In a state that is near the top of the national chart in food insecurity, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) took time this holiday to pass out Thanksgiving dinner to about 1,000 families at a shelter in East Naples. The shelter’s program fed about 7,000 families last week, with roughly 200 volunteers packing and distributing meals.
“I care completely about all these programs,” said Scott while handing out food. However, he possesses a singular way of showing it, as his sweeping budget cuts this year “slashed funding to some veteran and farm surplus programs that helped the homeless.” To justify those cuts, Scott simply explained, “all the programs are very important, but nobody wants their taxes to go up”:
“I care completely about all these programs,” said Scott, whose budget cuts earlier this year slashed funding to some veteran and farm surplus programs that helped the homeless.
“All the programs are very important, but nobody wants their taxes to go up,” Scott explained, noting that businesses also can help spur the economy. “They’ve got to grow. We’ve got to make this a place people can do well.”
One Jacksonville homeless shelter official noted that Scott “zeroed out all homeless funding” — $7 million worth — in his budget proposal. That funding supported programs dedicated to homelessness prevention, housing initiatives, and programs that “re-house” people once they’re on the street. “Not only that, he took out the line items so it can never be funded again,” said the official.
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To show how much he cares about the homeless, Scott went further by vetoing $12 million in funding that state legislature had passed to support homeless veterans. There are an estimated 17,000 homeless veterans in Florida — the second highest in the nation. Overall, a record 17.2 million Americans went hungry last year.