Educators, Healthcare Professionals Demand Closer Look at Governor's Budget

SEIU Local 1991 and the United Teachers of Dade made the trip together for the first time

More than 100 South Florida educators and healthcare professionals arrived in Tallahassee Wednesday, where they intend to lobby state lawmakers and demand they take a closer look at Gov. Rick Scott's 2012 budget proposal.

SEIU Local 1991 and the United Teachers of Dade made the trip together for the first time.

The joint effort comes as Scott aims to trim close to $2 billion dollars in Medicaid spending from the budget, which would reduce funding for public hospitals like Jackson Memorial.
"It would effect the whole community," said Marie Germain, who has been a nurse at JMH for 15 years. "Everybody's depending on Jackson, because we are one of the best."

Local 1991 said the proposed cuts could mean a loss of as much as $130 million dollars at Jackson, and force it to slash healthcare services that many of its low income patients need.

Longtime nurse Denise Glass said she's going to the state capital with a very simple message for Scott.

"Please do not make his cuts to healthcare, because patients are depending on him, citizens of South Florida who come here depend on him, and also Jackson is depending on him," said Glass.

According to Scott's budget proposal, the Medicaid cuts would leave the state's public schools with an additional billion dollars in funding. But Miami-Dade teacher Antonio White said he would rather see the funding amassed another way.

"Without proper funding, without proper avenues to help those underprivileged kids, we can't get to where we want to go," said White.

Both unions are throwing their support behind legislation called the Fair Economy Act. The legislation would require large, Florida-based corporations to pay their accurate income tax, and not benefit from loopholes. Union members told NBC Miami, the bill could pump billions into the state economy, and spare severe cuts.

SEIU Local 1991 and United Teachers of Dade will be in Tallahassee for two days lobbying the capital.

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