By Chris Ingram
Irreverent View spoke with Florida State Senate President (and U.S. Senate candidate) Mike Haridopolos on Tuesday night. The following are excerpts from that conversation.
I.V. What were your goals for the session?
Haridopolos: My significant goals for this session were: balance the budget, education and pension reform, no new taxes, and reform Medicaid. We’ve held the line on taxes and balanced the budget, and have votes on Medicaid coming [before the session closes on Friday].
By my own scorecard we met the goal on education; we’re likely to follow on pension and Medicaid reform – no more double-dipping. Floridians by a three to ten margin want a balanced budget and we’ve done that (I.V. notes it is also required by the state constitution).
Irreverent View: What was the biggest failure of the session?
Haridopolos: Immigration reform. We came up 4 votes short. It was the complexity of the issue that led to its defeat. DC’s plans are bad. They’ve failed. Why? I’m not sure, but they don’t work.
The Tea Party was not a factor on [immigration, or other] social issues in this session. They just weren’t there. But we got a lot of emails from people saying pass e-verify. But it just didn’t happen. We had more pressure from those opposed to immigration reform than for it.
My goals were financial goals. We reduced taxes by $300 million. My biggest goal: spend less. And we did it. We were under a false world of stimulus money a few years ago. We’re out of that world today and had to make tough choices.
Irreverent View: That’s a great talking point today, but the last two years the state’s budget was balanced with federal dollars and you voted for those budgets and the use of stimulus funds which add more to the national debt.
Haridopolos: That’s true, but I wasn’t in the leadership then. But when I took the reins we did it without stimulus money.
Irreverent View: Okay, you did it without those dollars, but the fact is, those dollars simply weren’t available this year.
Haridopolos: I’m not pure. Only one man who walked on this earth was pure. I’m not perfect, but I pushed for tax cuts and we got them.
This Senate was different because I was able to move the ball on stopping taxes. When it was my turn to lead, I cut $4 billion in spending.
Irreverent View: It has been rumored that you will not file to run for the U.S. Senate, instead draw yourself a nice safe congressional district and transfer the funds you’ve raised for the U.S. Senate race to run for the House. Is there any truth to that rumor?
Haridopolos: I could have run a few years ago in a safe seat when my member of Congress [Dave Weldon] was retiring. I chose to stay in the state Senate and transform it. Today my goal is to run for the U.S. Senate, not the House. The only way I would get out is if Jeb Bush called and said he was “in” – then I would get out.
I like my chances in this race. I want to go to DC and cut spending. I’ll cut spending. I’m not perfect, but that is what I will do – cut spending.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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