Cooper does not want stop at Denning
I am contacting you concerning your paper's serious misquote of Carolyn Cooper (in "Candidates grapple at forum" published Feb. 11). In your coverage of the debate at City Hall, you quoted her as saying the exact opposite of what she really said. The Observer quoted her as saying that she was in favor of a rail stop at Denning. This is a major problem. She said clearly that she was against a rail stop at Denning.
In the past, I have trusted your paper as a source of factual information about our city. Now I question the accuracy of all of your stories. I would expect your writers to double-check their facts, especially since an audio tape recording of her exact words is available.
Here is what she really said:
"Relative to Denning, I don't believe that two stops for Winter Park would be feasible, or could we stand the expense, because you need to understand how you're going to pay for this rail. So I would say to you that I would not support another stop on Denning. Primarily because we don't need another stop. I would always prefer that the stop be on a major arterial road, but not a major arterial road that feeds into Denning and feeds into Park Avenue. I think the traffic coming from Oviedo to the commuter rail stops would be very detrimental to our community, so I would not support a Denning location."
This will be very difficult to fix on your part. I would like to see a full retraction and apology from your paper. Anything less would make your paper lose credibility in this community.
Budget strong for health, education
With the opening of the 2010 Legislative Session a few weeks away, Gov. Charlie Crist recently released his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2010-2011. The total amount the governor proposes the state spend for next year is $69.2 billion, an increase over the $66 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.
When I first took office in 2006, our state budget was $73 billion; however the economic turmoil over the last few years has certainly taken its toll. Out of the major policy areas, the breakdown is as follows for "The People's Budget": 3.1 percent allocated to environment, 2.6 percent allocated to general government, 0.6 percent allocated to the legislature/governor, 7.5 percent allocated to public safety, and 14.1 percent allocated for transportation and economic development.
The governor's proposed budget requests an allocation of $21.5 billion for education (31.1 percent of his budget proposal) and $28.4 billion for health and human services (41.1 percent of his budget proposal). As you can see, 72.2 percent of next year's budget as proposed by the governor is for the state's two core missions.
The governor's budget outlines his paramount concerns about ensuring Floridians are finding gainful employment and striving to make businesses stronger. The governor is proposing a 1 percent reduction on the corporate income tax rate on the first $1 million of a corporation's taxable income while also providing for a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday as in previous years. This tax holiday, according to the governor, will help Florida's families save on school essentials such as clothing and supplies, while also stimulating the economy.
The governor's proposed budget places an emphasis on funding education, with an estimated $22.7 billion for PreK-12 and a 2.61 percent increase for public per-student funding. He is also calling for increased funding for community colleges and universities. His budget also calls for continued funding for the continued steady decrease of Florida's prison population, while also looking to preserve Florida's abundant natural resources.
His optimism about Florida's economic future is one to admire, and I commend him for his continued dedication to education and health and human services. While his budget is certainly fiscally optimistic, we in the Florida House must continue to focus our concentrated efforts on ensuring the budget is balanced fairly and properly the first time in order to prevent any mid-year alterations to the budget.
I welcome your feedback. If you are interested in learning more about the governor's proposed budget or have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 407-884-2023. As always, it is an honor to serve you.
—State Rep. Bryan Nelson, District 38