The House GOP's 'message points'
As the House's $65-billion budget proposal was being sent to lawmakers Sunday night, the House Majority Office's spin machine swung into action by distributing a series of "message points" to Republican members. (The memo was not made public, but a GOP member passed it along).
"We have already seen the minority party attack these budget decisions, but they have yet to tell Floridians how they would budget differently without raising taxes or further jeopardizing our economy," said the message memo from Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, the majority leader. "We can expect more of the same criticisms without solutions in the weeks ahead." The e-mail also urged Republican lawmakers to emphasize the need for state government to "live within its means."
A day later, on Monday, House Republican leaders embraced an idea Democrats have championed for weeks: to allow the use of a Budget Stabilization Fund and the Lawton Chiles Endowment to minimize program cuts over the next year. And the House Democratic leader, Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, is growing weary of the Republican rhetoric on budget cuts. "'Living within your means' is not an economic principle," Gelber said. Among the Democrats' budget solutions: a $1-a-pack hike in cigarette taxes.