Two front page articles in a recent week’s Miami Herald reported on the unbelievable state of Florida government.
One article under “Child Welfare” tells of the tragic handling of a 17-year-old “sexually trafficked girl made a victim again.” The teen, with mental health problems and abandoned by her parents, was forced into prostitution by human traffickers, Florida’s term for pimps. She returned to court and “begged” the judge to allow her to return and live with her mother in the Keys.
Permission was granted; she returned and started a new life. When she registered for school she learned that she needed an outstanding warrant with state authorities in Palm Beach squelched. The trip was successful. She was transported courtesy of the state back to her mother’s home in the Keys. On the trip south she engaged in sex with the 25-year-old state employed transporter.
The second article: Our elected legislature in Tallahassee completed the special session voting on a compromise Florida budget for the coming year. Unfortunately, the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, took care of its financial supporters and neglected those that have little say in who gets elected to public office. Think I am wrong? Just look at two items in the budget and tell me I am wrong.
Item one: There exists a for-profit school in Bradenton that trains aspiring pro athletes where, as reported by the Herald, it can charge as high as $80,000 a year tuition. The speaker of the house, Steve Crisafulli, added a last minute $2 million subsidy for the school to the state’s budget. Sounds like a good line item veto for the governor.
Item two: The legislature did not expand the state’s healthcare to the more or less 800,000 residents of the state who do not have insurance or the money to pay for medical attention. Why? The money would come from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Heaven forbid that anything with the name “Obama” attached to it be used to benefit Floridians. Unless, of course, you count the money the state takes from Washington each year to fund education and transportation.
Question: Who will pay for the medical attention that the 17-year-girl returned to her mother in the Keys will need in the near future? I am certain it will take more than a few days for her to turn her life around, finish school, become a productive member of society and earn enough to pay for medical insurance or qualify for a job that provides group insurance. Or, will she slide back into obscurity and become someone who doesn’t count — i.e., who doesn’t vote or make campaign contributions?
What a crime.
Meanwhile, the legislature also took an ax to the demands of the voters who approved by a 75 percent “yes” vote margin Constitutional Amendment 1 last year requiring some $743 million next year be used for the environment. It was hoped by the environmentalists who championed the amendment to the constitution that a major portion of the money would go to fund the purchase of land from U.S. Sugar as had been previously agreed upon by the state.
To hell with Florida’s residents must have been the theme of the legislature. Here is how the environmental dollars were spent: $55 million for land acquisition, $50 million for springs restoration and $224 million for state agency salaries and operations. I guess the balance of the $743 million went into the general budget.
And so it goes. Take care of elected officials and they will take care of you. That is why there are far more lobbyists in Tallahassee than elected officials. God save the residents of Florida.
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