The State OF The State
In an age of political expediency especially in Florida with the up coming Gubernatorial election it appears that Florida's Governor is poised once again to spend millions of dollars to secure his own reelection. There appears that there are no dark horses within the Republican party with enough money or clout to mount a challenge for the Republican nomination. This in itself points a most ominous realm of reality for so many Floridians.
Today's political reality in which our two party system has practically blocked out any other political party from gaining a foot hold on state or national elections is without a doubt a major cause to the inability to broker any kind of compromise of proposed legislation that would improve overall conditions in every state across the country. And, apparently, it too often has only managed to corrupt our whole entire political process.
In the state of Florida with a Republican led legislature and Governor over the past two and a half years along with their counterparts in Washington have systematically set an agenda that has only helped widen the wealth disparity gap while annihilating millions of women in the process. When it comes to education any forward movement in the states reform of educational standards has now come to a screeching halt. With this years changes to students grading system have inadvertently sent the public school system backward. In the legislatures zeal to make improvements to student proficiency by increasing standards in current grading systems they failed to realize that school grades or the ability of students to achieve a level of excellence within each grade is dependent on a whole slew of other contingencies. An example would be: does the student come from a single parent home? Are the financial and economic conditions available to increase the local schools ability to offer the curriculum that improves a students thirst for knowledge? In any education reform one has to always remember that each child is unique and learns at their own pace. To blanket students into one or two categories with this new grading system has made the prospect for more students to be left behind incurring a retardation of academic standards all across the state.
To improve the state of the states economy and education, the two go hand in hand, there still remains a massive gap in this states ability to actually do just that. To attract business and retain existing ones the state of Florida must embark on three essential building blocks of economic resurgence. They are: have a vastly improved mass transit system, quality in our educational systems, and affordable decent housing. To begin with Florida must embark on a massive infrastructure buildup. That includes low cost high speed rail service connecting not only the tri city area of Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater, but up and down the east and west cost of the state. In St. Petersburg the recent discussions of the new Pier must include more economic development and that includes recruiting the higher end cruise lines like Seaborn, Crystal and others to use the new pier as a debarkation point to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Having a commuter rail service as a connection point to the new pier would felicitate more economic activity and thus improve the regions overall standard of living.
Another stumbling block to rejuvenate the economy is this states inability to bridge the foreclosure crisis. To begin with too many Floridians are still, that's if they have a job, are earning too little to pay existing mortgages or ever obtain a first mortgage to begin with. When there are so many without decent wage jobs as is the case in Florida compounded by the recent housing crisis of 2008 has made Florida the one state that has the worst housing market in the country. This is where too many homes have gone under as well as the increased number of vacant homes that continue to wallow in decay. For the most part Florida is still the one state with a service base economy and until that changes the state of housing will only continue to be a as dismal as London fog.
There has to be a systematic shift away from our service oriented base economy to one which retains higher wages sufficient enough to quality for existing mortgages and are capable of maintaining the homes once they have their mortgage. Like in China where the majority of the population don't make enough to be able to purchase the existing apartments that have been built. Consequently their housing bubble is already set to burst. But in Florida we have a very unique opportunity where technology has afforded this state to build industries that offer those higher paying jobs. But , the problem has always been our legislatures ineptness to capitalize and usher in policies that would make it more feasible to introduce workable plans to foster the growth of these new business opportunities. One such enterprise would have been the acceptance of the Federal Governments stimulus funding for high speed rail. When our most benevolent Governor refused to accept that funding down went any hope of ushering in a new realm of reality that would have improved the states economy.
In a recent more for more political expediency Florida's Governor managed to lure Amazon to locate a facility in Florida but, the sad fact is that this move mainly for political gain he failed to educate taxpayers on the true costs involved. What the reality is that when Amazon finally opens up it's doors the state is hit with a tax increase to the tune of a 6% on everything Amazon sells. To make this deal happen our Governor put up close to 7 million tax payers money just to attract Amazon to locate in Florida. Questions arise: Why would one buy influence in a company to locate in Florida? Turn around and use tax payer money to do it, then charge the population an additional 6% sales tax when we by products from Amazon [which by the way just puts another hit in people wallets] if it wasn't for political gain? That tax payer money could have been put to better use, like education.
This state of Florida is well suited to offer those high paying jobs when we utilize the technology that has been developed. Solar and wind technologies combined offer high end jobs right here. We already have one of the biggest solar farms in the country. We also have the accessibility where wind turbines could augment existing energy sources combining higher end wage jobs with lower cost energy solutions all across the state. But, too often these initiatives are deemed too costly to pursue and subsequently any new policies that would pave the way to make this state the largest solar state with lower cost energy along with gaining more higher paying jobs in the process hasn't happened.
We can do more than only hope that this next election the outcome of which our leaders would stop using taxpayer funds to buy political gain. With so much at stake the Democratic party must realize that any fragmentation or spilt between candidates without a universal united plan of direction for short and long term gains would jeopardize the future for generations to come. These gains must be engineered to empower the population that would enable them to have the ability and the availability to acquire living wage jobs. It is imperative for the future of the state and for the country that Florida helps lead the way.