The release of the state budget is normally pretty dry stuff… little more than bedtime reading for Tallahassee reporters and policy wonks.
Since Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature are all cost-cutting Republicans anyway, we would expect the newly minted governor’s proposed spending plan to glide through the corridors of the state capitol easier than a lobbyist in a new pair of Guccis, right?
Wrong. We must remember that for Scott, this gig is more or less a very expensive hobby, and he may not care whether he gets reelected in four years, having grown weary by that time.
The rest of our public servants do care, and they know that Scott’s draconian cuts aren’t going to go over well with the voting public, who will surely blame them when education and children’s services, for example, begin to shrivel on the vine.
In this environment, tax cuts for big businesses, which Scott also wants, are a non-starter. All that Republican dogma about stimulating growth through lower taxes may look rosy in the long view, but we need to balance the budget right now, not five or ten years from now.
Scott is reminiscent of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came into office talking tough, but who was eventually humbled by a recalcitrant legislature and by the sheer magnitude of his state’s problems (Calling them “girly men” didn’t help any). He slunk out with head bowed, leaving a gargantuan mess behind for a grayer and wiser Governor Moonbeam, of all people, to clean up.
Scott, the quintessential outsider, is fond of saying he doesn’t owe anybody anything. Standard-issue politicians like our legislators, who may harbor dreams of higher office someday, read this freewheeling attitude as reckless and potentially dangerous to their careers.
This bronc, they’re probably saying quietly among themselves, has gotta be busted.