Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23: Legislative Slush Fund Should Not Be Reinstated

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Perhaps Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature have the same malady Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez had: Pay Raise Syndrome.

You'll recall that in the middle of a bad economy, while many county workers were having either their pay slashed or their jobs eliminated, Alvarez was giving many of his employees a raise.

Reporter Marc Caputo writes for the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald that the same thing was happening in Tallahassee:


What the legislature is planning this year is worse than anything Alvarez did last year.

This year, many state employees also face pay cuts. Also this year, the legislature is considering reviving what's known as "leadership funds" - slush funds, really, that legislators can use to help their friends and their re-election chances. They're part of alleged election reform bills, SB 880 and HB 1207. In 1989, the legislature voted to eliminate those funds.

The current legislature is filled with the same kind of people who have the Republican Party of Florida in such trouble for the way it spends money. What's a few million dollars from the state budget for their re-election when schools and social service agencies are suffering? Too much for Florida.

All Floridians - especially those Tea Partiers who profess to be against wasteful government spending - should contact their local lawmaker through Online Sunshine or Crist at his Web site, and call on them to say no to these bills.

Creating a new slush fund for the legislature while many people are still living on no jobs or cut salaries certainly qualifies as wasteful spending.

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