So, Rep. McKeel, Would You Have Voted For The Stimulus?

I noted the following in The Ledger’s account of the Chamber legislative wrap-up gala:

“We made the decision that K through 12 be held as harmless as possible during the budget cutting,” said Rep. Seth McKeel of Lakeland, who chairs and is on several education committees.

“Many of us broke with a pledge not to raise taxes to do that. We also took $3.5 billion in federal stimulus package funds. We could not have held education harmless without it, but that money runs out in two years,” he said.

If Seth McKeel’s forceful use of “we” to describe who decided to save Florida education funding includes Congressional Democrats and Barack Obama, then he is correct. Yet, somehow those pesky identities don’t show up in the actual sentence. At least McKeel, a Republican, publicly credits stimulus funds for “holding education harmless.” But it’s worth remembering that not a single Republican in the US House of Representatives had any interest in helping Florida hold education harmless.

It’s also worth noting that if the Teabaggers that would-be congressman Dennis Ross eagerly addressed a few weeks back had gotten their way, there would be no holding Florida education harmless. That likely would have led to either hundreds of teachers layoffs or a four-day school week. Understand that a four-day school week imposes a new tax on working parents, who must come up with the money or time to account for their children on the weekday when classes are shut down. So the Teabaggers, probably without realizing it, are all for new taxes on working families. Life is not a bumper sticker, folks.

All of this raises a question for McKeel and Ross and any other Republican legislator or politician: Would you have voted for the stimulus plan? Or would it have been better to let Florida cut thousands of teachers and make life more difficult and expensive for Florida’s working families?

6 thoughts on “So, Rep. McKeel, Would You Have Voted For The Stimulus?

  1. Just a little truth in advertising here.

    Not only did none of the republicans vote for the stimulus, but also 11 dems. Does that make them tea “party” attendees or heartless as well? Or maybe they were concerned with the big picture and maybe it is time to cut and then spend.

    I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that we would be better served without partisan politics, especially in the people reporting the news.

  2. Just a little truth in advertising here.

    Not only did none of the republicans vote for the stimulus, but also 11 dems. Does that make them tea “party” attendees or heartless as well? Or maybe they were concerned with the big picture and maybe it is time to cut and then spend.

    I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that we would be better served without partisan politics, especially in the people reporting the news.

  3. Now, I’d expect this kind of reaction from more mainstream media sources – trying to divide the debate into just 2 ideas, as if it was either cut education spending or cut education jobs. So I am a little disappointed to see a writer for Lakeland Local trying to make the debate so polarized.

    The truth is, there is too much money wasted in every segment of government spending, that one could have “saved” teaching jobs if other areas of waste were cut. Even the local school boards can find areas to cut spending without having to cut jobs. Some examples include 4-day work weeks during summer months, revising bus schedules and routes, reducing office supply/paper waste (and there is a lot of it in our schools!), re-evaluating the need for support staff, reducing game schedules for athletic teams (already done in Polk County), and the list goes on and on.

    That aside, maybe not all teaching jobs need to be saved. Maybe recent laws like the class size amendment are just ways for the teacher’s unions to guarantee more jobs for their members, with no real regard to the actual benefit to students?

    Why are you trying to oversimplify the budget problems in the state of Florida by creating villains (Ross and McKeel) and good guys (the dems who voted for stimulus)? The debate should be much more nuanced than this, and I’d think a blog like Lakeland Local would be a great forum to accentuate that.

  4. Now, I’d expect this kind of reaction from more mainstream media sources – trying to divide the debate into just 2 ideas, as if it was either cut education spending or cut education jobs. So I am a little disappointed to see a writer for Lakeland Local trying to make the debate so polarized.

    The truth is, there is too much money wasted in every segment of government spending, that one could have “saved” teaching jobs if other areas of waste were cut. Even the local school boards can find areas to cut spending without having to cut jobs. Some examples include 4-day work weeks during summer months, revising bus schedules and routes, reducing office supply/paper waste (and there is a lot of it in our schools!), re-evaluating the need for support staff, reducing game schedules for athletic teams (already done in Polk County), and the list goes on and on.

    That aside, maybe not all teaching jobs need to be saved. Maybe recent laws like the class size amendment are just ways for the teacher’s unions to guarantee more jobs for their members, with no real regard to the actual benefit to students?

    Why are you trying to oversimplify the budget problems in the state of Florida by creating villains (Ross and McKeel) and good guys (the dems who voted for stimulus)? The debate should be much more nuanced than this, and I’d think a blog like Lakeland Local would be a great forum to accentuate that.

  5. If Senator Dockery had made this statement instead of McKeel, would you have been short on editorial material?

  6. If Senator Dockery had made this statement instead of McKeel, would you have been short on editorial material?

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