In Florida, Budget Cuts Spark Rallies Hundreds of people representing labor unions, environmental groups and the Tea Party turned out in Tallahassee on Tuesday. Lawmakers this session are likely to try to close a budget shortfall by cutting social services, education and environmental programs.
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In Florida, Budget Cuts Spark Rallies

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In Florida, Budget Cuts Spark Rallies

In Florida, Budget Cuts Spark Rallies

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


NPR's Greg Allen reports that the money is expected to come out of funding for education, Medicaid and the pensions of public employees.

GREG ALLEN: Pace Allen, who helped found Tallahassee's Tea Party, paid his second visit of the day to the office of Representative Ritch Workman.

PACE ALLEN: Unidentified Woman: Okay.

ALLEN: Unidentified Woman: He is in his committee meeting that he chairs right now.

ALLEN: All right, well, that's the agenda for the Tea Party group that's here today.

ALLEN: Allen said many of the legislators he met seemed genuinely happy to see him. That's one more reason why he has high hopes for this legislative session.

ALLEN: I think a lot will be accomplished. People will begin to understand that we can't keep expanding a lot of programs. We have to cut back because the money isn't there.

ALLEN: That's an oft-repeated refrain in Tallahassee, one you hear from Governor Rick Scott and from the Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate.

MIKE HARIDOPOLOS: The Senate is called to order.


ALLEN: Haridopolos said the legislature would balance the budget through cuts, starting with Medicaid, a joint federal-state healthcare program for the needy that consumes nearly a third of Florida's budget.

HARIDOPOLOS: The increasing Medicaid population, rising healthcare costs and unfunded federal mandates have created the black hole that will swallow the state budget sooner than later, if we do not act promptly.

ALLEN: In the state House, Speaker Dean Cannon warned the legislature to get ready for the protests.

DEAN CANNON: Many of those protesters and interest groups will attempt to manipulate the emotions of our citizens in an effort to influence all of us. To those groups I say this: In this session in this House, we will not make decisions based on the politics of fear or anger.

DOROTHY INMAN: The governor has determined that instead of creating jobs, he will eliminate jobs.

ALLEN: Nancy Dowdy, a former city employee in Tallahassee, said saving money by targeting the benefits of teachers and other public employees, makes no sense.

NANCY DOWDY: We already have the most efficient state government in all the 50 states. We have the lowest costs, we keep cutting taxes. And what we're doing is we're cutting our future for our children, especially in education.

ALLEN: Greg Allen, NPR News, Tallahassee.

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