We need a budget that creates shared prosperity, which in turn will result in a budget that can be maintained in the face of disaster. Replacing the sales tax with a progressive income tax and reversing the policy that allows 99% of Florida businesses to pay no corporate income tax at all will allow us to fully fund our children, families, communities, and entrepreneurs to ensure an economically robust future for all Floridians.
Education funding is an investment in the future of our state. Comparing the dollar amount budgeted every year for education to the inflation rate over time, we spend less and less every year per student. This disinvestment in our K-through-12 schools, coupled with the increasing costs of higher education, result in a population becoming less educated over time. Reversing this trend will lead to a decrease in economic inequality, better economic outcomes for all families, and a strengthened state economy.
We cannot survive without this planet. It's time to make Earth our priority and utilize it as a catalyst to remake our economy into one placing people over corporate greed and neglect. By shifting the focus from one of exploitation at any cost to one of preservation, we will create new job fields and jobs, improve the health of every citizen, reduce income inequality and injustice, and start on a path of prosperity for all Floridians.
The cost of giving birth is ever increasing, now about $6,000 for those with insurance and $30,00 for those without. Families need the ability to plan for the expense of having children, and women need the ability to determine when or whether to become pregnant. Women need a full range of reproductive services and the ability make decisions in privacy with their physicians. Reducing unintended pregnancy begins with strong sex education programs to reduce teenage pregnancy.
Common sense gun laws are needed now more than ever. Background checks must be required for all gun sales, including those online, and they must be updated on a regular basis. The sale of military-style weapons and extended magazines must be outlawed.
Everyone deserves the right to good health and good healthcare. The current system is too expensive, covers too few, and doesn't deliver the best outcomes. It should be clear at this point in time that reliance on employer-based healthcare insurance has failed. We need to fix the system to include every resident of Florida.
In the first seven years following the 2008 Great Recession, more than three quarters of all income growth in Florida went to the top 1% of earners. On average the top 1% earns 40 times as much as the other 99%. This has been possible partly because our legislature passes laws that strip workers of their right to unionize and collectively bargain for decent wages and benefits—and partly because the state refuses to maintain a minimum wage that not just keeps up with inflation but allows families to live with dignity. We need to replace laws restricting union activity with ones criminalizing employer suppression of union activity.
Our system is not set up to work for the people of Florida—only for the corporations and the wealthy elite. Last session saw 3,578 bills introduced for a session that lasts only two months. The vast majority of those bills never got a committee hearing. And for those bills that did make it through the process, there was no more than 24 to 48 hours' notice between placement on the calendar and a floor vote. Democracy demands that we change this system so citizens can read and weigh in on final proposed legislation.
Florida must change to a nonpartisan redistricting commission to end single-party rule. Districts should be as competitive as possible to increase voter participation. The current method of allowing the party in power to draw districts is undemocratic.