WHAT HATH FLORIDA WROUGHT?…. Atrios joked the other day that Floridians “elected Lex Luthor as their governor.” That’s a good line, in large part because it’s hard not to wonder if Florida’s new chief executive is some sort of super-villain.
At a highly partisan tea-party event on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his first budget proposal, one that makes sweeping changes to state government by slashing billions in taxes and spending.
Scott proposed spending almost $66 billion — $4.6 billion less than this year’s budget. Scott also wants to eliminate 7 percent of the state’s government jobs, which would mean about 6,700 state-worker layoffs. He wants even more cuts the following year.
Scott’s plan is certainly unique. He thinks the state’s unemployment rate will get better if he forces thousands out of work. He thinks the strained budget, already pushed to the breaking point, will get better if he slashes taxes — mainly on corporations — and denies the state $2.4 billion on revenue.
The governor’s plan cuts billions from already-underfunded public schools, cuts billions from Medicaid, would close a third of the state’s public parks, and would eliminate every penny of funding that currently goes to assist the homeless and prevent teen suicides.
The budget plan was presented at a Tea Party rally, and Scott’s warm-up speakers condemned President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while praising Judge Roger Vinson for his recent health care ruling.
The head of the Republican Party in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently told Time that Scott will soon prove to be “one of the most extraordinary national figures we’ve seen in years.”
If by “extraordinary,” he meant “far outside the American mainstream and 21st century norms,” then sure, the description fits just fine.
In case you’re curious, the answer is no, Florida law does not have a recall mechanism for governors.
Update: Apparently, Ed Kilgore covered similar ground in a post he wrote at the exact same time. Ed called Rick Scott’s plan what it is: a redistributionist scheme.