Rick Scott has a duty to take Obama job plan funds
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 22:09
According to the Sept. 16 press release by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the unemployment rate for the state of Florida is a whopping 10.7 percent, 1.6 percent above the national average.
As bad as this information sounds, the local figures are far worse.
The three counties closest to Florida Gulf Coast University have rates even higher.
On the list of worst unemployment rates throughout the state, Lee County ranks 21st at 11.5 percent, Collier County ranks 16th at 11.9 percent and Hendry County leads the state with an unemployment rate of 17.1 percent.
In all, 51 of Florida's 67 counties have unemployment rates higher than the national average of 9.1 percent, so why are there rumors that Governor Rick Scott and state Republicans might turn away funding from the American Jobs Act if it is passed?
An Associated Press article from Tampa Bay Online indicated Governor Scott might reject portions of Florida's proposed allocation because of "pressure [that] could build against doing anything that could help Obama carry Florida during next year's election."
Governor Scott has already proven he is not afraid to reject federal funds.
Early in his administration he blocked the construction of a high-speed rail that would have been partially paid for using stimulus dollars.
But would it be wise for state leaders to decline federal funding meant to create jobs?
In his September 17, 2011 weekly YouTube address, President Obama stated the American Jobs Act is meant to put more people back to work.
Many of these positions of employment would go to construction, education and safety professionals such as police and firefighters. Yet even the President felt it necessary to state that politicians need to "put country before party and stop worrying about their jobs."
Isn't that the reason we elect officials in the first place?
We vote for men and women to be our local, state and federal representatives.
We trust these officials to look out for our best interests, not to spend their time and our tax dollars pandering to party ideals at our expense.
Our elected officials need to stop working for their own benefit of job security by re-election and start paying attention to the needs of the people. Not just the people who voted for them, but all of the people they represent.
Right now, the people of Florida need jobs.
Governor Scott has pledged repeatedly to make employment a priority. Prominently displayed on the Rick Scott for Florida website is the phrase "Getting Florida Back to Work."
He has a chance to prove his commitment to job creation is more than just a slogan.
If the American Jobs Act is passed, the Governor and the Florida Legislature should accept the $7.5 billion with open arms. It's the right thing to do.