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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Budget cuts reverberate throughout State

The impact of the budget cuts recently made by the State Legislature in its Special Session are now reverberating throughout the State affecting teachers, parole officers, and homebuilders.

According to the TU’s article today on teachers and certification,

this school year, the state put an end to its history of paying 90 percent of the certification’s $2,500 registration fee. And it eliminated a 10 percent raise that went to teachers who, after earning the certification, served as mentors to their peers.  As a result, the number of Florida teachers earning the certification dropped from 1,862 last year – the most of any state in the U.S. – to about 500 this year.

The Special Session budget cuts the last remaining financial incentive to teachers.  Teachers obtaining certification will now only receive an 8% one time increase instead of 10%. 

The Department of Corrections told 66 parole officers that they are losing their jobs after the agency’s budget was cut $7.1 million.   According to one parole officer that was cut, he supervised 100 active cases, and kept tabs on 50 offenders who were still behind bars or awaiting transfers – and he had trouble keeping up with all of that.  Multiply those numbers x the 66 correction oficers and you now have nearly 10,000 ex- and current offenders who no longer have a parole officer.  Now that’s scary.

In the meantime, homebuilers are urging Governor Crist to veto a $190 million cut in state affordable housing funds. The current housing slump and its ripple effects have been the biggest factors in the state’s steadily slumping revenue collections — which have led to a series of more than $8 billion in revisions over the past two years. 

“Taking money from the Sadowski funds will have a direct, adverse effect on our economy, on jobs,” said Fowke [VP of the Florida Hom Builders Association] after the meeting with Crist. “We were encouraged with the meeting; we’re encouraged that he’s on board with us. I think every municipality, local government, understands what housing means to them — collection of impact fees, ad-valorem taxes, jobs. Housing will lead us out of this economic crisis that we have.”

Crist is eyeing several provisions in the Special Session budget for potential veto.

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Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , ,

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