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Candidates must focus on budget

The Florida gubernatorial election is less than a month away and candidates Jeb Bush and Bill McBride are campaigning furiously on major issues such as education and the Department of Children and Families. However, what both candidates seem to be ignoring is the projected $1-billion shortfall the next governor will face. This is an important issue because with a smaller budget, how does the future governor expect to implement his plans of improvement?

Both Republican incumbent Bush and Democratic nominee McBride see Florida as a place for growth and improvement. In fact, Florida has been growing for a while, but there are certain measures facing Senate approval soon that will need large amounts of money that , if approved, may not exist if the budget shortfall is as large as predicted.

As reported by the St. Petersburg Times Wednesday, some expensive items slated to be approved by lawmakers include the estimated $1.5-billion construction of the new high-speed rail that was voter-approved, public school growth and fixing the Department of Children and Families, which is expected to cost approximately $400 million. Another cost might come from shifting the costs incurred by state courts from separate counties to the state government instead, which is estimated at an additional $400 million. These costs, though some will be spread over several years, as the rail system will, still need to be covered.

It is great to call for change and improvement, but without a plan to generate the financial backing, the candidates are, in essence, making empty promises. Bush and McBride should offer plans for finding the money to cover some of these expenses and let voters know that a budget shortfall has been projected.

McBride and Bush owe it to the people they may soon represent to be honest and develop plans to keep Florida in the green.