Over the past couple of days, statements of praise have been issued for Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s budget, but some Democrats still aren’t happy. Scott’s budget proposes a focus on increased funding for education and elimination of some business taxes to help boost jobs.
“Gov. Scott’s budget proposal is all about growth – it plants the seeds of opportunity that will enable Florida businesses to grow and flourish, particularly industries critical to Florida’s future such as manufacturing,” Tom Feeney, Associated Industries of Florida President and CEO, said.
As the Florida affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, AIF was encouraged by the recommended changes to tax barriers facing businesses. “Shedding additional tax burdens will enable Florida manufacturers to be more competitive, and put more money into business expansion and high-wage job creation,” Feeney added.
However, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) said the governor’s spending plan “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,” Smith said. “And no number of teachers gathered as props in a press conference can change those facts.”
Though some in the education field would seem to disagree.
“The proposal to create and fund new workforce programs addresses the College’s desire to add programs,” Dr. Dennis Gallon, President of Palm Beach State College said. “Palm Beach State has experienced huge growth in our manufacturing programs, for example, and would look forward to expanding those, adding new connected programs, and creating more STEM programs.”
“We are happy the governor is recognizing and investing in Florida’s high performing public schools. In most of Florida, our public schools are the largest employer,” Florida Education Association President Andy Ford said. “Added money spent on public schools always helps grow our economy. We look forward to the governor’s strong advocacy of this proposal.”
The Florida Medical Association also found a light in the governor’s budget.
“The FMA is thrilled that Gov. Scott has made graduate medical education a priority in his budget recommendations. The proposed increase in GME funding would ensure more residency slots in Florida and, in turn, encourage physicians to remain in Florida once they complete their training,” Timothy Stapleton, Executive Vice President of the Florida Medical Association, said. “The governor clearly understands the importance of having a substantial supply of physicians to meet the increasing health care needs of Florida’s families.”
The legislature will take up the budget at the legislative session beginning in March.
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