Ritter Tells Governor: Counties Are Not The State’s Piggy Bank


When you get your credit card bill in the mail, I’m betting you check out all the charges and if everything looks fine, you pay the bill.  If you notice any charges that you did not make, you dispute them.

Broward County does the same thing when it comes to Medicaid bills.  But if HB 5301, which was recently passed by the State Legislature, is signed by Governor Rick Scott, taxpayers will be paying millions more for Medicaid payments in Broward. The first year alone, if this measure becomes law, will cost Broward County over $30 million.

It could cost all of Florida’s counties an extra $300 million over the next 5 years.

Broward County, and every other county in the state, will not be able to contest charges that we believe are incorrect.  Some of the billing problems include being charged twice for the same service, incorrect invoices or being billed for residents who don’t live in Broward County.

That’s right.

We might be paying Medicaid bills for people from other counties.

Yet, if the Governor signs this bill, we will have to pay those charges.  If we protest, we lose revenue shared money from state sales taxes.  Either way, we all lose and it still doesn’t fix the real problem; the flawed billing system.

This is a clear attempt by the Florida Legislature to shore up state agency funds by placing the burden on local taxpayers.  The state wants to balance its budget at the expense of the counties.  The Florida House and Senate see us as a big piggy bank.  What they should have done was try to fix the flawed billing system that’s been in place since 2008.  The easy way out was to just force the counties to pay.  Tallahassee took the easy way out.

Right now, the bill is sitting on Governor Scott’s desk.  He must sign it or veto it by March 29th.  Scott preaches government accountability, yet the biggest problem with Medicaid in Florida is the government’s billing system.

I hope the Governor vetoes this measure, sending a clear message that lawmakers cannot just shift the burden of problems at the state level to local taxpayers.


(Stacy Ritter is a Broward County Commissioner representing the northwest part of the county. She has been a commissioner since 2006 and was a member of the state House from 1996-2004. Before being elected, she was an activist in the Jewish community. A Parkland resident, Ritter is a Democrat, a lawyer and the mother of three. )


6 Responses to “Ritter Tells Governor: Counties Are Not The State’s Piggy Bank”

  1. sidelines says:

    this will be interesting. which way do we loose the least since this is the lesser of two evils? our sales tax revenue is down anyway because of the economy and frugal belt tightening so it makes more sense to me to protest.
    when there is no money to pay they’ll leave broward, no?

  2. City Activist Robert walsh says:

    You are so right Comm.Stacey Ritter(and to Mike Satz shit or get off the pot considering charges against this woman). Back to Stacey this Gov.Goober doesn’t care. Take him to court he has lost every,every agenda he has passed then had every one of his bright ideas shot down.

  3. Real Truth says:

    Another expensive mandate by our friends in Tallahassee. They posture that they are budget cutters. It is easy to cut the budget when you pass every service on to the counties and cities. The entire Republican leadership from the governor to the House and Senate are phonies.

  4. YAFOS says:

    Let’s put this in perspective. Commissioner Ritter is more on target than many think. The state decides to “focus” it’s efforts on medicaid billings through counties in an effort to show how “accountable” our Governor and the state is. But wait, where’s the accountability for the millions given to Scott’s businesses through his “jobs program” to produce jobs? Where are the jobs? No accountability required I guess. How transparent does it have to get before people, republicans and democrats realize how this guy, this legislature, is milking every last drop of blood out of this state? Stand up and scream loud, Stacy. You never held back in Tallahassee, don’t start now.

  5. Taxpayer says:

    Have to give her credit for speaking out and today’s Letter to the Editor in the Miami Herald p18A
    Why aren’t the other BCC speaking up on this? They had a budget workshop Tuesday.


  6. Citizen says:

    The lawsuit has been filed by the Florida Association of Counties, a group Broward commissioners are closely involved with, will sue the state over its Medicaid legislation.
    (your former colleague scooped this)but this is great news regardless of source. We can’t roll over and take this. Thank you Ritter, Lieberman and Jacobs!!