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Americans for Prosperity launches ’5 for Florida’ campaign

by John Kennedy | June 22nd, 2012

A conservative group Friday said it is launching an election-year campaign aimed at getting political candidates to endorse dramatic changes to Florida’s public pension plans, its tax system and education.

Slade O’Brien, Florida director for Americans for Prosperity, said the organization will ask the public and those running for office this year to commit to promoting its “Five for Florida,” plan.

The five issues highlighted will make Florida the “most attractive state in the nation for families, businesses and entrepreneurs,” said O’Brien, who is based in Boca Raton.

The plan is posted on A questionnaire seeking support for the proposals also is being sent to candidates. Results are to be posted on the AFP site. 

AFP, which is supported in the project by the James Madison Institute, is calling for ending the state’s corporate income tax — a move O’Brien said will attract businesses. It would also create a level playing field for businesses when balanced with an end to corporate tax breaks and incentives.

 AFP said Florida’s current tax policy is “dictated by cronyism.”

“Floridians are really clamoring for politicians who will be honest with them,” O’Brien said.

Another plank in ”Five for Florida,” would steer all new employees in the Florida Retirement System into 401(k)-style investment plans, away from the state’s traditional pension plan. The FRS recently received strong marks from the Pew Center on the States, but the groups Friday still warned that the fund is not adequately financed and looms as a potential problem for taxpayers.

Municipal pension plans, which are generally in worse shape than the FRS, also should push new workers into the investment plans to assure longterm solvency, said O’Brien and J. Robert McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute.

McClure said the proposals included in “Five for Florida,” are “another tool in the toolbox for freedom.”

 Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots activist organization, was founded by Charles Koch and part-time Palm Beacher David Koch, billionaire brothers who back of a host of conservative causes and whose Koch Industries is an oil services company.

AFP also is a mainstay of the tea party movement, which was a big supporter of Gov. Rick Scott in his 2010 election.

The pension overhaul and elimination of  the state’s corporate income tax, which brings $1.8 billion into the state treasury, have also been advanced by Scott.

Other provisions of the platform unveiled Friday include a call for expanding charter schools and virtual education, and bringing more public scrutiny to state contracting and permitting at all levels of government. If the changes limit revenue flowing into public coffers, that’s OK, O’Brien said.

“We don’t want government to grow,” he said.

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4 Responses to “Americans for Prosperity launches ’5 for Florida’ campaign”

  1. GO OBAMA! Says:

    Let me guess:

    Tax Cuts for the Rich
    Erase All Regulations
    Strangle the Middle Class to Death

    Omg, I just looked at their website and, what a shock, I was exactly right!

  2. .... Says:

    Too bad Mr. O’Brien doesn’t know enough about the Florida Retirement System to speak intelligently about it.

    Florida, while under-funded due to the recent financial mess (as are most other pensions – private and public), is one of the best in the nation.

    The legislature is working hard though to intentionally sabotage the system by under-funding annual contribution (yes, even after employees were required to contribute 3%, the legislature still isn’t contributing enough)… and by creating this man-made crisis, the call for a total reform or claiming bankruptsy should be ready for the Governor’s race/election in 2014.

  3. Tanja Clendinen, JMI Communications Director Says:

    The James Madison Institute shares the desire to expand free-market reforms and government accountability in Florida. In every situation where policy makers have applied the principles of limited government, free markets and individual responsibility to solve problems and shape reform, people have experienced greater prosperity and freedom. While JMI is not in the business of endorsing specific platforms of other organizations, the devil’s in the details which is the role JMI has been fulfilling for the last 25 years.

  4. GO OBAMA! Says:

    The James Madison Institute has received more than $100,000 from the Koch Brothers!

    We’re all SOOO SHOCKED that JMI supports AFP. It’s like of Koch’s hands is shaking the other.

    JMI and AFP are not alone.

    The Kochs have given at least $85.9 million to more than 85 different right-wing organizations over the past decade and a half.

    JMI is also a member of ALEC (another far right wing Koch-related project) and has received $100,000 from the Cato Institute (yet ANOTHER Koch Brothers project).

    Just face it, JMI, America is done with you Koch-fiend PUPPETS.

    The American people are going to resoundingly vote against your pathetic pro-plutocracy, anti-middle class agenda!

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