It's been a tough month for Governor Rick Scott, what with people actually investigating the mysterious departure of the state's top law enforcement official.
Scott's handlers will rush him through Tampa Thursday morning so he can talk about how great his plan is at a stiffly scripted press conference, then dodging media questions about the FDLE scandal.
If all the scrutiny is bumming him out, he's apparently cheering himself up by cutting over a thousand state jobs, reports the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald's Michael Van Sickler.
Scott's $77 billion budget proposal, which he's branding (presumably ironically) "Keep Florida Working," axes 1,353 jobs from the state rolls, most of which come from agencies that have a direct impact on Floridians (overworked DCF social workers, anyone?).
He also decreed that no state workers will get a raise or bonus over the next budget year (though to be fair, he tried for bonuses last year but the legislature shot him down).
By far, the state Health Department is slated for the largest jobs cut: 758 total, accounting for about 56 percent of the total number of jobs he wants to make disappear. It's unclear why this department was so heavily affected, but we deeply hope in our naive little hearts it has something to do with imminent Medicaid expansion. Sigh.
Another area with a large concentration of cuts — about 11.5 percent or 155.5 total — comes from, of course, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, because we all know what a big nature guy Rick Scott is.
The budget also calls for $673 million in tax cuts, reports News Service of Florida, the bulkiest of which, $470.9 million, comes from cutting the communications-services tax, which News Service report "is levied on such things as cell-phone bills and cable-television bills." The Miami Herald estimates a household spending $100 a month on their phone and cable bills would save $43 a year; $3.58 a month.
A $41.4 million cut would exempt college textbooks from the state sales tax.
Other cuts he's proposing would exempt more than 2,000 businesses from state corporate income tax and phase out taxes levied on industrial equipment.
Those tax reductions basically blow the $1 billion surplus on the state's rolls, but they're not a sure thing, given that the legislature may have other tax cuts in mind.
Well, at least those people about to lose their jobs will have slightly lower Sprint bills.
Lawmakers will consider Scott's budget and tax-cut proposals during the legislative session that starts March 3, and then hopefully only three more times after that.