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Senate President Gaetz slams TaxWatch 'turkey' list in sharp-tongued missive

Even before TaxWatch published its annual list of budget items they consider "turkeys," Senate leaders had gone out of their way to defend their decision to fund projects that may not have been in state agencies' initial budget requests. Today the group released a list of $107 million in spending it believes Gov. Rick Scott should veto, just like it does every year in the days before the budget is signed.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, isn't amused. He didn't mince words about what he thinks about TaxWatch and its list of turkeys. He calls the report "arrogance of the elite" and says the group is "irrelevant 364 days a year."

Gaetz argues that teacher pay raises could be considered "turkeys" using the TaxWatch definition and that the group put meaningful and helpful programs on it suggested veto list. Scott is expected to sign the budget and unveil his actual vetoes either Monday or Friday. 

Here is Gaetz's long, but entertaining statement:

"The TaxWatch list is built on the unconstitutional perversion that if an appropriation isn't recommended by unelected agency officials it shouldn't be considered in conference by elected legislators. This is an arrogance of the elite who spend too much time in Tallahassee and Washington listening to the echoes of their own invented wisdom and thinking they're hearing the voice of God.

"No agency put in its budget a $3,500 raise for Florida's most effective teachers, yet that was funded. No agency testified before the Legislature asking for a raise for state employees who had been without one for six years, yet we passed it. No bureaucrat in the Department of Education asked for a career-technical pathway to a high school diploma or an online pathway to a university degree, but we funded them. Not a whisper of criticism from TaxWatch on any of these and a hundred other similar items. So, apparently, their indignation is not only ill-informed but selective.

"TaxWatch has dismissed as 'turkeys' mobile medical and dental units to bring health care to poor people in rural areas, documentation and education about the Holocaust, housing for disabled veterans, rehabilitation for severely wounded soldiers who want to return to duty, and replacement of 50 year old educational facilities that produce workforce for companies bringing jobs to Florida. In most cases, those who put together this list couldn’t find these projects on a map and haven't put five minutes into finding out anything about them. 

"If our founders had shared the slavish devotion of Taxwatch to unchallenged decisions and dictates of faraway bureaucrats, we'd all be drinking English tea and singing God Save the Queen. A good song. But not an American song. The Constitution obligates and empowers elected legislators, who come from communities and go home to communities, to write the state's budget. If TaxWatch staffers want to test their budget theories in the public square, let them stand up in front of conference committees and testify in public. More than thirty public, open conference committee meetings were held during the recent legislative session. Every item in the state budget was proposed and adopted during those public meetings. Testimony was requested and welcomed at every meeting. Not once did any person from TaxWatch ask one question, offer one idea or say one word.

"It is little wonder that TaxWatch is irrelevant 364 days a year."

Comments

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Karla McCloud

Did then School Superintendent Gaetz illegally pool and then reimburse these donations made on the same day by multiple Okaloosa school staffers to Congressman Miller????


ANSLEY, KATHEEN M.
CRESTVIEW
FL 32536 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/MEDIA SPEC 21990504658

ANSLEY, WAYNE
CRESTVIEW
FL 32536 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ADMINISTRA 21990504658

FULLER, FRANK L.
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ADMINISTRA 21990504692

FULLER, JANET
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/TEACHER 21990504692


GAETZ, DON
NICEVILLE
FL 32588 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/SUPT. OF S 21990504692




MCEACHERN, CLAUDIA B.
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/TEACHER 21990504725

MCEACHERN, ROBERT F.
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ASST. SUPE 21990504725

LULUE, CAROLYN
MARY ESTHER
FL 32569 07/20/2001 250.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ESE CONTRA 21990504720

MCEACHERN, CLAUDIA B.
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/TEACHER 21990504725

MCEACHERN, ROBERT F.
NICEVILLE
FL 32578 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ASST. SUPE 21990504725

SANSOM, RAY
DESTIN
FL 32541 07/20/2001 1000.00 OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/SCHOOL BOA 21990504745

ANSLEY, KATHEEN M.
CRESTVIEW, FL 32536
OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/MEDIA SPE
MILLER, JEFFERSON B.
VIA JEFF MILLER FOR CONGRESS

07/20/2001 1000.00 21990504658


Total Contributions: 1000.00
FULLER, JANET
NICEVILLE, FL 32578
OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/TEACHER
MILLER, JEFFERSON B.
VIA JEFF MILLER FOR CONGRESS

07/20/2001 1000.00 21990504692


Total Contributions: 1000.00
ANSLEY, WAYNE
CRESTVIEW, FL 32536
OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS
KILMER, BEV
VIA BEV KILMER FOR CONGRESS

04/14/2003 2000.00 23992315052


ANSLEY, WAYNE
CRESTVIEW, FL 32536
OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS/ADMINISTR
MILLER, JEFFERSON B.
VIA JEFF MILLER FOR CONGRESS

07/20/2001 1000.00 21990504658


ANSLEY, WAYNE
CRESTVIEW, FL 32536
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
SCARBOROUGH, CHARLES JOSEPH
VIA FRIENDS OF JOE SCARBOROUGH

03/31/1999 1000.00 99034720980

03/31/1999 1000.00 99034720980


Total Contributions: 5000.00

Redundant

"This is an arrogance of the elite who spend too much time in Tallahassee and Washington listening to the echoes of their own invented wisdom and thinking they're hearing the voice of God." - Sen. Goetz, the one true...

michael

So Taxwatch goes out of their way and commends the House and Senate for putting together a good budget, and only includes a turkey list of $100m. Then Don Gaetz responds like this? With this unprofessional rant unbecoming a presiding officer?

Taxwatch serves as a useful function to call out pork and projects that shouldnt be jammed in the budget by powerful legislators just because they are friends with someone. Every piece of government spending can be justified when you forget that TAXPAYERS end up paying for all of this. They get to participate in the process as well.

Just more Don Gaetz intimidation and bullying. Thank God Gaetz isn't in charge of the IRS.

M.A. Salfinger

Gaetz is the Turkey!

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