Rick Scott Wants to Keep Cutting Taxes, but State Agencies Are Suffering for It

Gov. Rick Scott is all about cutting taxes, eliminating taxes, no more taxes, taxes are evil and vile and need to be utterly obliterated and eradicated like an unstoppable rebel force. That's pretty much been his m.o. as far as anyone can remember, and it's going to be his go-to when he officially hops aboard the reelection train.

Problem is, eventually all this antitax stuff is going to meet up with real life. And now it would appear that Scott has caused a bit of a kerfuffle with state agencies that need money to keep, you know, making Florida livable and stuff.

What's an antitax crusader like Scott to do? Quick, Robin! To the Tea-Bag Cave!

So far, Scott's plan for keeping his Tallahassee job consists of a wish list that includes cutting taxes by $500 million and trimming state agency budgets by $100 million. And, if there's going to be any spending on Rick Scott's watch, it's going to be in schools, because it's all about the children, people. Rick Scott loves the children. VOTE SCOTT.

That's all fine and wonderful, but while Scott is asking that state agencies tighten their belt so he can keep pretending to care about Florida's poor people, the state agencies are all, hey, yeah, we're gonna need about $1 billion more to hire more child abuse investigators and state troopers.

There's also the matter of needing $220 million to help clean up the Indian River Lagoon, Caloosahatchee River, and St. Lucie River estuary.

Meanwhile, Medicaid -- which is kind of important to the poor and disabled folks of Florida -- has a projected hike of $400 million next year.

So, Scott's desire to cut taxes by $500 million is kind of in a pickle.

State economists have projected an $846 million surplus for 2014, but the result has been state agencies suffering, being stretched thin, or just not getting the help needed.

"Florida faces a preponderance of needs that have been neglected by, and in some cases caused by, the Republican leadership," said Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, the House minority leader. "Florida is in need of a vast array of significant new investments and new political leadership."

The Tampa Bay Times gives a quick rundown on which agencies are asking for what:

- The Department of Corrections is asking for $120 million, most of it to reopen two prisons as the inmate population increases.

- The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is asking for $35 million, mainly to hire 75 troopers after 152 trooper positions went kaput in 2008 during the recession.

- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is asking for $19 million, including $2.1 million to hire more people to do background checks on people who want to buy guns.

As he preps for reelection, Scott will need to make some decisions on where to spend and where not to spend.

His focus on cutting $500 million in taxes shows that Rick Scott is either negligent, a liar, or just really shitty at math.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph