The 2 chambers of Florida's legislative body just released budget proposals which amount to direct attacks on workers and handouts to private corporations. The Senate's budget calls for giving 18 counties permission to privatize their jails, an idea that was shot down by the chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, but SHOVED IN THE DAMN BUDGET ANYWAY.
JD Alexander, who made waves 2 years ago by trying to, what else, shove in a last-minute budget amendment that was roundly panned, was the architect of the plan. In 2009, Mr. Alexander's budget proposal would have forced the closure of 3 state-run prisons in order to send prisoners to a GEO facility that was built on speculation and never needed. However, GEO gave tons of money to Alexander and the state's republicans, so he was indebted to them and literally tried to force the state to give prisoners to a private company when there was no legitimate need for it. Thankfully, that propsal was shot down and he got a lot of heat for trying to essentially do the same thing that landed the former speaker, Ray Sansom, in hot water.
It looks like Alexander is at it again. This move could shift literally hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations, and cost thousands of COs in Florida their jobs. Alexander, quoting industry statistics, believes this move could save 7%, but anyone without a biased perception of the industry knows the cost-savings promised rarely materialize.
Of course, instead of raising taxes on the wealthy, Alexander wants to give massive government handouts to his corporate friends. GEO's healthcare arm alone has given more than $125,000 to Florida politicians in just the last 2 years, so it's no surprise that they have found such favor in the legislature. But this budget doesn't stop there; no, it also includes drastic cuts to medicaid and government employees' benefits, similar to proposals like the one in Wisconsin. Long-time readers will be interested to know that ALEC is largely behind these attacks on public workers and the talks to move towards greater privatization, which should come as no surprise.
-Side note, the professor who wrote that blog post outing ALEC for being behind these attacks on public workers has come under fire from republicans all across the country, who are trying to harass him with FOIA requests and intimidation. Kinda scary. Professor Cronon, WhyIHateCCA stands with you, though I'll probably get FOIAed for writing that. Keep up the good work!
Republicans are literally waging war on working Americans. It's so frigging maddening that people elected these pro-business hacks. Fuck you JD Alexander, and all you scummy politicians looking to eliminate social welfare for the sake of corporate handouts.