Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Four Scenes from Scenic Florida

scene 1: The ocean is vast. The ocean is dangerous. What's a litttle fish to do? Swim in a school. The Republicans, despite 13 million years of evolution, swear that is a conspiracy. They deny it's true.

They deny it from their country clubs and gated communities. They deny it from their mutually interlocking boards of directors. They complain about it at their fraternities and college prep schools. They denounce it from their business clubs and alumni associations. They complain about it at their exclusive members only private clubs. They pay their lobbyists to deny it. And they denounce it as a conspiracy of little fish, who have the temerity to refuse to swim alone, and just be LUNCH.

scene 2: A business association in Stuart, Florida, a group of business men and women listen as Florida Republican Legislator Gale Harrell explains that the draconian budget cuts that will stem from the Republican Legislature's sleight of hand property tax cuts will have no impact on services. There will be no impact on education. It will simply result in greater fiscal responsibility and local control. Since Florida is largely dependent on property taxes for most governmental resources how can cutting these funds not have a dramatic impact on local governmental services.

It's very simple she explains, with the burden of funding governmental services shifting from statewide government to local government think what fiscal responsibility we'll be cultivating. I asked, " Won't poor communities suffer, and affluent communities both be dependent on a smaller resource base?" But despite logic she continued; It won't impact schools, or police and fire or any important services since local government is inherently more responsible than state officials. Marco Rubio Republican Speaker of the Florida Legislature said, the tax changes will result merely in a shifting of budgetary burden from the state level to local government.

scene 3:
The legislature has completed it's 2008 legislative session. The state budget has fallen based on propoerty taxes, which in turn are dramtically impacted by the on the falling value of homes. The state budget shrinks and schools will experience reductions in staffing and per pupil spending. Police and fire funding will be greatly reduced. And while per pupil funding falls and tuition gets steeper. And promised scholarship money and student loans dry up. Money for prisons has been found. No corporate tax loophole have been closed. Remember they all assured us, there will be no impact from the tax reductions.

scene 4:
Do not swim together little fish, its better if you swim alone. Despite the wisdom of all life. Despite the wisdom, of solidarity.
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