Statewide Protests Mark Legislature’s Start

MIAMI (CBS4) – Tuesday may become known as the beginning of the protests. Thirty-two of them were held across Florida Tuesday, including downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as the Florida legislature began its session.

Badili Jones, one of the organizers of the “Awake the State” campaign told CBS4’s David Sutta they had to make noise because legislatures are moving quickly.

“We are just talking about fairness and equity in the state of Florida,” Jones said. “The wealthy should not get away with what regular people have to do.”

The debate over fairness stems from newly elected Governor Rick Scott’s budget. It calls for billions in cuts, much on the backs of the state’s 600,000 employees, education, and the unemployed.

Scott proposes eliminating 85 hundred jobs. A bill moving through the House would slash unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks.

But the biggest cut would be to state employees who would now be required to pay 5% of their salary toward pensions.

“Teachers in this state are simply demoralized.” Dr. David Kirsner, a teacher at Coral Gables High School explained.

Kirsner said some teachers are in tears over the proposal; here’s why.

The average teacher makes $46,000. The 5% hit would cut out $2300 dollars from their paycheck. In return, Miami-Dade homeowners would get on average, $70 off their property tax bill. The more your house cost the more you would save.

Some teachers, in their fourth year of cuts, are now debating leaving the profession.

Kirsner said, “I had a teacher, maybe a week ago come to my door literally in tears. She said to me, ‘Dr. K what am I going to do? I cannot afford any more cuts. If they take 5% of my salary, I’m not going to be able to pay my bills.”

And teachers are not alone. Social worker Manual Fernandez Jacobs has 29 years on the job in Miami-Dade County.

“At the end of the game they are changing the rules. I have two young daughters that are counting on my retirement and my pension and my salary.” Fernandez said.

At a rally in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday evening, hundreds of protesters showed up to voice their frustrations.

Jerry Hall, a Vietnam veteran, is concerned about Scott’s plan to cut millions from the Florida Department of Veteran’s Affairs. He said it’s not fair to cut services for veterans while offering tax breaks to businesses.

“We’ve been giving tax cuts to corporations and rich people for 10 years,” Hall said. “They said they were going to create jobs. Well, they did — in China, India, Vietnam.”

Dozens of Scott supporters — many of them Tea Party members — rallied across the street. They say in tough economic times, everyone has to sacrifice.

“The government class needs to share the burden, the responsibility when our economy is suffering,” said Charles Robertson.

Scott’s supporters believe teachers and other public employees should be asked to contribute to their pensions, just like private sector employees do with 401k’s.

“People in the private sector have actually been taking pay cuts, being forced to pay more into their health insurance, if not pay it all,” said Annie Young. “Those conditions were either do it or lose your job.”

With 59 days to decide the budget, state employees are vowing not to let up. Many of Tuesday’s protestors were planning on boarding busses and taking overnight trips to Tallahassee. Another round of protests are planned for Wednesday.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Shannon Simon says:

    This is what happens when we vote without really paying attention. This guy is a crook and everyone still voted him in. I went from 42k a year to 34k a year. Now your going to hit the teachers too. Your childrens children don’t have a chance in hell to get an education. This is NOT good for this state. Look at the real numbers and you will see that, the money he takes from education DOES NOT help the budget. It gives it to Corporations. No one seems to care any more. Where are the JOBS?????

    1. ScottWillSaveUs says:

      The jobs are coming..Thats why we elected Scott!!

      1. GARY LIV says:

        KEEP DREAMING AND SIT AND WAIT FOR THE JOBS TO COME CANT YOU SEE HE IS TRYING TO SLASH MORE AND MORE JOBS HOW BLIND ARE YOU

  2. dp says:

    Hmmm…where are the jobs? Good question. Maybe instead of asking Scott, who hasn’t even been in office for a year, we should ask someone who’s been around longer, like almost three years. Who could it be? Oh I don’t know…how about Obama?

  3. GARY LIV says:

    GREAT I AM GLAD WE ARE STARTING TO LET OUR voices be heard we cant go on like this all these legislators are doing nothing for the blue collar worker we cant get even a normal job there arent any jobs we are being shafted by the legislators and the rich are getting away with murder sorta speaking look at the gasoline prices alot of gas stations are raising the prices way high we the regular citizens cant afford these prices dropped on us on top of that they want to hike our taxes where are we gonna end up the people must show their discontent with our representatives which are not representing nobody but the rich they dont even think of the middle extinct class anymore just the rich the wealthy are getting wealthier on our account yet we must suffer the concequences why? why should we keep taking all this abuse we now need to do something else and that is the gasoline issue if we let them keep imposing the prices they want to im;pose on this great nation which they are deteriorating we will have nothing soon look around you people losing their jobs and homes people cant afford to live decently anymore some good people have gone bad because of these situations going on and the goverment wont do anything to aleviate the matter they wont even look our way they are more concerned on what the rich may do if they dont comply with them thats all alot of abuse against the people of this GREAT NATION WE ARE CALLED LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE … SOON WE WILL BE CALLED LAND OF THE OPPRESSED AND HOIME OF THE LAME because we are taking all this abuse and we dont do anything but it is showing up now that PEOPLE ARE WAKING UP KEEP THE PROTESTS UP KEEP TELLING THEM WHAT WE WANT dont let up because if we do they will surely overlook all our efforts and do nothing in our favor

  4. gary liv says:

    WE must take our voices to the capitol washington dc and let us be heard there as well we need support from everyone we must unite remember UNITED WE STAND FOR A JUST CAUSE AND THAT IS SURVIVAL OF THE BLUE COLLAR WORKER AND MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE WE CANT LET IT GO ANY FURTHER THE EGYPTIANS GOT WHAT THEY WANTED BECAUSE THEY UNITED THEMSELVES AND ALL THE OTHER OPPRESSED COUNTRIES DID THE SAME WE MUST UNITE WE MUST BE STRONG WE MUST MAKE OUR POINT TO THE GOVERMENT THAT THE PEOPLE ARE FED UP WITH ALL THE ABUSE AND WE NEED JOBS NOT EXPOTING ALL OUR GOODS AND ALL OUR NEEDED MATERIALS TO FOREIGN PLACES WE NNED WORK HERE IN OUR COUNTRY WE HAVE FAMILIES THAT DEPEND ON US WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND WE NEED OUR GOVERMENT TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE ON OUR SIDE NOT SOME RICH PEOPLE THAT DONT CARE ABOUT NOTHING BUT THEMSELVES PEOPLE LETS UNITE IN THIS CALL TO THE LEGISLATORS AND SENATORS AND CITY OFFICIALS WE ARE NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE GOD BLESS AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE FOR THEY ARE ENDURING SOME REAL HARD TIMES AND I PRAY WE CAN SEE A NEW DAWN A NEW BEGINNING FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS FOR ALL THOSE WHO CANT MAKE ENDS MEET FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE WITHOUT SUPPORT FOR ALL THOSE ELDERLY PEOPLE THAT WORKED OFF ALL THEIR LIVES FOR ALL HUMANITY FOR LIFE ITSELF

  5. Tim3500 says:

    What do you folks don’t get about losing an election. You lost,so get over it.Obama won with the congress behind him and I have to endure his madness.It’s your turn now in Fla…

  6. Tim3500 says:

    Dr. Kirsner needs a history lesson. I was born and grew up in Coral Gables in the 50s and 60s. I graduated from Columbus. Back then the two schools were almost eqaul on a scholastic level. Columbus blows them away on scholastic testing at a cheaper per student price now. I pay 1350$ a year for DC public schools and never had a kid go to a public school. Id rather give it to a private school. You can also tell your teacher that’s crying over 5% to get over it. Most of the folks I know lost 100% of their pay checks…

  7. Alan Becker says:

    Where’s the sacrifice on the part of the wealthy? It’s the same old Republican garbage, as they attempt to destroy the middle class by robbing from the lower income to give to the top 2%. Rick Scott–you’re dead meat, or hopefully will soon be.

  8. gary liv says:

    Iam glad i didnt vote for him he didnt seem too promising all these politicians want to hurt the taxpayer i am one like many i am unemployed i am not getting any benefits at all and like me many other people are in this predicament it is ashame to say that none of the people we have voted in are worth anything for the people i have been looking for work now almost 2 years in my trade and there arent any openings due to the inflation and depression now this CLOWN WANTS TO ELIMINATE SOME OF THE WEEKS PEOPLE HAVE COMING IN UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN TO 20 WEEKS WHAT IS AMERICANS TO DO WE HAVE FAMILIES TO SUPPORT AND BILLS TO PAY ALOT OF PEOPLE ARE LOSING JOBS AND HOMES AND THE GOVERMENT IS SPENDING TRILLIONS ON FOREIGN WARS NOW OBAMA WANTS TO GO INTO LYBIA THATS CRAZY WITH THE SITUATION WE HAVE HERE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY BRING THE TROOPS HOME STOP THE WAR SPENDING THATS OUR MAJOR DEFICIT AND THE GIVE AWAYS OF BILLIONS TO PLACES LIKE EGYPT AND OTHER COUNTRIES WE IN AMERICA ARE IN DIRE NEED OF HELP AND WHO PLEASE TELL ME IF IM WRONG WHO LIFTS A HAND TO HELP THE USA ? “NO ONE” AND ON TOP OF IT ALL THESE MILKING POLITICIANS WANT MORE FROM US ITS TIME TO PUT A STOP TO THIS ABUSE GET SCOTT OUT OF THE GOVERNORS SEAT AND OUT OF TALLAHASSE THE SAME WAY ALVAREZ AND SEIJAS WERE RECALLED WE CAN DO THE SAME TO SCOTT AND OBAMA THEY ARE NOT WHAT AMERICA NEEDS WE NNED A STRONG FIGURE IN THE WHITE HOUSE SOMEONE THAT CARES ABOUT HIS COUNTRY AND IN OUR STATE WE NEED REPRESENTATIVES THAT LOOK OUT FOR THE AMERICAN WORKER AND THE ANERICAN TAXPAYER AND STOP ABUSING US RECALL OBAMA AND SCOTT “NOW ” WE DONT NEED THEM

  9. GARY LIV says:

    YES KEEP PROTESTING LETTING YOUR VOICES BE HEARD TAKE IT TO NOT TALLAHASSEE BUT TO THE STATE CAPITOL AND LET OBAMA KNOW WHAT WE FEEL IT HAS TO STOP ONE WAY OR THE OTHER WE MUST KEEP THE PROTESTS UP WE CANT LET THE GUARD DOWN NOW KEEP PUSHING AND ITS BOUND TO GIVE WAY WE ARE A MAJORITY NOT A MINORITY AND TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG AS AMERICANS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LETS STOP THIS OPPRESSING MACHINE CALLED OBAMA AND ALL THE POLITICIANS AND TEA PARTY CLOWNS GET THEM ALL OUT ALL OF THEM THEY ARE NOT WORTH THE AMERICAN SUFFERING WHY WONT THEY GIVE UP THEIR MONEY OR JOBS BECAUSE THEY ARE LEECHING OF THE AMERICAN WORKER AND THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER ALL OF US VETERANS OF WARS ARE FED UP WITH THE ABUSE THIS IS A MATTER TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY WE ARE IN A VERY VERY SERIOUS SITUATION AND WE MUST OVERCOME WE ARE STRONG AND TOGETHER WE STAND AND TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A CHANGE NOT THE CHANGES OBAMA AND HIS ADMINISTRATION HAVE PROMISED BUT NOT DELIVERED AND WONT TAKE THE PROTTESTS TO CAPITOL HILL THERE WE ALL WILL BE MUCH STRONGER IN VOICE THE VOICE OF THE AMERICAN WORKER THE VOICE OF THE AMERICAN WAR VETERAN THE VOICE OF ALL THOSE THAT ARE OPPRESSED BY THESE POLITICIANS THAT DONT CARE

  10. Dr. Draco says:

    Something just occurred to me — I can almost bet that if someone poured a bucket of water over Rick Scott’s head, he would vanish in a puff of smoke!

  11. Dr. Draco says:

    Someday soon, this man will have to pay what he has done to our state.

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