This week the Florida Legislature starts its series of Committee Weeks in preparation for the 2016 Regular Session (see the schedule below). Included is another Special Session planned for Senate Redistricting.
What does it cost Florida taxpayers for these special sessions? According to the Tampa Bay Times, the June Special Session held to pass the budget that should’ve been done during Regular Session cost taxpayers $653,000. The 2nd Special Session, ordered by the Florida Supreme Court because Republican leaders were found to have drawn “unfair” district lines, was held in August. It ended in a stalemate and cost you and me an additional $153,600, per the Florida Times-Union. And, since they couldn’t finish the redistricting job then, a 3rd Special Session is scheduled for October. That session takes place during one of the Committee Weeks, so the cost should offset or not. We’ll have to wait and see.
All in all, taxpayers have paid an additional $806,600 for special sessions that didn’t have to happen if our legislative leadership was doing its job. That cost equates to part-time jobs for 40 Floridians at $20,000/year. It could’ve been used to provide economic development incentives to attract new businesses to Florida, which would have meant new jobs. It coud’ve been used for workforce training initiatives for under-served communities. It could’ve been used to pilot body camera’s for our local sheriff’s offices. It could’ve been used to provide additional monies for unemployment assistance. It could’ve been used to provide tutoring and mentoring services for our children. All of these would’ve been great efforts to help our families. I could go on but I digress.
The fact is, our Legislature is broken and it needs help. I will be a catalyst for change and will work hard to fix our Florida’s problems so that working families will have the greatest opportunity for success. Stand with me for Florida’s families.