Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Florida's Governor Race: will voters continue to vote against their own interests and re-elect Rick Scott? … by gimleteye

Florida takes the prize in categories that turn oddities into good viewing on late night TV. Laughing at others' expense is routine for everyone except the objects of derision. We are not the only ones who notice how the bizarre filters into Florida's daily life with astonishing regularity. One Gulfport woman recently was arrested for hitting a man with a garden gnome (St. Pete Times, Craig Pittman, May 22, 2013) and a Polk County woman named Crystal Metheney fired a missile into another's man car. An even more bizarre event is at work at The Villages, a massive Central Florida retirement community where voting against one's own interests is par for the course.

In late May, incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Scott received an infusion of $81,000 in campaign cash from Villages developer H. Gary Morse and more than two dozen companies in the Villages, according to a campaign-finance report filed last week. Scott received 27 contributions, each for the maximum $3,000 amount. At the same time, a new report, "Florida – A State of Embarrassment" by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), categorizes the reasons why seniors and young families should not move here. If you are curious why retirees and their host are supporting a governor who is running the state into the ground, undermining their own security, read on.

There are 10 reasons according to Alternet, Floridians should be running from Gov. Rick Scott:

10 Reasons You Should Not Move to Florida—From Floridians Who Know!
By Steven Rosenfeld [2] - June 16, 2014

Florida is sinking and it’s not because of climate change. A new report, Florida – A State of Embarrassment [3], by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), categorizes the reasons why seniors and young families should not move there.

The report cites crimes that prey on the elderly, regressive taxes, growing gaps between rich and poor, low spending for public schools and libraries, unmet job ands social welfare needs, high home foreclosure rates, poor emergency medical care and more.

“Behind Florida’s palm trees, tropical birds and beautiful beaches is a state with a multitude of very serious problems that are being ignored by its political leaders,” it begins. “These problems undermine the potential for prosperity for Florida’s residents and place their future at risk."

Here are 10 reasons why Florida is not all sunshine.

1. “Ground zero” for health care fraud. According to several [4] reports [5] by the FBI, Florida leads the U.S. in health care fraud, which it says is a $80 billion a year problem.

2. Most identity theft in the nation. Citing a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report [6], the state had 361.3 complaints per 100,000 people. This included government documents and benefits fraud (mostly false IRS tax returns), credit card fraud, telephone or utilities fraud and bank fraud. FLARA said, “Identity theft is so acute in Florida that nine of the 10 large urban areas nationally with the highest rates of identity theft are in Florida. The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area leads the nation with 645.4 complaints per 100,000 population, followed by Naples-Marco Island with a rate of 397.8 and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with a rate of 352.3.”

3. More shady crimes in Sunshine state. The FLARA report had the sixth highest violent crime rate in the country—murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—according to 2013 FBI statistics. It also had the nation’s highest level of public corruption convictions, with more than 8,000 government officials arrested between 2000 and 2010, and 1,126 convictions, FLARA said.

4. Second most regressive taxes in U.S. Florida is known for being a state where you can keep your home no matter what legal troubles occurred in another state. But FLARA says that perk comes with a price: regressive taxes. “The [state’s] poor and the middle class are taxed at higher rates than than the wealthy in all but one state (Washington),” it said. “The poorest 20 percent of Florida’s non-elderly persons paid 13.2 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes, compared with 8.3 percent for the middle 60 percent [of taxpayers], and 2.3 percent for the top 1 percent.”

5. Third widest rich-poor gap in U.S.There are a lot of statistics tracking the state’s growing inequality and the economic dislocations caused by it. In 2011, Florida had the nation’s third largest income gap between the top 1 percent and remaining 99 percent, according [7] to the Economic Policy Institute. “The average income of the top 1 percent was $1,141, 314 compared to $35,393 for the bottom 99 percent,” FLARA said, adding that “income inequality is growing.” Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, Miami was third for income inequality, a 2014 Brookings Institution report [8] found. Florida ranked eighth for states with the highest percent of public school students eligible for free or reduced cost meals—due to housefold incomes. One out of six Floridians were below the federal poverty line, according to 2011 U.S. Census data.

6. Tremendous unmet job creation needs. Florida is a dismal place to look for work. It has the nation’s “third highest proportion on unemployed persons who have been jobless for six months or more,” FLARA said, citing a 2013 Economic Policy Institute study [9]. “Florida had the third highest percentage, 46.2 percent. New Jersey (46.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (46.6 percent) had the highest percentages.”

7. State spending on education at rock bottom. Whether it is low public investment in education from a young age or state efforts to help the poor or jobless, Florida is not a generous state, a ream of statistics confirms. Citing 2010 Census data, FLARA said the state had the nation’s second lowest per capita spending for education at all levels. It ranked 50th—dead last—for state and local expenditures for higher education. Only five other states had fewer books “per 1,000 population in public libraries” in 2013. Only six states had lower high school drop out rates in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

8. State spending for social welfare was also bad. Looking beyond education, FLARA found that Florida’s spending on social welfare needs was terrible. Only seven states spent less for local and state social welfare programs, according to 2010 Census data. It also “received an F in the access to emergency care category, placing it 49th among states,” FLARA said, citing a 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians report [10].

“Florida has few psychiatric care beds, which contributes to long wait times for emergency patients,” the report said. “People are waiting on average more than five hours in Florida’s emergency departments. These factors contribute to a situation where many—even those with health insurance—are experiencing issues in accessing appropriate emergency care services.”

9. Leads U.S. in home foreclosures and second in underwater mortages. The housing market collapse is still roiling the "sunshine" state. Florida has the most homes in the foreclosure—one in 346, as of January 2014—according to RealtyTrac. And only Nevada had more home mortgages with a bigger gap between money borrowed and current home value. “RealtyTrac reported [11] that 34 percent of Florida homeowners with a mortgage had a home worth at least 25 percent less than the combined loans secured by the property,” FLARA said.

10. These realities should deter people from moving to Florida. That was the report’s conclusion, saying it was ironic that Florida’s economy and government services were hostile to seniors and young families—because the influx of famlies and seniors helps to lift the economy by creating demand for all kinds of businesses and jobs.

“Our research finds that the three most serious problems undermining the well-being of Floridians are: (1) a wide income disparity which constrains economic opportunity, limits job creation, and increases poverty; (2) unacceptable high levels of violent crime, public corruption, identity theft, and fraud; and (3) a weak public education system,” FLARA said. “The Florida Alliance of Retired Americans believes these and Florida’s other problems can be overcome. Unfortunately, business as usual by Florida’s political leaders will likely deepen Florida's severe problems...

“If you decide to relocate to Florida, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans hopes that you will become active in changing Florida for the better.”


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[12] on 10 Reasons You Should Not Move to Florida—From Floridians Who Know!


Anonymous said...

A lot of this data from the list is from 2010 statistics. That is when CHARLIE CRIST was ending his term as Governor. Fair is fair and to hang these numbers on Scott is not fair.

Anonymous said...

I think we have Scott on the ropes, but we must implement a hard-hitting campaign to the finish.

I am a fourth generation Democratic supervoter who votes the entire Democratic ticket. In spite of this, I received an interesting email from Scott's wife, wishing me a blessed Fathers Day, shared her 42 years of marriage to Scott and his role as dad and grandfather. Pictures and video followed.

They are running away from his record. We must keep his record front and center, but we must also have well-thought out voter mobilization plans. He is an awful governor who needs removal.

Anonymous said...

I am a Democrat who will be staying home if my party elects Charlie Crist as its candidate.
I cannot vote for Charlie Crist.

Anonymous said...

For the un-educated, please define what makes this Governor "Awful Governor". I see increased education funding, increased Everglades funding, reduced tuition for dreamers, $20,000 decrease in cost to florida pre-paid college plan, unemployment decline, govt revenue up, tax cuts (finally lowered car registration renewal cost), $2,500 pay raise for teachers, real estate market revived. So.... What's "Awful"?

Anonymous said...

There are 10 good reasons right there in the article if you would care to read it. But even without reading it, these things stick out right away:

- Rejecting federal money for high speed rail from Tampa to Orlando - essentially denying money, economic growth, and transportation services to Central Florids

-Voter suppression and restrictions on voting during the 2012 election; reduction in early voting days resulting in long lines and many not voting;

-Voter suppression including reauiring voter IDs, preventing felons from voting, and purging voter rolls;

-Drug testing for state employees and for poor people to receive services;

-Failure to create promised jobs;

-Opposed raising minimum wage;

-Failure to assist unemployed persons; failure of the unemployment website hurting many who needed unemployment assistance;

-Attack on teachers (merit pay and changes in pensions);

-Cuts in education by over $1billion, low per student spending;

-Refused federal money that would have provided health care to 1 million Floridians;

-Failure to expand Medicaid;

-Failure to set up the Florida Healthcare Exchange for ACA;

-Signing a bill to restrict abortions;

-Bright Futures cuts;

-Financial linkages with French Company oil drilling in Collier County;

There is a lot more. But these things come to mind right away. In short he has hurt this state enough, he is unfit to lead.

Anonymous said...

I guess you would have no trouble voting for a candidate who changes his word more often that you change your clothes.

Crist also has a record and Opportunist tops the list. He would have had a second term if he didn't get greedy and wanted to be senator and when that didn’t work, he wanted to be vice president.

He gave us Jim Greer, shocked all of us who worked to get him elected when he went into the gutter to find this piece of work. Does anybody really think Crist was not involved in his corruption?

Hypocrisy is the worst trait a politician can have and that is exactly what Crist is...the biggest political hypocrite I have ever seen.

Get in bed with Crist and he will dump you when something better comes along, and it will. The man has no morals...from Chain-Gang-Charlie to Democrat bad- boy. What a resume!

Anonymous said...

The state is ready to move forward now and Crist will get us moving again.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Anon above:

Crist is the joke of the century and that is a fact.

Don't let your hate for a political party force you to waste your vote.

Crist has walked over too many people's graves to become anything but what he is, an opportunist ready to grab whatever he can get to further his foolish political life, jumping from office to office.

The Governor's seat was not good enough for him, he wanted to gallop up the political ladder thinking something better was coming along that he could slide into. Now he is trying to retrieve something that he that he consciously abandoned.

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Anonymous said...

Anybody but Scott.

Anonymous said...

IF ANYONE VOTES FOR SCOTT YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND. He has been the worst governor ever. He is a crook with stealing our medicaid funds. Charlie may be an opportunist, but he is not a crook.

Anonymous said...

As we get closer to the election EOM needs to put the photos of the long voter lines back up again. People have personal experiences with Scott's hatred for democracy, the importance of the vote, and his distain for the voters.

Anonymous said...

To the folks that continue to complain about the high speed rail issue, take a moment and google what's happening with high speed rail in California or any other state for that matter. Not one of the projects is underway and California's project is already hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole. It was a bad deal for Florida then and would be a bad deal now.

Anonymous said...

Boston got our transit money. Folks and banks in the NE have Scott to thank when they put all of our money in their economy and ride the train from Boston to DC.

Anonymous said...

Boston to DC, DC to Boston High speed rail line is a concept now, at best. No concrete plans to actually build. If it were to go forward it could be 20-30 years before a passenger rides it. there is a better chance of flying cars in 30 years than seeing that line built.

Anonymous said...

They got our money to plan it. We are that much further behind. Tell that to the bankers, millionaires in-waiting, and everyday workers who wanted that money. Money that was due to them, if it wasn't for Scott.

Anonymous said...

I am an independent, slightly inclined to the democratic side.

I refuse to vote for the current governor, but also refuse to vote for an individual who flip flop in every subject/topic. Mr. Charlie Christ go to Miami and said something and when go to Broward say something different, and a month later change both statements. I would like to vote for a new governor, but we have very incapable and incoherent individuals leading the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

He is much better than Scott.