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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Governor’s Sham

In an attempt to sell the Seminole gambling deal to the legislature, media throughout the state quoted the following:

"Do this for the children of Florida." The governor said he believes the money should be dedicated to education and urged lawmakers to be open-minded.

Disregarding for a moment the question if the state should be in the gambling business vice – though it already is with the lottery monopoly – such feigned concern for education is an utter sham.

Florida teachers are one of the lowest paid in the country. If the governor was truly for education he and his cadre of politicos would have long ago dismantled wasteful programs and useless departments (FDEP, FLDOE to name but two) and funneled the saved money directly to the teachers.

The lottery was supposed to be for education – but that too was a lie. Instead of augmenting the educational budget, the lottery money simply replaced what the educational system was already receiving. Hence, zero net improvement to the education fund.

If your governor was truly for generating as much money as possible for education, why limit gambling to just the indian nations? Why not afford the pari-mutuels – that are already generating vice-based taxes from dog racing, horse racing, jai alai, and poker – the same opportunity as the indians?

For that matter, why not finally allow the resorts on Miami Beach to offer Vegas-style casinos? This move alone would cure the state's funding issue and arguably double every teacher's salary.

Last year, there was a measure on the ballot that if passed would have allowed individual counties to enact via voter referendum an automatically terminating sales tax increase for the sole purpose of funding education in that county. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated in every county, except for Miami-Dade county. In the time leading up to the vote, your governor was basically mute on this issue.

These cynical maneuvers on the back of the "children", and their one-sided application are as sordid as they are ineffective.

If the retiree state was desirous in improving education it would not fib as to where and how sources of funds are applied – assuredly an intractable task for politicians in general and this governor in particular.

The sad aspect to this educational bog is that there are means by which to improve education, many without the need of more money – namely, exclusive of further extorting the taxpayers or appealing to those that can least afford to gamble.

Here is but one of those ideas that the governor can enact with the stroke of a pen: no public school administrator in any school district can earn a salary that is greater than the lowest paid full-time teacher in that same district.

Don't hold your breath in ever seeing this directive making it to the light of day.

But if you know what to do with two aces when the dealer is showing a deuce and your count is negative, make it over to the nearest sovereign nation within Florida because you'll make some money while supporting education … NOT!


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