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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fact-checking Weatherford on new residents and freedom, cellphones and tuition

3

April

It's a busy week for House Speaker Will Weatherford and the PolitiFact Florida Truth-O-Meter.

Weatherford touted the state's population boom, telling a group of Americans for Prosperity Florida activists recently, "You may not know this, but today almost 1,000 people a day are moving to the state of Florida. Do you know why they're coming here? Because they are more free here than they are in some other states."

He cited a reasonable estimate for the state's projected population growth. But the reasons people move to Florida -- family, new jobs and our weather, mainly -- do not align with his definition of freedom (the state's conservative fiscal policies). PolitiFact Florida rated his statement Mostly False.

Last week at a Board of Governors meeting, Weatherford was asked why the House recommended a 6 percent tuition increase. He said, "The average student in Florida, what they actually pay out of pocket at our major universities" for tuition is as much or less than what they spend on cellphones.

We had never heard the comparison before. PolitiFact Florida compared the average out-of-pocket tuition payments for full-time, in-state students against average cellphone bills. Out-of-pocket expenses vary widely by family income group, but Weatherford has a point using average data.

Of course, because he specified tuition, this analysis does not account for the thousands of dollars that students spend on other college expenses, such as books and room and board. This statement earned a Mostly True.

Of eight fact-checks, Weatherford has not yet earned a True or a Pants on Fire! rating. Browse the rest of his file and other PolitiFact Florida fact-checks from the legislative session.



[Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 4:26pm]

    

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