As if teachers, police, and fire fighters weren’t already grossly underpaid considering the invaluable services they provide us, this past February Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced his intention to reward Florida teachers for their hard work and years of service by providing them with an annual salary cut of $2,335 a year! Yes, you heard — or in this case read — right. Shocked? So were we. Scott revealed his proposal to make dramatic changes to state government by cutting billions of dollars in both taxes and spending, much to the dismay of teachers everywhere. To say governor Scott’s “plan” was not well received would be an understatement.
Even his fellow fat cat Republicans on Capitol Hill were less than thrilled with his announcement, it seems — in an election year no less. They’re already trying to contend with the likes of Mitt Romney and his less than warm reception by blue collar workers and middle class Americans across the country trying to come to grips with his less than empathetic attitude towards their plight, and now this. To suggest that they are seeming further and further out of touch with the realities of the working class and their concerns for their own financial stability and some fiscal responsibility and accountability on the part of government is putting it mildly.
Although the budget would lead to thousands of layoffs and gut the state’s infrastructure and education spending, it was nonetheless cheered on by conservative activists and businesses alike, leading to a further separation in the masses. What is it they just don’t get? We’re barely getting by as it is out here. It’s no joking matter. Revolutions have been started for less. Their trickledown economics just aren’t panning out. As the division in classes grows wider, more middle class Americans are realizing that their dreams are being set aside for the aspirations of the elite and that soon they’ll cease to exist.
The very same people that scoffed at the notion of two distinct and separate classes with no middle ground aren’t scoffing anymore in Florida after his startling proposal. In terms of taxes, Scott plans to cut $1 billion in property taxes over a two-year period and nearly $1.5 billion in corporate income taxes in the same time frame. This would involve cutting the corporate income tax rate from the current 5.5 percent to 3 percent and gradually phasing it out completely by 2018. The question begs: is a yearly pay cut in the amount of $2,335 for Florida teachers worth a $44.72 property tax savings to Florida homeowners with homestead exemptions? The answer is not bloody likely.
But wait. It gets better. Because Florida is required by law to balance its budget, besides cutting billions in Medicaid assistance to those at the lowest rungs of the income ladder they’ll be ravaging the budget of the already under funded Department of Children and Families and cutting the education budget by a whopping $4.8 billion over the next several years. Florida schools have long ranked poorly in the United States. And even states with higher rankings across the country have been struggling with budget cuts and inadequate school supplies and funds for programs. What makes Mr. Scott think that cutting corporate income taxes and giving homeowners a negligible property tax break at the cost of teachers’ already paltry salaries is the misguided answer?
admin @ August 3, 2012