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[Susan notes: John Perry speaks to Republicans in terms they seem to care about -- money.]

Published in Tampa Bay Times

To the editor

Public dollars bring private gain

Mitt Romney's answer to the rising costs of higher education: Enroll in for-profit colleges like Full Sail University in Winter Park. I'm sure it's sheer coincidence that the school's CEO is a major campaign donor and fundraiser for Romney.

Apparently Romney is not bothered by the fact that Full Sail's $80,000-plus video game art program had a 14 percent on-time graduation rate and left students with a median debt of nearly $59,000 in federal and private loans in 2008. Such figures are not unusual for the for-profit college industry, which is now under scrutiny for "fraudulent marketing practices, poor academic records and huge loans assumed by students."

Also in Monday's Times is an editorial about Republican state Rep. Dana Young's bill that would remove reclaimed water as a public resource, turning it over for private gain at public expense. Privatization has been a priority of Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, whether it's prisons or their largest project, privatizing public schools through vouchers.

Meanwhile, another Page 1 story in the Times chronicles how Florida is losing out on millions in federal health care funding for needy children because the governor and Legislature refuse to take the steps necessary to make sure those qualifying for these benefits actually get them.

Rank-and-file Republicans need to ask themselves a question. How can you continue to support a party that works feverishly to turn your public tax dollars over for private gain while ignoring the health care needs of Florida's underprivileged children.

John L. Perry

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