Florida now ranks 49th in mental health care funding, mostly due to multi-million dollar line-item cuts last year that targeted the mentally ill. (For cripes sakes, even though we are the fourth largest state, Mississippi now spends three times as much in mental health than we do!)
But we rank #1 in gun ownership! Yay us!
I have mentioned in previous posts how the NRA writes legislation and gets an average of one new gun-friendly law passed every year. The laws get wackier and wackier as it gets easier and easier to buy weapons; but it has gotten damn near impossible to get any help obtaining mental health care in Florida.
Well done, Rick Scott:
In 2012, a tough budget year when the Legislature cut funding for school safety by $1.8 million and Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $5.7 million for mental health programs, lawmakers were able to find more than $10 million for economic incentives that went to violent film productions, bloody video games and gun manufacturers.
Our Central Florida Recovery House and Mental Health Center were cut by $1.6 million-- but that same amount went to subsidize gun manufacturer Colt to bring us 63 jobs. (At that rate, since Rick Scott promised us 7 million jobs when elected, I guess we can expect to pony up $182 billion?)
Then we gave taxpayer money to a gun parts maker and to Kel Tec (which manufactured the gun used to kill Trayvon along with several assault rifles used in recent mass shootings). We also generously ensured they had plenty of customers due to the dozens of gun-friendly laws passed, which allowed us to become the first state in the nation to pass 1 million concealed weapons users. (Yay us!)
Adam Putnam, our Agriculture Commissioner, was beaming with pride about that statistic and even held a press conference when we hit the millionth concealed weapons' permit holder.
He'd still be talking about that if a certain incident didn't overshadow that two days later on December 14th.
The GOP legislators who are desperately trying to shield guns from any responsibility in gun violence are trying to lay blame on video game and film manufacturers. Since tens of millions of Florida taxpayer incentive money went to entertainment companies that make violent films and games, that rings hollow as well. At the very least, since Rick Scott has no trouble handing our money over to these characters, he could at least expand Medicaid coverage and give desperately needed help to thousands of Floridians suffering mental health disorders under his regime. But don't expect that anytime soon. Our GOP lawmakers can just retreat to their gated communities and let everyone else deal with their consequences. Oh, we are number one in gated communities as well.