Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Florida Republicans Turn Down Stimulus Money For Unemployment


Dan Gelber, the progressive candidate for the U.S. Senate

This morning several of my friends were aghast about the Florida state Senate passing a bill to put crucifixes on license plates. And it was a bipartisan bill!
Because why worry about a budget impasse or property insurance when you can spend more than an hour talking about Jesus, the devil and license plates?

But, truthfully, there was something even more disturbing that came out of the Florida legislature today. The Republicans, who still control the state legislature, are turning down the stimulus money that their own party's Governor is so eager to get. Florida is, after all, one of the hardest hit states in the country.
Days from the end of the legislative session, Florida lawmakers have refused to move a bill to expand unemployment eligibility in order to accept $444 million in federal stimulus aid.

While the Republican-controlled Legislature plans to use as much as $5 billion from the stimulus package to balance the budget, lawmakers balked at moving the unemployment insurance bill out of committee.

Senator Anthony C. Hill Sr., Democrat of Jacksonville, conceded that the bill was dead for the annual session, which is supposed to end on Friday, although a budget stalemate may force legislators to extend the session by a few days.

State Senator Dan Gelber is still trying to run one last amendment to try to save the situation for distressed working families whose breadwinner has been thrown out of work but he told DWT this morning that he isn't optimistic. "Florida already has one of the stingiest unemployment compensation systems in the nation, and is shedding jobs faster than any other state. By refusing to modernize they are leaving behind over $400 million our citizens desperately need... [A]t a time when Florida is on the verge of double-digit unemployment and Florida workers are facing hard times, it is unthinkable that the legislature would leave hundreds of millions on the table, money designed to help the workers who need it the most."

Gelber has been using Twitter to keep ordinary Florida families apprised of every development during the current session. With the state government paralyzed and in an apparent meltdown, he's been holding nightly conference calls with state bloggers and activists to brief them on the hard to believe current session. The Republican Speaker of the House is on his way to prison and there's virtually no one to re-write the universally disdained and worthless budget they got from Crist (which he knew would be dead on arrival when he sent it over). The power void has prevented them from getting anything useful done-- which is problematic since the state is about to go bankrupt. The special interests are taking full advantage of the chaos, pushing for offshore drilling, and getting through an insurance bill written by Allstate to screw their policy holders.

And in the midst of all this mess, establishment Democrats in DC are relentless pushing the candidacy of an inept, untested, corrupt and confused Democrat, Kendrick Meek, to run for the open U.S. Senate seat. Meek has no chance to win any kind of statewide race against any of the likely Republicans. He doesn't stand for anything and has a well-earned reputation as a play-for-play crook who wants to get along with everyone and not offend anyone.

Gelber stands up for working families every single day. Meek is the go-along-to-get-along special interests dupe. Please consider donating even $5 or $10 to Gelber's grassroots campaign for the U.S. Senate. Otherwise we'll get stuck with either a special interests Republican or a special interests Democrat, pretty much the same crap as always.

Labels: ,


At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that our system is to blame. Why don't people, like Gerber, use their talents to get a system where one issue at a time is up for debate, instead of trying to get one bill passed that has all of these confusing caveats attached? The feds are wrong by using their power this way and their power should be curtailed not only in this issue but overall.
I'm not saying that the people of Florida do not deserve unemployment benefits. I'm saying that we need to find solutions, instead of the megalomaniacs in Washington pushing this dictatorship on everyone. Reform is desperately needed in the political arena.


Post a Comment

<< Home