Last month, Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) was positively glowing over his new budget, which, while it does increase education spending in the Sunshine State, still funds schools at a lower level than before the recession (even as Scott dubs the plan his “education and jobs budget“).
During his annual State of the State address today, Scott said that he “just cannot budge” on funding Florida’s education system at 17 percent below its per-pupil funding of five years ago:
This session I ask you to continue your commitment to education… My recommended budget includes $1 billion in new state funding for education. And I ask you to please consider that recommendation very carefully. On this point, I just cannot budge.
Here’s what’s happened to Florida’s education funding since the Great Recession began:
30 states are now spending less on education than they were in 2008. In ten of those states — South Carolina, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Utah — funding has been cut more than 10 percent below where it was before the recession.
But at the same time that he’s saying he can’t possibly spend another dime on Florida’s schools, Scott is also promoting millions of dollars in unnecessary corporate tax cuts, in a state that is already very low-tax. These cuts will actually remove scores of Florida businesses from the tax rolls entirely.