Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, waded into national politics this week, taking shots at President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic senator from Florida who is up for re-election in 2012.
In a time of record unemployment, Floridians have only had their problems compounded by the coming bill for health care reform, a complete lack of support for a space program that employs thousands, and the federal governments slow response in shielding them from the economic impacts of the oil spill, wrote Haridopolos on Tuesday in a letter to Nelson. Florida deserves better, especially from its senior senator. We need true leadership, not more of the same inaction.
Haridopolos ripped into the administration for gutting the space shuttle program, reminding Nelson that Obama promised when campaigning in Florida back in August 2008 that he would make the process of retiring the shuttle program as painless as possible. Haridopolos said that these cuts to NASA could result in the loss of more than 9,000 jobs in Florida.
Haridopolos, who had been a leading proponent of studying the expansion of offshore drilling in Florida waters, was critical of the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf.
Floridians have seen little in the way of solutions from the federal government over the past two months, wrote Haridopolos. While these residents deal with the real problems, our representatives have demagogued and held press conferences.
We know that many congressmen don't read bills before they pass them, but maybe Senator Nelson will read this letter, speculated Haridopolos. We'll see.
Focusing back on state issues, Haridopolos also kicked over the 2011 budget on Wednesday. Required by the state constitution to pass a balanced budget, and without extra funds from the federal stimulus, the Legislature faces a deficit of as much as $6 billion and Haridopolos said that figure could increase due to the poor economy and the oil spill.
I am intent on finding billions of dollars of wasteful spending in Florida's budget and balancing our budget the same way working families do, said Haridopolos. We will not force tax increases or debt upon the backs of Floridians and are already working to find significant savings internally in the Senate and more throughout state government.
Washingtons incompetence is making a mess of our economy and our futures, spending trillions on the deficit, handing down unfunded mandates to Florida and failing to act decisively on the catastrophic oil spill, he added. Yet, in spite of all of their failures, we will balance Florida's budget, and we will continue to clean up the messes Washington makes.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 727-0859.