Awake the State
I watch the Oscars because I enjoy watching people win.
Yet, for those nominated that don't carry the gold trophy home, to lose is also to win. The recognition simply rockets their careers forward.
Funny thing, recognition, when it's given and the reasons why. Take teachers, for example. Or state workers. Or public service personnel. All people who work quietly behind the scenes of their communities, entrusted with the education of our children, the running of the state and at times, our very lives when we are faced with risk.
Here in Florida, the recognition of those who keep the sunshine in this state has most recently come via the pointed finger of our newly elected governor, a short term resident who doesn't think too much of public workers.
Time to wake up Gov. Rick Scott.
Time to Awake the State.
On March 8th--the first day of the Florida Legislative session--rallies throughout the state are planned to demonstrate support for those who are working for us all.
The Brevard County-Melbourne Rally will take place at School Board Headquarters, located at 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, FL 32940, 4:30 PM-7:30 PM.
For readers outside the Brevard County area, click here to find a rally near you.
For those who still believe that the holes in this state's financial shortfalls must be made off the backs of teachers, firefighters, police officers and state workers, take a look back at 2003 to truly focus on one reason in particular that has helped lead Florida citizens to these dark financial days.
The St. Pete Times:
At a time when Florida is scraping for every dollar to improve education, build roads and prisons and buy prescription drugs for the poor, Florida's corporate income tax is all but dead.
** Corporate income tax collections as a percentage of state tax revenue are at their lowest point since 1972-73.
** In 2001, Florida lost a larger percentage of revenue because of questionable tax shelters than all but two of the 45 states that impose a corporate income tax, according to a recent study.
** The system is increasingly inequitable for businesses, with just 5,000 companies paying almost all of the tax.
** As the corporate tax percentage declines, the state's reliance on the sales tax - which hits the poorest Floridians five times harder than the richest - is growing.
** By one state estimate, legal exemptions, credits, deductions and loopholes cost Florida $1.2-billion a year - more than the corporate tax generates.
In a state with a $53.5-billion budget, $1.2-billion would be enough to hire 28,000 teachers or build 3,500 classrooms or bring teachers' salaries in line with the national average.
It would be enough to build 30,000 prison beds or 425 miles of two-lane roads. Or enough to provide prescription drug coverage for 50,000 seniors for more than a decade.
How do so many businesses pay so little or nothing? The answer is aggressive tax planning, a state tax code full of loopholes and politicians unwilling to plug them.
And don't even get me started on the intangibles tax (or lack thereof).
Upon winning the Best Actor Oscar for Philadelphia in 1994, actor Tom Hanks credited two high school teachers for his success.
"Here's what I know... I would not be standing here if it weren't for two very important men in my life, two I haven't spoken with in a while but I had the pleasure of just the other evening - Mr Rawley Farnsworth, who was my high school drama teacher, who taught me 'Act well the part, there all the glory lies', and one of my classmates under Mr Farnsworth, Mr John Gilkerson....to fall under their inspiration at such a young age. I wish my babies could have the same sort of teacher, the same sort of friends."
As our politicians like to say, do it for the children.
Awake This State.