Florida state Rep. Frank White is a millionaire who voted last year to lower the threshold for receiving food stamps in his state, saying that "tax dollars are sacred" and should be spent "as if they are our own". Now he is a candidate for attorney general.
The House Appropriations Committee passed a bill (HB 581) by freshman Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, that would restore income eligibility for households for food stamps to 130 percent of the poverty level, the minimum level set by the federal government. The household income standard was raised to 200 percent of poverty following the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, which expanded the population eligible for food stamps. Florida remains one of 43 states with that broader eligibility standard.
The change being considered by the Legislature would deny eligibility to an estimated 229,311 recipients, or 6.8 percent of the current statewide total, beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
"I think every tax dollar is sacred," White told lawmakers. "We should spend those tax dollars as if they are our own."
Speaking of his own dollars, in running for attorney general White has raised nearly 80 percent of his current $2.1 million in campaign funds from himself and his in-laws.
That includes a campaign contribution of $1.5 million from White himself, who used money his wife, Stephanie White, gave him shortly before he made the contribution.
White's wife comes from a wealthy Pensacola family:
Stephanie White is a member of the Sansing family of Pensacola, whose Sansing Automotive Group operates 11 car dealerships in northwest Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, according to its website.
Frank White is general counsel of the company.
And there's more: White is also sponsoring a measure that would ban public campaign funding in Florida, meaning only wealthy people such as himself would have a shot at winning elections.
House Joint Resolution 989 ... would set a referendum on the 2018 ballot to abolish Florida's public campaign financing program.
That program, established by the Legislature in 1986 and placed in the Constitution after a statewide referendum in 1998, provides tax money to political candidates to match contributions they raise.
It was intended, the law states, to prevent the cost of running for office from limiting candidates to "those who are independently wealthy" or able to "appeal to special interest groups for campaign contributions."
But Republicans are no fan of the law, calling it "welfare for politicians" and would like to see it undone.