House Democrats respond to Scott's speech
Responding to Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State speech, House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders delivered a response in which he chided the governor for "pitting" popular education and health care programs against each other.
"It has been said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," Saunders said. "In last year’s legislative session, our Republican colleagues who control the Florida House spent more time advancing their political agenda than fixing problems in our state’s economy. House Democrats believe that the Legislature should spend less time protecting a partisan political advantage and spend more time protecting and expanding Florida’s middle class.
"How can we do a better job? We can achieve great things for our state by investing in public education…by fighting against fraud in our health care system…and by fighting for fairness in our tax system. The best way to protect and expand Florida’s middle class is to invest in public education. A good education system provides more job opportunities for ALL Floridians.
"House Democrats appreciate the governor’s recommendation to restore some of the budget cuts to public education that he and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature made last year. While we support better funding for our public schools, we don’t support the Republican strategy of pitting the needs of Florida’s students and school teachers against the needs of pregnant women and sick kids. This Legislature must find a way to promote our public schools without harming the care that must be provided for families or by raising taxes on hard-working Floridians."
Saunders pushed for an attack on Medicaid fraud and "fairness" in the tax system.
"Unfortunately, Florida is one of the leaders in the nation in Medicaid fraud and corruption. The governor and the Legislature must devote more time, effort and resources in catching and convicting every person who steals money from our health care system," Saunders said. "In addition to fighting against fraud, we must fight for fairness in our tax system. House Democrats know that Floridians are going through tough times. Personally, I will not support any tax increase this year. We do not have to increase taxes on working families to properly fund education and health care. We must collect from wealthy, out-of-state corporations what is already owed to Florida."