April 22, 2008

Let the hacking begin

With Amendment 1, Florida voters — by almost a two-thirds majority — in January awarded themselves a hefty tax cut. They did it in spite of warnings from multiple industries, municipalities and nonprofit organizations that tax cuts would result in service cuts.

Well, the knives are out, and the results ain't pretty.

Workforce Central Florida (an agency that helps the unemployed find jobs) will, because of budget cuts, close two offices and lay off 50 people this year.

Florida Forever, a state-funded parks and wilderness preservation program, now has zero funding.

Also in the zero-funding category: the state's Crisis Pregancy Centers, whose measly $2 million annual budget is the latest victim of the chopping block.

Barney Bishop, president and chief executive officer of Associated Industries of Florida, a trade group, testified April 18 before the Florida Senate Finance and Tax Committee regarding the next tax decrease proposal the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission would like to get on our ballots [Amendment 5]. He called it a "pig in a poke," saying, "There is no free lunch in Florida. If citizens don’t pay out of their left pocket, they will pay for it out of their right pocket in increased sales taxes."

He's right, you know. So, Floridians, brace yourselves: It's all downhill from here.

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