Three key members of Congress from Florida are Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL District 16). These three men are perhaps the most powerful and influential in the sunshine state. Each has voted in different ways which may have turned Florida into a permanent state of dependency. Each is key to major events occurring in Washington, D.C. such as the national debt, the sequester, government spending and amnesty.
Senator Rubio has become the face of immigration reform and amnesty. Senator Nelson has consistently voted in favor of amnesty and to grow and expand government. Representative Buchanan, along with 86 House Republicans, on October 16th voted to raise the debt ceiling, continue funding government via a continuing resolution and fully implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
According to ImmigrationReform.com, “What Republicans will get from amnesty and continued mass immigration is a lot of new voters who are likely to vote against them – like, about 32 million of them by 2036. Most of the new voters who could be added to the voter rolls as a result of amnesty and increased legal immigration are likely to support bigger government. Among Hispanic voters, whom some Republicans hope to attract by supporting amnesty, 75 percent say they want bigger government, which provides more services and benefits. Only 19 percent say they support smaller government. This is hardly fertile recruiting grounds for the party that stands for cutting the size and scope of government.”
Since 2000, Florida and those living in Florida legally and illegally have become more dependent on federal and state government benefits, grants, funding and largesse.
The Institute for Truth in Accounting state database for Florida, with charts, shows just how dependent the state is on federal programs and funding. Some examples include:
- Medicaid enrollment has increased from 1.5 million to 3 million since 2000. Medicaid recipients are now over 15% of the population of Florida, up from 10% in 2000. (Under the Affordable Care Act more of those living in Florida will get benefits as eligibility has expanded.)
- Medicaid spending in Florida has risen from $7.5 billion in 2000 to $17.5 billion in 2011.
- The Florida poverty rate (ACS) has risen from 13% in 2000 to 17% in 2011 with the PCS poverty rate going from 11% in 2000 to 15% in 2011.
- Florida Food Stamp (SNAP) participation has gone from 900,000 in 2000 to over 3 million in 2011. In 2011 Florida had 16% of its population on SNAP.
- Federal funds distributed per capita was nearly $10,000 in 2009.
- State government spending has risen from 8.5% in 2000 to over 12% in 2011 as a percentage of nominal GDP.
- Total Florida expenditures has risen from $68 billion in 2005 to $82 billion in 2011.
- Florida state debt has risen from 4.1% of GDP in 2005 to 5.9% in 2011 (it peaked at 6% in 2008).
- Florida’s total retirement liabilities have risen from less than $.25 billion in 2009 to over $1 billion in 2012 with $13 billion undisclosed. This has happened even as the number of government employees has dropped from 6.1% of the population in 2000 to 5.8% of the population in 2012.
- Total revenue has gone from $75 billion in 2005 to $102 billion in 2011. Total revenues dropped to $47 billion in 2009 and have doubled since then.
- Intergovernmental revenues have increased from $19 billion in 2005 to $27 billion in 2011. Intergovernmental expenditures have gone from $17 billion in 2005 to $20 billion in 2011.
- Expenditures on public education have risen from $14 billion in 2000 to $24 billion in 2010.
- From 2000 t0 2012 personal income per capita has gone from $30,000 to $40,000.
Florida is becoming more dependent on federal funding to meet its obligations. Those living in Florida have grown to depend on federal and state programs to subsist. Florida now has three distinct classes: the wealthy class, the working class and the dependent class. This does not bode well for a efforts to reduce government spending, cut federal and state programs and reduce Florida’s dependence on government.