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what could have been by Ben Diamond

“Because we can.” That is how a leading Republican legislator inappropriately responded to one of my Democratic colleagues last week when she asked why a particular provision was included in a piece of legislation on education. Unfortunately, the exchange sums up the legislative session that ended last week. Republicans controlled the agenda and passed legislation that too often appealed to their conservative base rather than to everyday Floridians seeking common-sense solutions to our greatest challenges. Wanda, that’s why I wrote an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times about what we could have accomplished this legislative session, if not for the Republican majority’s misguided priorities. We could have used the additional $1 billion in revenue from online sales taxes to help hardworking Floridians, not to give unnecessary tax breaks to large corporations. We could have expanded Medicaid. We could have invested in affordable housing. We could have made it easier to vote. We could have increased unemployment benefits. We could have used federal money from the American Rescue Plan to provide grants to individual Floridians and small businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic. We could have passed common sense gun reform. We could have done so many things to benefit the people of Florida this legislative session, but the Republican majority took us backward instead of helping move us forward. If you have a moment, click here to read my op-ed that was just published in the Tampa Bay Times, and share it with your friends and family. We must keep working towards a brighter future for all Floridians, and to do that we must demand that our elected officials be responsive to all the people of this great state. Thank you for your time and your continued support.

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