Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Damage Done: December 2010 Florida Update

That Rick "MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott and the GOP-majority state lege would go after our state's educational system (all to destroy the teachers' unions, never mind the damage done to our kids) was pretty much a given.

It's how they're going to go about doing it that ought to make state residents regret their votes.

Not ONLY will Scott and the Pork Barrel GOP go after massive property and corporate tax cuts that will hinder school systems' ability to PAY FOR ANYTHING (just remember, parents, this was the year the schools started asking you to provide all supplies for your kids, including toilet paper!), they will pursue the most radical attempt ever on pushing their wingnut obsession with school vouchers.  They will make vouchers universal (from the St. Pete Times' opinion section):

It is clearer than ever that Republicans intend to mount a frontal assault next year on Florida's public schools. Legislators show no interest in building consensus on efforts to abolish teacher tenure and create a merit pay system. Gov.-elect Rick Scott also pledges to slash school property taxes even as declining property values and tax revenues have forced deep spending cuts in education. But those misguided approaches are small potatoes compared with their pursuit of a radical plan to give all students tuition vouchers

The whole thing about vouchers is that it's a feel-good proposal by conservatives: a means of introducing "choice" into a public educational system they despise.  Vouchers are meant to give parents money to afford sending their kids to different schools outside of walking distance that can provide better opportunities (say, if your kid is gifted in fine arts but the best art school is on the other side of the county).  But vouchers are an illusion of choice: schools are still limited by how many students they can enroll, and there's no guarantee your kids will get into the school they need or you prefer because - guess what - everyone else is trying to enroll there too.  The push for Vouchers is also a con game: the proponents want them available for private (read: Christian) schools as well, meaning they want tax-funded moneys to pay for something that violates the rules of Separation of Church And State.

To refer back to the Times' article:

It is unclear how much universal vouchers would cost the state and how they would be financed. Taking a portion of the per student funding for public schools and allowing families to spend that amount as they wish would not leave enough money for public education. And presumably, the hundreds of thousands of students already in private schools would receive public money as well.The state already faces a budget deficit of more than $2.5 billion. On top of that, Scott wants to cut school property taxes 19 percent and eliminate the corporate tax. That would be the same corporate tax that companies can avoid paying now by earmarking the money for vouchers. How does this possibly add up?

Again, take a good look at the con game.  The REAL OBJECTIVE here by Scott and the Pork Barrel GOP is to cut corporate taxes ALTOGETHER.  Never mind that 19 percent cut to your property tax, citizen: home owners will still be stuck paying a bill with whatever is left of your millage rate, while corporates get to pay NOTHING toward our state and our families.  And again, no guarantee that all that money saved to the corporations will go back into their workers, their businesses, or anywhere else that would help our depressed economy.

The Republicans are really only interested in one thing when it comes to fiscal policy: Tax Cuts.  Everything else - balancing a budget, paying for social services, KEEPING PEOPLE ALIVE, ALERT AND HEALTHY - is meaningless to them.  They want their tax cuts.  They don't want to pay for anything, and all the while they'll take all the public money they can in state-level pork barrel projects, corporate payouts, and everything else they can get away with because YOU VOTERS DO NOT PAY F-CKING ATTENTION TO WHAT HAPPENS IN TALLAHASSEE.

Please, Floridians.  Please for the LOVE OF GOD.  Try to get this into your heads.  Tax Cuts is just another phrase for Snake Oil.  You are getting conned by political hacks and corporate criminals into buying a product that does not work.  Please, please, learn this now.

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