Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Florida taxpayers subsidize gun, video game industries

You, the Florida taxpayer, make it that much more affordable for the makers of guns and violent video games to do business at the same time the state has cut money for the mental health care for those Floridians who might be unduly influenced by the products made by companies benefiting from public subsidies.

The Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau explains:
What do violent video games, gory movies and high-powered assault weapons have in common? 
They have all been blamed for tragic mass shootings, including last month’s at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and are all subsidized by Florida taxpayers. 
With Florida’s tax code more business-friendly in recent years, economic incentives and tax breaks have flowed to companies and industries currently under fire for their roles in America’s gun violence. 
Meanwhile, the state has cut funding for mental healthcare and school safety programs, two areas at the forefront of the national gun-control debate. 
While it has become more difficult and expensive to access mental healthcare in Florida, it is getting easier and cheaper to obtain high-powered weapons. Last year, the Legislature cut the cost of obtaining a weapons license by $5, and a string of gun-friendly measures has boosted the number of concealed firearms carriers past one million. 
As the White House, Congress and states across the country look at new measures for curbing gun violence, Florida’s tax code and budgeting measures could be having the opposite effect. 
“I think the state of Florida has a role to play in preventing gun violence and in gun regulation,” said Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan, who has pushed for gun control but acknowledged that the companies receiving tax breaks are all helping to create jobs in the state. “When you get to the issue of assault weapons, you get to a thornier issue.” 
Nationally, Florida ranks 49th in mental health funding, and first in gun ownership. The state has been a trailblazer in providing lucrative tax incentives to a smorgasbord of companies in return for promises to create jobs.
Read the whole thing, here.

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