It’s rare to see good news out of the Florida legislature, but we got some today as one of Rick Scott’s priorities, the privatization of south Florida prisons, was voted down in the Senate today. This is a victory for pretty much everyone. Reactions are rolling in…
Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith:
“Today, Republicans and Democrats came together to stop Governor Rick Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos from awarding a large taxpayer contract to one of the GOP’s top political donors. In doing so, they averted the loss of thousands of jobs, the devastation of communities in rural Florida and avoided putting our state’s hardworking correctional officers at risk. In a win for Florida’s families, this bill was rightly defeated.”
Mike Williams, president of the Florida AFL-CIO:
“The livelihood of thousands of correctional officers and the safety of communities throughout Florida were saved today as the Senate voted down SB 2038. We would like to thank those in the Senate that stood with working families. These brave Senators stood up to pressure from leadership and the Governor to do what is right for our state. The outcry against this legislation was loud, and from all areas of the political spectrum, and the Senate listened to the voices of concerned citizens, instead of just those with large checkbooks and high paid lobbyists. “
Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich:
“The Senate vote today recognized the dedication of thousands of state corrections officers and their families, the very real people who perform thankless and dangerous jobs,” said Sen. Rich. “We saw no numbers backing up the Republican supporters’ claims that eliminating their jobs will save taxpayers money. We saw no evidence that a private company could do their jobs better. And we certainly saw no problem, as one of my colleagues said, warranting this kind of a so-called solution. It was a false choice from the start.”
Senator Rich in particular took issue with the supporters’ insistence on prison privatization as the only way to generate $16 million to offset more cuts to education, child abuse investigators, or health care programs.
“They’re willing to pit education against public safety when that shouldn’t be the choice at all,” said Sen. Rich. “There is a very real way to bring in the money we need without raising a single penny in taxes, and it’s already on the books.
“If prison privatization supporters are serious about finding real savings and avoiding ‘stacking pennies,’ then they need to explain to Florida’s taxpayers why they won’t touch legislation that eases the tax burden on them, by asking big corporations to step up to the plate and pay their fair share.”