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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos has questions about Alex Sink's budget math, but not Rick Scott's

11

October

The incoming Republican Senate President, Mike Haridopolos, is asking for more details on the budget plans of Democrat Alex Sink -- but not of Rick Scott (surprise, surprise!).

In short, Haridopolos said he sees more budget promises than cuts in Sink's proposals, and he wants to know more. So do we. We also want Scott and Haridopolos to say what will be cut and where to balance the budget, but no dice.

Anyway, here's the letter:

October 11, 2010

The Honorable Alex Sink:

 As incoming Senate President, I'm concerned about Florida's economic outlook and the looming budget shortfall the Legislature will be required to address in the coming months. To that end, I have already taken the necessary steps to reduce our own staff's salary expenses in the Florida Senate by more than $1 million.  As you know, I remain committed to leading by example to right size government and create jobs in our state.

However, I am equally mindful of the political landscape as Election Day draws near and the possibilities that could result.  In preparation for the coming session and fiscal year planning, I have done my due diligence and familiarized myself with your positions on economic recovery, taxes and overall spending plans for Florida.  Upon review of some of your proposals, I am writing to ask for some clarification and information on some of your stances.

As you know, the Senate, House and Governor must work hand in hand to better Florida, and I want to make sure the Florida Senate is ready when we start committee weeks and budgetary planning immediately after Election Day, no matter who the people of Florida elect as our next Governor.

To that end, I am greatly alarmed by a disturbing pattern of unsustainable spending proposals that you have put forward.  Florida's Constitution requires the passage of a balanced budget, yet your campaign website shows plans for massive spending increases without any thought as to where to find the necessary money to pay for this expansion of government.

Florida's current budget estimates reveal a shortfall of approximately $2.5 billion to $3 billion.  Instead of spending less to stem the tide, it appears that you would propose a staggering $12.5 billion in additional spending on everything from higher pay for state workers to high-speed rail and other areas of government spending.  The consequences of these proposed increases in spending would yield nothing short of a crippling $14 billion to $15 billion budget shortfall.

It also seems that you are advocating for an additional cost to the state of $575 million for pay raises for state workers.  While I support job growth and putting Floridians to work, I am alarmed that with more than 11% of Floridians looking for work, you would advocate for more tax dollars to be spent on pay raises for state workers.  How can you justify spending tax dollars on pay raises when some Floridians are desperately looking for work?  Floridians simply cannot afford these costly proposals.

We must be honest with the citizens of our state, and we need to follow the example of Florida's families who are tightening their belts and reducing their budgets when finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.  At a time when Florida families and businesses are doing more with less, they should be able to expect the same from their government.

As we all prepare for the coming session, I hope you will join me in making sure that we are prepared at all levels of government and provide me with further details and exactly how you would propose the Legislature fund the proposals in your platform.  Election Day is a big day for many; but for the Florida Senate, it signals the start of planning for the 2011 Session, and I feel it is imperative that we are familiar with what you are advocating for.

Sincerely,

Mike Haridopolos

Florida Senate President-Designate

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:45am]

    

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