The Republican Party of Florida hit back Monday against incoming House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, with a point-by-point rebuttal of an op-ed Pafford published in the Sun-Sentinel over the weekend.
Simply put, RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry said in a statement, Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat, “has no business attacking Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Legislature” on questions of leadership.
In fact, the RPOF pointed out, it’s fair to question exactly who and what Pafford will be leading, considering that most of his Democrat colleagues voted against Pafford on the state budget passed in the last session.
“Need we remind Pafford that nearly 80 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?” Curry asked.
In his op-ed, Pafford made the cloudy “argument” that “Florida lacks long-term economic development and planning strategies due to unstable resources and shifting focus.”
That sentence might mean something in an Occupy position paper (assuming there ever was such a thing) but it doesn’t really mean anything at all. Unstable resources? Shifting focus?
State resources are in the form of tax collections – not as unstable as, say, a national website organized aimed at taking over one-sixth of the economy that keeps crashing – but not exactly an etched -in-stone number either. Dealing with “unstable resources” is what governments do – and generally what Republican governments do better than their counterparts. (See, Michigan, Detroit.)
The reality is, the RPOF writes, Scott’s tax cuts and reduced regulations since taking office have improved the economy – making more of those “unstable resources” available for the public good.
“Under Rick Scott, Florida has had the second largest drop in unemployment out of all 50 states and D.C.,” the RPOF writes.
Since Scott took office, the unemployment rate has dropped from 11.4 percent in January, 2010, to 6.7 percent in October.
Democrats probably think that’s a coincidence. (That record also makes it difficult to take Pafford’s claim that the state’s “best and brightest lack sufficient job opportunities to stay in Florida after graduation.”).
Pafford also went to that tried and true Democrat red herring, the public school system, writing that “Schools, prisons and many public facilities are in need of serious repair … Public school teachers are demoralized …”
Obviously, public school teachers – or, rather, their unions – feel demoralized when Republicans are in office in Tallahassee, since the state government is something more than an ATM for rapacious teachers unions. But the fact is that the last budget – the one Pafford didn’t vote for – included a $1.2 billion increase in education funding.
That budget even got Scott a rare on-record “thank you” from Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, who said in a news release from the governor’s office last spring:
“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.”
Don’t expect to see that thanks repeated next fall when the teachers union do their normal Democrat dirty work, but the record shows it happened.
Pafford also hits the GOP for allegedly ignoring Florida’s environment, because apparently Democrats are the only ones who care about the one thing that keeps Florida a going business concern.
The RPOF again looks at the record: Scott committed $40 million in August for Lake Okeechobee, and Republican legislative leaders and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam say water management is going to be a top priority of this year’s session.
Pafford made other claims, all out of Democrat central casting, and the RPOF handles them all. (You can read the whole statement, “Pafford’s Pretence,” here.)
But the bottom line is, it looks llike Republicans are more than ready to make the 2014 a referendum on which party is better suited – by experience and philosophy – to keeping the state on the path that makes all of the social services, education and environmental causes and projects that Democrats claim to be concerned about actually possible.
Or, as Curry put 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.”