Public Service Workers

Florida Governor Rick Scott: The “King” Vs. The Legislature And The People!

Today marks the beginning of the Florida legislative session, with more than a two thirds majority of Republicans in both houses, but a new Republican Governor who fought the establishment and won the Governorship, and has acted as if he is a monarch, since he became Governor nine weeks ago!

Despite his involvement in Medicare scams in the 1990s, for which he should have gone to federal prison instead of paying heavy fines, Scott utilized $73 million of his own fortune to win the Governorship by the smallest margin in Florida history, about 50,000 votes. He was the only Governor candidate nationally, and actually the only wealthy person to win public office mostly based on his personal fortune, other than Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Like Ron Johnson, he ran as the anti establishment candidate of the Tea Party Movement, and he has already shown evidence that he does not wish to cooperate with his own party leadership, and to act stubborn and inflexible, and ignore the news media as much as he can.

Scott has enraged many, including his own Republican Party, by canceling the bullet train project from Orlando to Tampa, turning down $2.4 billion, which now will go elsewhere, while Florida lags on planning future transportation needs in central Florida.

Scott has refused to allow a prescription data base to keep track of pill mills, which have become endemic in South Florida, and with Florida leading the nation with drug addicts based on illegal pill prescriptions, on the basis of privacy rights, even though 42 other states have such databases. This is insane, with the reality that there are more pill mills in Broward County, Florida, alone than there are McDonalds or Starbucks in that county, with its main center being Fort Lauderdale.

Scott sold two state jet airplanes without legislative permission, and that will lead to increased costs for future Governors when they need to purchase a plane, as Scott is using his own private plane, and not thinking of future costs.

Scott unveiled his two year budget plan before a Tea Party crowd, rather than before Republican colleagues or the mainstream news media. He is calling for more than $3 billion in cuts in education and health care, while drastically decreasing corporate income taxes and property taxes by $1.7 billion, and cutting state regulation of utilities and insurance companies. College tuitions would skyrocket, and Scott has rejected taking federal funds to start implementation of the Obama Health Care Plan, and is fighting in court to repeal it.

Scott also wants to end teacher tenure, force major pension contributions by state workers, cut unemployment benefits and Medicaid, privatize state prisons, and end collective bargaining as is being attempted in Wisconsin and Ohio, and already exists in Indiana.

Scott is a nightmare even to his own party, and although they are very conservative, many of them are upset at his haughty, arrogant, dictatorial approach, as if there is no legislature or courts, and that somehow he expects that everything he wants to do will be done because KING RICK wants it so!

There is, as reported earlier, a move to pass a recall law, and some even wonder if Scott could someday face impeachment if he refuses to recognize the role of compromise, even within his own party in the legislature, let alone considering the opposition.

Florida seems to be on the road to total disaster, with the state, already in the bottom ten in education and other social services, about to face a political, social and economic crisis that will put it front and center, even ahead of Wisconsin and Ohio and other states with “bully” Governors!

Support In Poll For Public Sector Workers As Republican Governors Work To Destroy Unions

As Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Rick Scott, among other Republican Governors, make clear their campaign to undermine labor unions and strip public service workers of their benefits, a New York Times-CBS News Poll shows the American people oppose efforts to weaken the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, and are against the cutting of pay and benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits.

By 60-33, Americans oppose taking away the bargaining rights of workers, and by 56-37 they are against cutting of pay or benefits to reduce deficits, with larger majorities of Democrats and Independents, and slight plurality favoritism among Republicans of what these governors are attempting to do.
By a slight margin, the poll also supports ability to retire early for police officers and firefighters, and even teachers.

A plurality of 40 percent supported raising taxes to deal with the deficit, and 71 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Independents opposed weakening collective bargaining rights of public employees.

The only group that had a substantial support for cutting pay and benefits, but even then not a majority (45 percent), were those earning more than $100,000 per year.

A Wisconsin poll also shows nearly 60 percent oppose what Governor Scott Walker is trying to do to destroy collective bargaining, and a recall movement is developing against him and many leaders of the GOP in the legislature. And a poll shows if Walker was running now for Governor, four months after he was elected, he would easily lose!

So with strong Independent support for labor rights, and polls showing great anger against GOP Governors, the Democrats may be able to utilize the anti labor fight in a productive way in 2012!

In Solidarity With Wisconsin Public Servants: Progressives Rally For Labor Rights

Progressives everywhere should be very proud, and stand in solidarity with Wisconsin public servants and their supporters, who have rallied at the state capitol in Madison for the past three days to protest Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip workers of long held rights to collective bargaining, and to stop the raid on the salaries and benefits earned by hard won efforts over many years by thousands of dedicated teachers, nurses, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, prison guards, librarians, sanitation workers, social workers and others!

Wisconsin is the home of the progressive movement of a century ago, begun by Governor and Senator and third party presidential candidate Robert LaFollette, Sr. Wisconsin has had many great political leaders, including LaFollette’s two sons, Senator Robert LaFollette, Jr and Governor Philip LaFollette; Russ Feingold; William Proxmire; Gaylord Nelson; Herb Kohl; David Obey; and Patrick Lucey among others.

Democratic lawmakers in the State Senate have fled to Illinois, in order to prevent a 3/5th quorum needed to pass legislation, and we should support their refusal to come back and participate in what is seen as a union busting tactic encouraged by conservative talk show hosts and conservative think tanks and the billionaire Koch Brothers who have been conspiring to stop all reforms and promote corporate power as part of the Republican takeover of many state governorships and the House of Representatives!

The battle in Wisconsin is also the battle in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and other states, as Wisconsin is simply the first in a long struggle to preserve the great reforms of the New Deal and Great Society. Middle class Americans are seeing their status destroyed, as the elite upper class sets out to concentrate wealth even more, which will lead to a growing underclass, and the wiping out of the middle class!

It is encouraging that President Obama has now come to the defense of public service employees, and it is making very clear where Democrats stand against the Republican onslaught against labor and the middle class!