Gov. Rick Scott ignores legal aid for Floridians

While the governor's proposal called for spending $83.5 billion, a record amount, he couldn't spare a dime for legal assistance for Floridians who can't afford to hire lawyers in civil court, where noncriminal cases are handled.

Editorial (Florida)

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
February 7, 2017

Tags: Funding: State & Local, Justice for All

Organizations mentioned/involved: Florida Bar Foundation


In short, it’s a better deal for taxpayers to invest at the front end to help fellow Floridians solve problems in civil court, instead of paying more to deal with the consequences to the state’s economy of unsolved problems at the back end. This same logic would apply — and should appeal — to other potential legal aid contributors, including the business community and nonprofits. Here’s how the math works:

Civil legal assistance helps lower-income residents secure the benefits to which they are entitled. This includes federal benefits for veterans as well as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. It includes state benefits such as unemployment compensation. And it includes disputed wages and unpaid child support, too. When Floridians get back more of the dollars they’re owed, they spend them and support local businesses and jobs.