Saunders recommends Dems avoid 'premature' House budget cutting exercise
House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders just sent this memo to his members on the chamber's budget committees (the response from House GOP Leader Carlos Lopez follows):
TO: Democratic members on House appropriations committees
FROM: Leader Ron Saunders
DATE: February 14, 2011
RE: Republican Budget Balancing Exercises
This week, Republican House appropriation subcommittees will call on individual members to identify 15-percent across-the-board spending cuts throughout state agencies. While I urge you to remain active in committee debate, I am skeptical of the exercises and I do not encourage your participation.
These exercises are premature since we have not yet determined what funds, including federal stimulus dollars, may be available. There will be a revenue estimating conference held next month to give us the latest revenue and expense numbers, so any decisions should not be made until then.
Conducting across-the-board cut exercises uses an ax rather than a scalpel when it comes to trimming state spending. I do not support the use of across-the-board cuts since they reward inefficient agencies and penalize efficient ones. Production of our state budget is an important legislative responsibility. These exercises, in my opinion, will not be helpful in fulfilling our obligation.
Florida House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R-Miami) today issued the following statement regarding Minority Leader Saunders’ statement discouraging House Democrats participation in this week’s budget reduction exercises.
“One week after House Minority Leader Saunders stated ‘House Democratic Caucus members are working with our Republican colleagues to produce a balanced budget for Florida,’ Minority Leader Saunders today released a statement encouraging the Democratic Caucus to not participate in the budget reduction exercise.
“Representative Saunders is playing politics with the only constitutionally mandated responsibility of the Legislature. A wait-and-see approach to the budget will not get our state back on track. What Floridians need is real leaders who are willing to engage in making tough decisions.
“While Minority Leader Saunders may not personally agree with the budget exercise, it is appalling to me that he would encourage his Members to not participate at all. This does not display leadership but indifference to our state’s future.”