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February 10, 2009

Associated Industries of Florida Advocates for Government Transparency and Accountability

TALLAHASSEE –The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) board of directors recently voted to support the elimination of the Low Income Pool (LIP) council, a group established by the Florida Legislature to make recommendations on the financing of the LIP and the distribution of more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds.

“In this new era of transparency and accountability, we should take a hard look at the practices of our government. One of the first places to look in Florida is the LIP Council,” said Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of AIF. “The LIP council is comprised of industry insiders who tell the Legislature how to spend taxpayers’ money. We believe that the experts at the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Legislature should provide a plan to appropriate these taxpayer funds in a fair and transparent manner that carries out the mission of providing healthcare to the neediest in Florida.”

Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) have sponsored legislation to abolish the LIP council, which consists of 17 individuals. Almost all of the members of the council are lobbyists or direct employees of the hospitals that receive the funds.

AIF supports the elimination of the LIP council and believes taxpayer dollars need to be protected and appropriated by the Legislature.