"Jeb Bush’s man for mayor" does the perp walk
Fred Grimm: "Credit the wisdom of Miami-Dade voters. They saw through Julio Robaina."
Two years ago, county mayoral candidate Robaina had twice as much money in his campaign account as rival Carlos Gimenez. Robaina had endorsements from Jeb Bush and from Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart and other powerbrokers in South Florida’s political establishment."Last week’s six-count indictment was not a media invention."
And Robaina had a ready retort for his critics. When questions were raised about his peculiar sideline in the private loan business, about his relationship with a convicted Ponzi fraudster and about a rumored federal investigation, Hialeah’s ghost banker simply blamed The Miami Herald. He claimed The Herald “disregards the truth to cast stories with misinformation and erroneous contexts.”
The press, he said, had victimized a victim. “As a victim of a Ponzi scheme, I feel that I’m also being victimized by false media stories.”
Yet the voters rejected Robaina. They spared the county a humiliating scenario two years later that would surely have reverberated across the nation — another perp walk featuring a disgraced South Florida pol.
Thanks to the collective wisdom of the electorate — all 102,445 citizens who voted against Robaina in the run-off election — that was not the county mayor and his wife, shackled at the ankles and wrists, shuffling along in federal custody on Friday.
The self-described victim faces charges that he and wife Raiza evaded income taxes by concealing major transactions in their high-interest money-lending business and that they lied to federal investigators. The feds charged that despite his claims to the contrary, Robaina and his ghost-loan business were entangled with infamous Ponzi artist Luis Felipe Perez, who duped investors out of $45 million. Perez told investigators that Robaina had loaned him $750,000 at 36 percent interest.
Yet the smart money had been on Robaina for county mayor. In the May 24, 2011, election, he led an 11-candidate field, then lost, barely, to Carlos Gimenez in the June 28 runoff with 49.9 percent of the vote. This despite getting support in the runoff from Luther Campbell, the iconoclast rapper who finished fourth in the May 24 election with 11 percent of the vote."On Robaina, Miami-Dade voters got it right".
It had seemed a mysterious, even suspicious political alliance, with Uncle Luke embracing Jeb Bush’s man for mayor. A year later, Campbell was still seething at what he considered unfair media coverage of his new best buddy. “Robaina’s character was assassinated unfairly,” Campbell wrote in the New Times last July, suggesting all this talk of a federal investigation had been contrived by the likes of The Miami Herald to skew the election. “Here we are more than a year later and he is still a free man. The media — and the political hacks who deal in misinformation — lied to the public to make sure he would not win the election.”
Hey Luke, turns out the lying media and savvy voters spared Miami-Dade County from considerable ignominy.
You can call criminal defendant Julio Robaina a lot of things. But not county mayor.
"Tallahassee lacks leaders with long-term vision"
The Tampa Bay Times editors write that "the budget shows once again that Tallahassee lacks leaders with long-term vision. On Monday, Scott boasted about a $300 million increase in funding for the state university system — just a year after leading the charge to cut the same amount even as he backed the outrageous creation of the state's 12th university, Florida Polytechnic, from the University of South Florida's Lakeland campus."
Scott was similarly shortsighted on vetoing the 3 percent tuition increase for college and university students, who currently pay among the lowest in-state tuition in the nation. Scott on Monday argued Florida should be proud it offers cheap tuition but failed to acknowledge that the lost revenue means Florida will continue to spend dramatically less per student than most other states. At many universities, that will mean fewer and bigger classes and more faculty fleeing to higher-paying states. It will also mean many students won't get the courses they need to finish on time. Just one extra semester cancels out any tuition savings from Scott's veto."Most unusual was how the governor tried to extract written promises or concessions from various potential recipients of state money, implying that without them he would veto line-items. He even tried to get state university presidents to sign a form letter that they wouldn't push for tuition increases before the Board of Governors. It was an odd tactic unbecoming the governor and interfered with the responsibilities of the Legislature and the Board of Governors."
Florida heads into 2013-14 with more money but not any better long-term vision for the future."Budget lacks long-term vision". See also "Scott signs budget but vetoes $368 million in spending first", "Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs budget, vetoes $368 million in spending", "Rick Scott Vetoes Go Far and Wide", "Gov. Scott’s $368 million in budget vetoes hits PBSC campus, sheriff's program" and "Governor vetoes $50 million for proposed bike trail along with $27.3 million in water projects".
The Miami Herald editors: "South Florida regaining lost ground".
"Rick Scott Leads Florida Entourage on Trade Mission to Chile".
"Let's try someone from South Florida"
"For 10 years, political pros have taken it almost as gospel that the strongest statewide Democratic candidates are centrists from Florida's top battleground region of Tampa Bay. But 2014 gubernatorial hopeful Nan Rich says that's bunk."
"We tried that three times, and we had three good candidates — we had Jim Davis, Alex Sink and Bill McBride," Rich said Monday, referring to the last three Democratic nominees for governor. "And you know what? We didn't win. So let's try something new. Let's try someone from South Florida.""Democrat Rich says she's ready to take on Scott".
Medicaid managed-care rolled out
"Though critics, including the AARP, say the pilot program for the managed-care plan has had problems, Washington approved the transition and Florida is implementing it to save money in a $21-billion Medicaid program." "Long-term care Medicaid patients start enrolling".
The best they can do?
"Miami-Dade County School Board member Carlos Curbelo has not officially entered the race to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia -- but the Miami Republican is enlisting some of the state's most prominent members of the GOP for his exploratory committee." "Carlos Curbelo Doing the Pre-Season I'm-Running Dance to Challenge Democrat Congressman Garcia".
Manufacturing tax break
"Gov. Scott signs manufacturing tax break into law".
Trib likes their Ricky
The wingers at the Tampa Trib begin the long trudge that will end up with their predictible endorsement of Rick Scott's reelection, no matter who runs against him: think Ricky Scott is doing just fine: "Scott’s evolution as governor".
Scott has picked up "less than 20 percent of the jobs" he promised
"To hear Gov. Rick Scott tell it, his memorable campaign pledge to create 700,000 jobs in seven years is going right along schedule."
The novice politician, almost two and a half years into his first term, says things are looking bright for the Sunshine State as a result of investments in economic development and public education.Politifact points out that "it's premature to sing Scott's praises for fulfilling half of the jobs he promised in the centerpiece of his 2010 campaign."
"We are already almost halfway to our 2010 goal of creating 700,000 new jobs in seven years," Scott wrote in a letter explaining line-item vetoes in the 2013-14 state budget.
This is so
Because Scott told us in a debate and in press accounts that his 700,000 jobs would come on top of Florida's normal growth as it re-added jobs lost during the recession. State economists expected the state to add about 1 million jobs by 2017."PolitiFact: Fact-checking Rick Scott's jobs math".
"It's on top of that," he told a reporter in 2010. "If you do these things, we're going to grow 700,000 more jobs."
So Scott needs about 1.4 million more jobs by 2017 to fulfill his original promise of 1.7 million jobs. Through 28 months in office, the state has added less than 20 percent of the jobs he needs to meet that mark.
"Never Underestimate the Indefatigable Bill Young".
Raschein, R-Key Largo, draws major Democratic opponent
"Rep. Holly Merrill Raschein, R-Key Largo, has drawn a major Democratic opponent as she seeks to defend one of the more competitive seats in the Florida House of Representatives."
Businesswoman and community leader Pamela Gray filed her paperwork Monday to challenge for the House seat, which represents all of Monroe County and parts of Miami-Dade. Filing as a Democrat, Gray had run for the Miami-Dade Commission in 2010, before withdrawing and throwing her support behind another candidate. Gray served as president of the Redlands Citizens Association and served as chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Planning Advisory Board."Rep. Holly Raschein Looks Over Her Shoulder at Dem Challenger Pamela Gray".
"Scott's anti-tax zealotry"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "When does Florida's self-proclaimed "jobs governor" say no to potentially thousands of new jobs? When those jobs run headlong into a misguided tax stance that discriminates against Florida businesses and workers but helps carpetbaggers."
The defense that Gov. Rick Scott's office provided last week for why the state would not strike a deal with Amazon.com to build a warehouse in Florida is tortured, and underscores once again how Republican leaders' continued refusal to support efforts to modernize sales tax laws to encompass out-of-state Internet retailers is hurting Floridians and their communities."From 'jobs governor,' a job-killing move".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida pays price for Scott's anti-tax zealotry".Trigger foes "crow" as wingers whine
"Two weeks after the 2013 Florida Legislature finished its regular session, opponents of Parent Empowerment are still crowing that the bill's defeat represented a victory for 1 million parent activists. There's just one problem: that figure appears to be pulled out of thin air." "Parent Empowerment Foes Inflating Membership".
"Scott backed down"
"The state's largest hospitals were relieved to learn Scott will not spike $65 million aimed at easing the transition to a new Medicaid payment system. In return, hospitals agreed not to ask for more such money next year."
Safety net hospitals lobbied heavily for the extra money, saying a new payment system, known as DRG for diagnosis-related groups, caused massive cuts in Medicaid funding. The House insisted on including transition dollars and the Senate agreed to the $65 million."Scott to veto tuition hike, okay Medicaid transition money".
Scott's office hinted to hospitals last week that he would reject the money and in response they ramped up their lobbying. Those familiar with the governor's rationale said he felt the formula should stand as is, without consideration for winners and losers.
After hearing from hospitals and their advocates, Scott backed down, but not without obtaining concessions from the hospitals that the funding would last for one year. About 20 hospitals sent letters to Scott pledging to reject additional transition dollars next year, many using a form letter.
"Rubio mesmerized more than 700 people at the annual Hillsborough GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night with a familiar speech that resonated more strongly than ever amid revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups, the U.S. Department of Justice spied on Associated Press reporters, and administration staff carefully calibrated their explanations of the Benghazi attack." "Marco Rubio blames President Obama for latest scandals".
Rubio's "pious fervor" stops when it comes to Karl Rove's abuse of Section 501(c)(4) of the IRS Code
As Rubio "mesmerized" Hillsborough GOP robots about how the poor lil teabaggers being victimized by the IRS, Carl Hiaasen reminds us that the IRS "scandal" is at its core about the abuse of the current "gimmick of choice",
Section 501(c)(4) of the revenue code. Groups receiving that golden designation are allowed to collect unlimited contributions without paying taxes.Hiaasen continues, warning us that
They’re not banned from political involvement, but by law they’re supposed to be “primarily engaged” in activities promoting “social welfare” and “the common good” — not partisan politics.
It’s a total farce.
Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent untold millions of dollars on behalf of Republican candidates while attacking Democrats during the last election cycle. On the other side, Priorities USA spent a fortune helping Democratic candidates while trashing Republicans.
Both rabidly partisan organizations enjoy tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4). They claim to run strictly “issue” advertisements that aren’t really political, which is a hoot.
Congress will hold long hearings, brimming with outrage [about the IRS]."IRS went after small fry, but let the big ones get away".
No such pious fervor exists for investigating and exposing the fraudulent status of large groups like Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, which collectively take in hundreds of millions of dollars.
They’re not “social welfare” organizations worthy of a tax exemption. They’re wealthy partisan advocacy machines with purely political missions — to promote their candidates, and to influence voters.
They are prized by both parties as safe and bottomless repositories for huge campaign donations, which is why you don’t see congressional leaders declaring war on the 501(c)(4) charade.
The c stands for ca-ching.
"DEP attorneys seek new hearing in permitting case involving employee who testified against bosses".
"The Florida House did the nation a favor by refusing to expand subsidized health insurance to 1 million low-income Floridians, argues Speaker Will Weatherford."
Does the Medicaid expansion drastically raise the deficit? PolitiFact Florida wanted to check it out."PolitiFact: Weatherford overreaches with claim that Medicaid expansion drives deficit".
Weatherford spokesman Ryan Duffy responded to our inquiry with a document that includes a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Christina Corieri, a health care policy analyst at the Goldwater Institute, a free-market research group that opposes the expansion of Medicaid.
Corieri's column does not say that expanding Medicaid as outlined in the health care law will drastically increase the deficit. Instead, Corieri says states have "the unique opportunity to veto hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal spending." She said the nearly 30 states that have either opted out or are considering it could save the government $609 billion over the next eight years.
Raw political courage
"Report: Gov. Scott to veto 3 percent tuition increase". See also "Gov. Rick Scott to veto tuition hike".
Scott "eager to use the death penalty"
"Gov. Rick Scott has accelerated the pace of signing death warrants in Florida by lining up three executions over the next few weeks, the most in such a brief period of time in more than two decades."
Scott and his chief legal adviser say they are doing nothing unusual. But legal experts who oppose the death penalty wonder whether other factors are at work — such as Scott's desire to improve his standing with voters as he seeks re-election next year."Gov. Rick Scott speeding up Florida inmate execution process".
Not since 1989, when an unpopular Gov. Bob Martinez set a record by signing six death warrants in a single day, has a Florida governor been so eager to use the death penalty.
Rubio and "Jeb!" fail to impress in GOPer 2016 sweepstakes
"PPP's monthly look at the 2016 Republican field for President finds essentially a 4 way tie at the top- Marco Rubio has 16%, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie 15% each, and Rand Paul 14%. Paul Ryan at 9%, Ted Cruz at 7%, Rick Santorum at 5%, Bobby Jindal at 3%, and Susana Martinez at 1% round out the potential candidates [PPP] tested."
It's now been almost 6 months since we started doing regular polling of the 2016 race. The only candidate who's shown any real momentum over that period of time is Paul, whose support has doubled from 7% to 14%. Rubio's shift from 18% to 16%, Bush's from 12% to 15%, and Christie's from 14 to 15% are all within the margin of error. It is worth noting though that this is the first time Rubio hasn't held at least a 4 point lead over the other Republican contenders."There hasn't been much movement on the Democratic side either."
Hillary Clinton leads with 63% to 13% for Joe Biden, 4% for Andrew Cuomo, 3% for Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren, 2% for Martin O'Malley, and 1% each for Kirsten Gillibrand, Deval Patrick, and Brian Schweitzer. Clinton led Biden 61-12 when we started polling on this in December. Clinton has at least 58% support with liberals, moderates, men, women, whites, African Americans, Hispanics, young voters, and seniors- in other words every key segment of the Democratic electorate. "4 way tie for Republicans, Clinton leads Dems". See also "Hillary Clinton and Florida Republicans Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush Lead 2016 National Poll". Related: "Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush Lead Republican Pack in New Hampshire".
What's poor Ricky to do?
"Gov. Rick Scott must soon sign the new state budget, and he's getting intense feedback on all sides: from lawmakers protecting hometown projects, hospitals worried about losing money and a business-backed group criticizing pork-barrel spending." "Gov. Rick Scott holds power with budget veto pen". Related: "TaxWatch "turkeys" draw fire", "Water projects left off Florida TaxWatch's "turkey" list this year" and "Turkey Day: Florida TaxWatch Gives Legislature's Budget Mixed Reviews".
Teabaggers and other assorted wingnuts in a dither
"Local tea party groups say they were targeted by IRS". See also "Meet Florida Conservatives Targeted by Obama's IRS".
What a deal!
"Besides being a state with no personal income tax, one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country, and a huge tourism and car rental market, Scott and Lee County officials greased the slide with about $85 million in taxpayer incentives. At face value that exceeds the company’s own investment in the move, leaving questions about whether the amount was necessary. In exchange for the public incentives, Hertz will deliver 700 jobs and spend $60 million toward construction of a new building." "Closer Look at Hertz's Golden Deal in the Sunshine State".
Ethics complaints kept under wraps
"Public records exemption complements the sweeping package he signed May 1. It will keep initial complaints to the Ethics Commission under wraps until a determination has been made on their validity." "Gov. Scott signs 2nd ethics law".
Bought and paid for
"The top Five lobbying firms collected more than $1 million from clients during the first three months of this year. Wednesday was the deadline for firms to file reports with the state. More than 100 lobbying firms say they earned more than $500,000 each in the first quarter representing clients before state government." "Lobbying firms cashed in on the session".
Amazon's Florida flop
"Fla. gov. rejects Amazon deal". See also "Amazon Effort to Build in Florida Crumbles".
"A small step forward"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "For springs restoration, a small step forward".
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "The same four Hillsborough County commissioners who shot down domestic partner rights teamed up again Wednesday to reinforce the county's reputation for bigotry. It was a cowardly and self-serving move that is wrong for the times and a wrong read of politics." "Vote reinforces reputation for bigotry".
West won't go away
"Allen West's Gig at FOX News Will Keep Him Politically Alive". See also "Allen West lands job on Fox News".
Castor Dentel draws local hack
"With the 2013 legislative session wrapping up earlier in the month, Republicans are pushing ahead to find a candidate who can defeat freshman Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, next year -- and it appears they've found their man."
With the 2013 legislative session wrapping up earlier in the month, Republicans are pushing ahead to find a candidate who can defeat freshman Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, next year -- and it appears they've found their man."Republican Leadership Backs Bob Cortes Against Karen Castor Dentel".
On Wednesday Longwood City Commissioner Bob Cortes, who filed to run in January, is staging the kickoff in his bid for the Republican nomination to challenge Dentel in 2014. Cortes has the support of much of the Republican leadership -- including House Majority Leader Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, and Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger. Other Republican members of the Florida House from the area -- including Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, Rep. David Santiago, R-Deltona, Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne Beach, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne -- are also backing Cortes.
Rubio rakes in the dollars
"Rubio's financial disclosure shows $800,000 book advance".
Weatherford declares bill "extremely constitutional"
"After Gov. Rick Scott's highly prioritized manufacturing tax cut passed the Florida Legislature without receiving a two-thirds majority of votes, legislative staff analysts have had a change of heart and now believe such a supermajority was not necessary." "State analysts reverse course, say supermajority wasn't needed on tax cut vote".
"Job creators" whine
"Florida Job Creators Give State Mediocre Grade for Small-Business Friendliness".
Nelson won't rule out run for Governor
Scott Powers: "For weeks Florida Democrats have been buzzing about the idea of getting U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to run for governor in 2014 to challenge the re-election bid of Republican Gov. Rick Scott. And for weeks,Nelson has been saying he has no intention of running for governor."
Yet at the same time, Nelson won't flat-out rule out the possibility that he could be talked into leaving his third term in the U.S. Senate if the Florida Democratic Party really, really, really wants him to run for governor. And he repeated that stance Tuesday during an appearance in Orlando."In an interview with Political Pulse, Nelson sounded like he has no desire to be the Democrats' nominee for governor."
But if the party should conclude he's their best hope of beating Scott?"Bill Nelson: Not planning to run for governor; but not saying no if needed".
"I don't know the answer to your question," Nelson said.
"Included in the fine print"
"A three-judge panel questioned Tuesday why it should wade into a battle over the possible privatization of prison health-care services, with the budget at issue in the change set to expire in several weeks. The 1st District Court of Appeal judges listened to arguments on a ruling in December that prevented the Department of Corrections from contracting out the health services in all but the bottom third of the state. The contract for that part of the state was included in the fine print of the budget for the spending year that ends June 30." "Department of Corrections Delves Into Prison Health Privatization".
On the road again
"After 'victory' lap around state, Scott to travel to Chile".
"With state Rep. Doug Holder, R-Venice, facing term limits next year, Dr. Julio Gonzalez, an orthopedic surgeon from Venice, is off to an impressive head start as he looks to represent parts of Sarasota County." "Republican Hopeful Julio Gonzalez Has Good Head Start to Replace Doug Holder".
"Floridians shouldn't so easily dismiss the hypocrisy"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday didn't want to talk about 1 million of the state's poor who don't have health insurance."
Or about how Floridians and their health care system inevitably absorb the cost when the uninsured are in crisis. They tried to change the subject when asked at a Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting in St. Petersburg about news reports that juxtaposed Republican House members' generous taxpayer-covered health insurance with their votes to reject federal Medicaid expansion dollars to cover 1 million uninsured — and pump $51 billion into the state economy. Floridians shouldn't so easily dismiss the hypocrisy."Hypocrisy in the House".
"Cowards and simpletons"
Scott Maxwell: "Part of the reason is that we elect cowards and simpletons — politicians unwilling to stand up to extremists and not smart enough to think for themselves."
But another part of the reason for extremism taking root is the media.
We are like gasoline to the fringy flames of foolishness.
We give legitimacy to nonsense, giving equal weight to both the mainstream and the extreme."Florida just clamped down on 'gun rights'".
"Tallahassee needs to be nicer to Republicans, county leader says".
"Mention of Allen West for lieutenant governor launches Dem fundraising appeal".
Good luck with that
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Editorial: Scott should sign bill to keep guns from Florida’s mentally ill".
"What's not to like?"
Nancy Smith: "Want a blatant example of fuzzy math? It's right here with ringing clarity in the outlandish proposed constitutional amendment known as Florida's Land and Legacy."
The Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment (that's its real name) would embed in the Florida Constitution for 20 years 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents."'No' to Budgeting Through the Constitution".
But, hey, no sweat. Eric Draper, executive director of Florida Audubon, promises the people of Florida the amendment will dedicate only 1 percent of the state budget to buying conservation land, no programs will get cut as a result, no one will get hurt, it's all tax free. And, oh yes, all it does is replace the minimum $300 million a year the Florida Forever program provided from 1990 through 2008. What's not to like?
Wingnuts in a dither
"Several Florida activists claim they or their organizations are victims of the IRS' gone-wild, anti-conservative harassment campaign -- citing everything from individual audits to being burdened with probing, invasive questionnaires and being forced to disclose political beliefs, even seeing unpublished web pages unearthed." "Meet Florida Conservatives Targeted by Obama's IRS".
Another dead construction worker
"A worker is dead following a seven-story fall at a South Florida construction site." "Worker dies after 7-story fall".
Hialeah ballot broker
"After having learned that his name appears next to the amount of $1,500 in a notebook kept by an alleged Hialeah ballot broker, lawyer Ricardo Corona said Tuesday that he never hired anyone to collect absentee ballots on his behalf during his unsuccessful campaign for a Miami-Dade judgeship in 2008." "Defeated candidate Ricardo Corona says he never hired ‘boletera’ Deisy Cabrera".
Rubio humiliates himself yet again
Here he goes again:
"It is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership," Rubio wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. "Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively [sic] immediately."Rubio demands resignation of IRS chief".
Really, Marco, "effectively" immediately? Don't you bother read the stuff that goes out under your name?
Perhaps more indicative of Rubio's incompetence is that,
The IRS commissioner during the probe [Rubio is complaining about] was Donald Shulman, a holdover from the Bush administration. He left his job last November. There’s an acting commissioner right now, but he assumed his acting role well after the Cincinnati probe ended. The position of IRS commissioner is vacant, which may explain why Rubio’s letter calls for “the IRS Commissioner’s resignation” but doesn’t name whom Rubio wants to resign. Does he want the acting commissioner to resign? The old commissioner to re-resign? Appoint a new commissioner and then force that person to immediately resign?"Rubio Demands Resignation of Nonexistent IRS Commissioner".
Meanwhile, "Rubio wants to criminalize IRS targeting of conservatives".
Cuts in pay for uninsured
"Money meant to offset costs for hospitals to provide care to the uninsured will be sliced as part of the Affordable Care Act, which anticipated more people would get insurance." "Jackson and other hospitals may face cuts in pay for uninsured, under healthcare reform".
The best the GOP can do?
"Paul and Rubio emerging as two of the leading Republican presidential hopefuls in 2016, [and] they could well split Iowa and New Hampshire. In the meantime, the two Republican senators are starting their pathways to the Republican nomination by trying to focus on different parts of the political map." "While Rand Paul Mines Iowa, Marco Rubio Looks to New Hampshire for 2016".
"Private online learning companies will get a better shot at Florida public school funding under a bill that won approval on the final day of the legislative session." "Bill opens up funding for private virtual schools".
"Scott declares victory"
"The tax break won't take effect until next April and will expire in three years unless lawmakers renew it. It also could be subject to a constitutional challenge because it will reduce revenue to cities and counties by as much as $30 million a year. Scott ignored that context Monday and focused on the jobs he says the tax break will bring." "Rick Scott declares victory on sales tax break for manufacturers". See also "Scott touts business tax repeal".
'Ya got a problem with that?
Fred Grimm: "Florida lawmakers pay Boondoggle? Hey, it’s for the kidspeanuts for health insurance".
Unemployment benefits slashed
"Florida will soon slash four weeks of unemployment benefits to laid-off workers nearing the end of their eligibility. The reduction is happening because of the so-called sequestration, the automatic federal budget cuts that began in March." "Federal budget woes force 4-week cut in jobless benefits".
"Congressional Democrats talk immigration in North Miami".
"Way too early to count out Rick Scott"
"It’s way too early to count out Rick Scott for a second term."
His poll numbers are stubbornly bleak — only one in three voters say he deserves a second term — and despite plenty of coaching, he still displays the natural charm and warmth of an automaton."But 77 weeks before Election Day, Democrats lack a consensus candidate, Scott is methodically raising money for his re-election and every day the political landscape improves for him as Florida’s economy perks up."
So far, public polls suggest, voters are giving Scott little credit for the improving jobs picture in Florida. Democrats see a prime opportunity to take back the Governor’s Mansion, and plenty of Republicans outside Scott’s inner circle agree.
“This is the same chattering class that had Bill McCollum and then Alex Sink measuring drapes for the Governor’s Mansion. They both learned the hard way about underestimating Rick Scott, but apparently the Tallahassee establishment just never learns its lesson,” said Tony Fabrizio, Scott’s chief political adviser. “We look forward to a campaign against either of the Tallahassee establishment favorites — Crist or Sink — as their dismal record of high unemployment, sinking home prices and a collapsing economy while leading the state will serve as a sharp contrast to the dramatic turnaround the state has undergone under Gov. Scott.” . . ."Florida economy improves, but will it help Gov. Scott?"
The top strategist again will be Fabrizio, a blunt, cigar-smoking Brooklyn native Bob Woodward once dubbed “an attack specialist” for his work on the Bob Dole campaign. Fabrizio, now residing in Fort Lauderdale, is the pollster and big picture strategist who has continued advising Scott throughout his first three years as governor.
Negron picks up a challenger
"Brandon Michael Cannon, 26, owner of a now-shuttered Port St. Lucie senior arcade, has filed to run against state Sen. Joe Negron of Palm City in the 2014 Republican primary. Cannon told Sunshine State News he is well aware that if his grassroots campaign should pull off an upset next year, he would be interrupting Negron's ambitions. Negron is scheduled to become president of the Florida Senate in 2016." "Arcade Owner Brandon Michael Cannon Files to Challenge Sen. Joe Negron".
"The water dispute between Alabama, Florida and Georgia is provoking hardball politics in Congress, where Georgia lawmakers derailed a proposal that could restrict metro Atlanta’s water supply." "Tri-state water feud plays out in Congress".
The best he can do
"Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), believes there are lessons in Mark Sanford’s victory in a special congressional election held in South Carolina on Tuesday -- namely, that voters around the nation don’t want to support Democratic candidates who will end up supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House." "Lenny Curry: 'Nancy Pelosi Poison' Strategy Worked in South Carolina, It Can Work in Florida".
5 things to know
"5 things to know in Florida for May 13".
Funny how that works
"Budget Packs Millions in Legislative Leaders' Districts".
"A case study in the worst of political gaffes"
Marc Caputo: "The biggest mistakes in politics are often unforced errors that reinforce an opponent’s stereotypes."
By that standard, the Heritage Foundation’s immigration report last week was a case study in the worst of political gaffes."Marc Caputo: Heritage Foundation’s immigration report a case study in gaffes".
This unsupported remark by Caputo is curious: "It’s true that some liberals and Democrats want to scuttle immigration reform for political gain. Many would prefer the current situation, in which Hispanic voters continue to tilt Democrat and blame Republicans for blocking immigration reform." To which we say, who? Which liberals? It seems Mr. Caputo is shooting from the hip; after all, he doesn't want to let the facts get in the way of appearing to be "balanced", now does he?
"Try again" on Citizens
The Miami Herald editorial board argues that Tally should "Try again" on Citizens.
"PolitiFact Florida: Florida Democratic Party chair misfires on Scott's teacher pay raise priority".
Stearns tuffer than Crenshaw
"Ander Crenshaw's a Target, but He'll Be Tougher than Cliff Stearns to Bring Down".
"Here's a riddle"
The Miami Herald editors ask, "Here’s a riddle:"
What’s vital to the future of Florida, involves numerous interest groups around the country and is coming up for a crucial vote in the U.S. Senate? Hint: It’s not the hot-button immigration reform bill that has the chattering class inside the Beltway all a-buzz."Everglades on the line".
It’s not sexy, it’s not politically partisan and you’re not likely to see angry talking heads screaming about it on TV — which is why you may not have heard of the debate over the Water Resources Development Act that began last week on the floor of the Senate.
But for all its lack of glitz, passage of the bill is crucial to the future of Florida and its ability to compete economically.
FlaDem's "cast of candidates look like the pledges from Animal House"
John Romano: "Florida hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1994. If it fails to this time, do not blame the voters. The fault will lie with party leaders who allowed it to happen." "Florida Democrats' gubernatorial hopefuls old and obvious".
"Bringing even more pain to unemployed Floridians"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "If Florida's unemployment compensation system were a private business that depended on customer satisfaction, it would have been shuttered long ago. But unfortunately for the unemployed, Gov. Rick Scott's Department of Economic Opportunity has run the system just as some Republican leaders wanted: by denying thousands of legitimate claims over the past four years. Once again, the federal government has been forced to come to the rescue of Floridians whose state government has failed them. As the governor seeks re-election, he needs to correct a situation that increases cynicism about government and has resulted in the recent recession bringing even more pain to unemployed Floridians."
The U.S. Labor Department's Civil Rights Center issued a sharp rebuke to Scott's department last month, saying the agency's administration of unemployment compensation violated the civil rights of unemployed Floridians, particularly those who are disabled or speak Spanish or Creole."Jobless deserve better from state".
The federal agency's investigation began shortly after the Republican-led Legislature in 2011 decided that all unemployment applications in Florida needed to be submitted over the Internet — ignoring that 40 percent of applicants preferred to use the phone. For applicants to collect an average weekly check of just $230, the Legislature also required them to answer 45 questions and prove they were contacting at least five employers weekly. Never mind that unemployment compensation is underwritten by private employers and only available to employees who are not fired for cause.
The state can absorb only so many T-shirt shops
The Tampa Trib editors warn that "the bottoming out of Florida’s economy during the recession should serve as a forceful reminder to lawmakers and other policy-makers that diversifying the economy is more important than ever." "Florida’s economic recovery merits applause and caution".
"In 50 words or fewer"
Scott Maxwell: "In some ways, the Florida Legislature is like a bomb." "Health care, teacher raises, 'revenge porn' in 50 words or fewer".
Nelson is almost sure
"Frustrated Sen. Bill Nelson has 'no plans' to challenge Gov. Rick Scott".
"A bad bill"
The Palm Beach Post's Rhonda Swan: "The Legislature finally has passed a bill to ease Florida’s foreclosure crisis. The problem is, it’s a bad bill that Gov. Scott should veto." "Scott should veto the Legislature’s foreclosure bill".
Entrepreneurs in action
"Affordable Care Act confusion fuels fraud".
"As always, South Florida is a poster child for nationwide dysfunction"
Carl Hiaasen: "Anyone who thinks the healthcare apparatus in this country doesn’t need radical liposuction should read through the new federal report on hospital costs."
Make that alleged costs. All over the country, hospitals are billing Medicare ludicrously different amounts for treating patients with the same disorder."Once again, we’re the poster...".
Make that alleged costs. All over the country, hospitals are billing Medicare ludicrously different amounts for treating patients with the same disorder.
As always, South Florida is a poster child for the nationwide dysfunction.
Stating the obvious
Robyn Blumner asks: "Want to know what an antitax politician really is? Someone who will vote against investing in public schools, parks and infrastructure, and who will privatize Medicare and Social Security."
Want to know what a politician who says he opposes regulation is really against? A clean environment, controls on Wall Street and giving workers safe conditions, living wages and the right to organize."Blumner: Graduates: Vote (and use sunscreen)".
Crist likes real big tents
"Charlie Crist touts big-tent appeal of Democratic Party".
"Hertz, one of the nation's largest rental car companies, announced this week that it is moving its headquarters from New Jersey to Southwest Florida. The Fortune 500 company committed to the move after officials with the state and Lee County offered $19 million in economic incentives." "State, Local Governments Shell Out $19 Million for Hertz Relocation".
Republicans don' like Marco's amnesty stuff
"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration plan, which includes a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, still faces strong resistance from Republicans in Congress." "Poll Finds Floridians Support Path to Citizenship".
"No paper trail"
"Turn to any page of Florida's 450-page budget and what's most striking is the missing detail." "Lawmakers' pet projects leave no paper trail to Florida budget".