Tallahassee Billboard Wars: Succeed or Secede?
Around the State
The new billboard is being backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF). The two groups teamed up on Wednesday to showcase a video on the new billboard.
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“There are some who would like to see Florida fail, and even break away from the rest of the country,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “At the Florida Chamber, we share their frustration with Washington, D.C., but seceding is not the answer.
“Instead, we must continue down the path that has opened doors of opportunity for Florida’s families and businesses,” Wilson added. “We are succeeding and we will continue to lead this nation back to prosperity.”
“In spite of what is happening in our nation’s capital, Floridians should be proud of the tremendous growth and accomplishment our state has achieved in recent years,” said Ed Moore, the president of ICUF. “Our country has always been known as the ‘land of opportunity’ and there’s no better place than Florida to pursue and attain your version of the American dream. Washington should take note of what we’re doing in Florida because we’ve got the right formula to prepare our students for successful careers, ensure there are ample employment opportunities to keep them in the state and help our businesses grow and thrive.”
Wilson and Moore pointed toward recent gains as Florida does better than most of the rest of the nation in economic recovery, including the state unemployment rate dropping to 6.1 percent and a growing job market.
The League of the South, which has been urging the South to leave the United States for two decades now, responded on Wednesday.
“It is indeed heartening to see Florida's economic success, especially in this day of widespread economic and financial hardship,” Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South, told Sunshine State News on Wednesday..“The Florida Chamber of Commerce and all those businesses that have made this happen indeed have a right to crow about this achievement. Congratulations!”
But Hill said there was a “bit of cognitive dissonance at work here” as Wilson and Moore celebrated Florida’s gains despite Washington’s interference.
“Why keep the economic millstone of Washington, D.C., around your neck when you could do even better without it?” Hill asked. “Why would Florida want an entity at best ‘stuck in neutral’ (many think it is going hard in reverse) acting as a drag on her already notable achievements, as pointed out by the Florida Chamber of Commerce? Upon reflection, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s position makes no sense. What good does Washington, D.C., do for you, Mr. and Mrs. Floridian, except to tax you, regulate you, and otherwise punish hard work and initiative by its own wastefulness and ineptitude? We in the league think you can do even better on your own.
“But having said this about the economic issue, let us not forget that money is not everything," Hill added. “There is more to life than money and jobs and economic growth. The League of the South is concerned with all aspects of Southern life, not just the material aspect. Is the Florida Chamber of Commerce concerned about more than the state's ‘bottom line'?
“The League of the South's simple message to Floridians -- 'Secede' -- in this day of bloated, overweaning centralized government makes much more sense than the old ‘business as usual’ position of the Florida Chamber of Commerce,” Hill concluded. “Oftentimes, the future belongs to the bold and those willing to think and act outside the box. We in the League of the South offer this advice to the good people of the sovereign state of Florida: secede to succeed."
The League of the South launched its billboard earlier this year. Back in early March, the League of the South held a rally at the Capitol in Tallahassee, opposing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for sponsoring immigration reform at the federal level. The League of the South has drawn fire in its two decades of existence and has been classified as a hate group by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.