Travis Cummings talks ‘unemployment nightmare,’ budget pressures
Rep. Travis Cummings talked budget.

cummings
Taskforce hurtling toward final recommendations.

Rep. Travis Cummings, a member of the Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force, discussed the path forward with constituents Wednesday.

Cummings, the House Appropriations Chair, offered comments at the front of the call, addressing recent improvements in the unemployment system and expressing confidence that the state’s budget may not be completely destroyed by the coronavirus.

He addressed topics with typical candor but walked the line one would expect from a legislator waiting for a budget to be signed.

Cummings lauded Jonathan Satter, the head of the Division of Management Services who “came over from DMS to handle the “unemployment nightmare.”

“This makes the 2008 recession look light,” Cummings said, acknowledging the progress regarding the “antiquated” website, which he (following the cue of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott) said dated from the Charlie Crist years.

“DeSantis inherited it,” Cummings said, and it “failed miserably.”

Cummings noted that the state is not having a “financial problem” but an issue in “getting dollars out, getting claims reviewed.”

There are “horror stories out there,” Cummings said, as people play the “waiting game.”

“We keep pounding the drum,” he noted.

Cummings was confident that the state’s budget would be more or less intact, given federal relief funds and the state’s healthy reserves pre-COVID-19.

The state “had about $4 billion in operating reserves” and “got near $5 billion from the federal government as part of the stimulus package.”

That will help with cash flow, a necessary boost given the sales tax shortfall.

“We’re faring well by being fiscally responsible,” Cummings said, noting still that a return to Tallahassee may be required.

The Governor has “not asked for the budget,” Cummings said, but has “hinted there could be more vetoes than usual.”

“Now we’re spending money, trust me. I see these reports: millions of masks, gowns, testing kits … purchase orders from DEM at $300-400 million a clip,” Cummings noted.

That money may be a sunk cost for a while.

“FEMA Reimbursement takes a while to get here,” Cummings, a master of understatement, noted.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Edward freeman

    April 23, 2020 at 5:06 am

    Still covering for the fools that got us into this mess. Sen. Prick Scott paid $77 million in taxpayers dollars to build the unemployment website that was designed from the start not to work. Donald Trump elimenated the federal personel who could have headed off the corona virus outbreak and wasted 70 critical days calling it a hoax. STOP LYING.

    • Tjb

      April 23, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Rick Scott has placed blamed on Charlie Crist and others for the “unemployment nightmare” regarding the states antiquated employment system. If this is true, what did Scott do to fix it during his 8 years in office?

  • Tjb

    April 23, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Rick Scott has placed blamed on Charlie Crist and others for the “unemployment nightmare” regarding the states antiquated employment system. If this is true, what did Scott do to fix it during his 8 years in office?

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