Black state legislators await governor’s final budget actions
By Derek Joy
And finally, there was a merciful end to the grueling two month Florida State Legislative session. All about the budget and legislation.
Republicans are celebrating and praising Governor Rick Scott amid the pomp and circumstance. They function on the premise that “We eat what we kill.” So, they are really licking their chops over the projected $72 billion budget that goes to Scott within the next few days.
Scott, who is up for re-election, has 30 days to approve or reject the budget – in part or completely. It is highly unlikely that Scott will reject the budget in its entirety. But he could possibly veto any one of the items in the budget.
“We’ll probably give the Governor the budget in four or five days. He has 30 days to act on it,” said State Senator Chris Smith (Dem., Fort Lauderdale. “He has changed a lot. Maybe he won’t veto the items he vetoed last year.”
Smith and Senator Oscar Braynon II (Dem., Miami Gardens) met with disappointments last year when Scott vetoed the majority of their budget appropriations.
Each is hoping the same veto swipe won’t negate their efforts or eliminate the funding appropriations. Braynon is especially concerned about the $5-million appropriated for Miami Dade College North Campus to renovate its gymnasium.
“Have you seen that gym? It’s awful. It’s a shame they haven’t appropriated the funding to renovate that gym. If the Governor vetoes it, they won’t get anything. It’s a shame the state won’t fund any projects at Miami Dade, the largest Com-munity College in the nation,” Braynon said.
Some of that concern and lack of funding stems from the flap Miami Dade President Eduardo Padron had with some of the Republican power brokers in the Florida State Legislature.
Republicans have a well documented history for punishing opponents, no matter the validity of the opposition.
Consequently, the Miami Dade College appropriation, along with a half million dollars for “Shots Spotter Cameras” for the city of Miami Gardens to match for the installation and operation of cameras that detect gunfire and identifies the location for police, the water and sewer appropriations don’t become victims of the Governor’s veto pen.
So, too, is the case for Smith with the $10-million appropriated for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Florida, $2-million Urban League funding for a micro loan program geared to loan small Black businesses to access capital.
“The Governor vetoed that funding last year,” said Smith. But he’s changed a lot. Maybe it’s because he’s up for re-election. He doesn’t seem too concerned. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Meanwhile. House Speaker Will Weatherford is running around getting sound bytes and photo ops for touting the Governor’s success with the budget. Suggesting the Governor’s was responsible for legislation granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants who graduate from Florida high schools.
Scott is even being credited with creating over 400,000 new jobs. What he doesn’t say is at what level were those jobs created. He doesn’t tell you that overwhelming majority of those 400,000 jobs he’s taking credit for creating are minimum wage jobs.
“You know,” said Ted Pinckney, a Miami native currently residing in Pinellas County. “People can talk about the jobs that Scott has created. But people will never forget he rejected funding for the Bullet Train that would have brought a lot of new jobs that would’ve lasted for as long as 10 years.”
Moreover, Scott’s final budget actions will also be there for the public to see, including the Black American State Legislators and the Black American community at large.