On Friday, just one day after signing the Florida budget in which he cut and vetoed $615 million, Rick Scott put out a Memorial Day message. Below is part of that message, taken from the Governor's website:
“Americans are able to enjoy a life of freedom because of the valor and selflessness of those who serve in the Armed Forces, many of whom have given their lives in order to preserve these civil liberties. Our military has been essential in defending democracy, both for our nation and others across the world. It is important to remember, today and every day, what some have given up while making the lives we enjoy today possible.
“This is also a day for us to pay respect to those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces and to show our appreciation for their bravery and the sacrifices they continually make. Let us pray for the safety of the courageous servicemen and servicewomen who are overseas, as well as comfort and strength for their families here at home.
“I ask you all to join me in observing a Moment of Remembrance this Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time. This will provide us all with a moment to honor those who have served in the military and reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice some have paid to help ensure our freedom.
“I would like to thank our military men and women, both past and present, for all that they have done and continue to do for us. May God bless you all.”
Scott asks that we "join him" and honor, respect and pray for members of the Armed Services past and present because of the sacrifice they've made for our freedom.
That all sounds nice as a message from the Governor, but "his" words are just that: words. The message rings pretty hollow when you compare his words with his actions concerning his "respect" for those men and women. As for honor? The day before Scott released this message, he "honored" some of those military service members in a pretty strange and shameful way.
He cut $12 million from the budget for the National Veterans Homeless Support Groups.
That's how Rick Scott honors homeless veterans. He cuts them off. On the eve of the Memorial Day weekend.
He did so on the "advice" of Florida TaxWatch, a business oriented group which listed the funds for homeless veterans as an item on it's "turkey list" of recommended cuts. A list which all but mirrors the actual cuts Scott eventually made to his budget, once again proving that if you're not a business in Florida, Rick Scott and his backers and advisors in the business community have no use for you.
A homeless veteran in Brevard County summed up his feelings on the cuts this way:
"It's just too bad he forgot about the ones that are still alive."
There are an estimated 17,000 homeless veterans in the state of Florida, which ranks the state second only to California.
Facing Scott's $12 million budget cuts, the group will have to find other ways to raise money.
In response to Mr. Scott's veto, the group is launching a campaign to raise awareness and money. Through the March to a Million campaign, NVHS is hoping to get donations from individuals and businesses. They said they will use the money to get homeless veterans off the streets.
Members of the group said they encounter many veterans who do not realize all the benefits they are entitled to.
NVHS member Dorothy Walsh said, "It's an absolute heartbreak. These men and women have put their lives on the line for us, so we can have our freedom."
"When you get in this cycle of living in the woods it is very tough to get out," Daytona said. "NVHS are the ones to help you get out, but they need help too."
So much for Scott's empty message in honoring the sacrifice of those in the Armed Forces.
Even if you're a homeless veteran, you still have not sacrificed enough for Rick Scott.
He wants more.