House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) issued the following statement in response to the governor's decision to sign the budget:
"Today, Gov. Charlie Crist signed Florida's $66 billion budget without any of the fanfare or pomp that often accompanies the event. It's a good thing, as this is not a budget that warrants celebration. A budget that cuts $1 billion from public education at a time when our high school graduation rate is already the worst in the nation is nothing to celebrate. A budget that delivers a disproportionate amount of pain to developmentally disabled children and seniors in nursing homes is nothing to celebrate. A budget that prevents Florida's young men and women from finding higher educational opportunities is nothing to celebrate.
"No one should be uncorking champagne today other than, perhaps, those wealthy, well-connected special interests who were spared the harmful impact of the budget cuts that everyday Floridians will have to suffer.
"I understand Gov. Crist's decision to forgo his line-item veto power and keep much of the funding for road and water projects in our state, as these projects are needed for economic stimulus. Ultimately, however, this budget contains a cut in the K-12 education funding by $130 per student, millions of dollars in cuts to Florida's community colleges and universities, position losses in the public defender and state attorney offices, less funding for Everglades clean up than in past years, and cuts in the state's healthcare system that will harm our most sick and most vulnerable.
"All of the Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against this budget because of those cuts."