The economic chickens are coming home to roost, and the Sun-Sentinel places the blame right where it belongs--no nebulous "the economy is bad" statements here.
Protecting coral reefs and baby sea turtles could be turned over to volunteers because of $100 million in spending cuts Broward County officials must make to give voters the property tax relief they granted themselves this year.Yep--we did this to ourselves, and it's not going to be just baby sea turtles who feel it.
The discussion on the budget crisis that begins today could eventually result in parks and libraries being shuttered, law enforcement protection reduced and government employees laid off.I've been saying this for what feels like months--these cuts are destructive and are going to directly affect the quality of life for everyone down here, but voters couldn't see past a couple hundred bucks. And I can't say that I have any confidence that they'll see past an even larger cut this November, which will make these cuts look like nothing.
"None of this is going to be easy," Commissioner John Rodstrom said. "I'm looking at what are quality-of-life issues and what are public safety issues, and public safety is going to come first with me."
That's local stuff--there's also issues in education. The University of Florida, the flagship public university in the state, has to cut $47 million dollars. Guess who's going to feel that first?
Gaining admission to the University of Florida will become even harder as it slashes undergraduate enrollment by 4,000 students, lays off 138 faculty and staff members, and eliminates some courses and degree programs to make up for the loss of $47 million in state money.A thousand students a year who wanted to go to UF will be going somewhere else, assuming they can afford to move to another part of the state to attend a lower-tier university. Some of them may just be out of luck.
This is the flagship, remember. If UF is being forced to make these kinds of cuts, when there's been pressure from both inside and outside the university to turn it into one of the best schools in the country, on par with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, or the jewels of the California public system, then what can smaller schools in the Florida system be expected to face?
And remember--we're facing a vote on an even more severe tax cut this fall, with voters who are going to be hurting even more financially, and with legislators who don't care, because their mantra is "all tax cuts, all the time." Do you see the wave building? Better hang onto something.