With presidential elections a?few days away, campaigns are pulling out all the stops this weekend in crucial battleground states. Citizens have been barraged by a confusing array of ads, polls and speeches. Here are some facts directly related to Florida.
IRAQ: The cost of the war in Iraq for Florida taxpayers so far: $7.8 billion.
JOBS: Between June 2003 and September 2004, the Bush administration projected 327,900 new jobs in Florida. As of September 2004, the economy had created only 181,300 jobs, a 146,600 job shortfall.
ECONOMY: According to Citizens for Tax Justice, between 2001 and 2006, Florida taxpayers will receive $69.1 billion in tax cuts ? but will face $216.6 billion in added federal debt because of the administration’s inattention to the deficit. By 2006, 87 percent of all Floridians will receive less than $100 in tax cuts as a result of the latest Bush tax schemes.
VETERANS: There are 1.9 million veterans living in Florida. The National Priorities Project, however, reports the White House budget proposal underfunds Florida’s veterans’ health care facilities by at least $191.4 million.
POVERTY: Florida’s poverty level is higher than the national average, with 12.7 percent of Floridians living in poverty. The situation is even worse for kids: 19.2 percent of Florida’s children live below the poverty threshold.
HEALTH CARE: The State of Working Florida reports, in 2003, 18.2 percemt of Florida residents had no health insurance, "over 2.5% higher than the national average." The state was even worse in providing coverage to children ? 14.5 percent have no coverage, tying Florida for fifth worst in the nation. The state’s budget problems have been exacerbated by White House policies; Bush’s 2005 budget proposed a 3 percent decrease in federal grants to states at the same time federal tax cuts meant a $16 billion decrease in state tax revenues.