relief In 2014″ From Governor Scott. “Taxes remain low. My wife and I are from Connecticut, the most highly taxed state in the country. So we are particularly thankful to be living in Florida — where there is no state income, estate or inheritance tax … If you’re a businessman, there’s good reason to be thankful. The tax climate for businesses is the best in the Southeast, according to Commerce Secretary Gray Swoope. And it will get better. Gov. Scott said he would push for further tax relief in 2014.” (Dave Trecker, “Some Other Things To Be Thankful For,” The Naples Daily News, 11/17/13)


CLAIM: “To Date, These Same Republican Leaders Have Failed To Make Sound Investments In The State’s Infrastructure, And They’ve Failed To Plan For Florida’s Future.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Floridians For Better Transportation Says Rick Scott’s Budget Makes Strategic Improvements That “Make Good On The Governor’s Commitment To Job Creation.” Governor Rick Scott today highlighted the Florida Families First budget’s strategic investments to improve Florida’s infrastructure … Floridians for Better Transportation President Matthew D. Ubben said, ‘We applaud the Florida Legislature for advancing Governor Scott’s pro-transportation 2013-2014 budget recommendations during the recently concluded 60-day legislative session. The $9.5 billion dedicated to the transportation sector provides nearly $8.6 billion for projects throughout the state and allows the Florida Department of Transportation to make good on the Governor’s commitment to job creation.’” (Press Release, “Governor Scott: Florida Families First Budget Makes Strategic Transportation Improvements,” Office Of Governor Rick Scott, 5/20/13)


CLAIM: “[T]hey’ve Failed To Plan For Florida’s Future.” (Mark Pafford, “Florida Republicans In Charge For Too Long,” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/30/13)

FACT: Rick Scott Has Reduced Our State Debt By $3.6 Billion, From $28.2 Billion In FY 2010 To $24.6 Billion In FY 2013. (State Of Florida 2012 Debt Affordability Report, Division Of Bond Finance, December 2012)

  • FACT: Moody’s Investors Service: “Current Financial And Economic Strengths Underscore Florida’s Resilience And Sound Fiscal Management … Reserves Are Being Rebuilt To Provide Cushion Against Future Downturns … Revenues Are Growing And The Economy Is Improving …” (Nicole Johnson, “Florida Back On Track,” Moody’s Investor Service, 6/27/13)


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