State Rep. Bill Proctor said roughly 80% of the state’s budget comprises health and human services, education and public safety, leaving little room to work with otherwise.
State Rep. Bill Proctor appeared before the Flagler County Tea Party at the June 21 meeting, at Flagler Palm Coast High School, to discuss some of the outcomes of the 2011 session of the Florida legislature.
“I don’t think things are going to change appreciably for next session,” Proctor said in an interview prior to the Tea Party meeting.
Proctor said that on the state level, there are only so many options when working on a budget in the current economic times.
“It’s a difficult time, but the state is exactly like a family,” he said. “You’ve just got to be willing to cut, and you have to be willing to prioritize where you’re going to spend money.”
Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2012 budget in May, which is approximately $69 billion. Three parts of the budget — health and human services, education and public safety — make up about 80% of the budget. Because those three budget items are for essential services, it leaves very little room for other budget cuts, Proctor said.
“You add up those numbers and there’s not a lot to play with,” he added.
Proctor said some of the main objectives at this year’s legislative session were to balance the budget while not raising taxes.
“You cannot tax yourself out of a recession,” Proctor said. “You can only dig the hole deeper.”
Proctor respects Conklin
Proctor also discussed education.
He said he understands School Board member Colleen Conklin’s desire for the Flagler County School Board to sue the state for inadequately funding education.
“I don’t know that it’s a wise thing to do, but it’s their call,” he said. “The point is that basically, the Legislature could not do much more unless they raise taxes. It’s just tough times.
“I’m sympathetic with (the School Board), and I understand the problem, but the reality is it’s tough all over.”
Proctor also discussed the ongoing issue of Internet cafés throughout Palm Coast. At the June 21 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved the second reading of a six-month moratorium on Internet cafés. Some Palm Coast residents wanted to know why the Legislature didn’t take any action.
Proctor said Internet cafés came up late in the session, and time ran out.
Contact Andrew O’Brien at [email protected].