S. V. Date has a good piece this morning on whether the RPOF can shed its knuckle dragging image. "Crist aims to steer Florida GOP toward center".
"Grim News" for Charlie's First Budget
Wasn't Florida's economy supposed to be booming? "State taxes and fees collected were $108-million short of projections for January. That's on top of a revenue snapshot in November that was $466-million below the expected figure. For state officials, that is ample evidence of a tamped-down economy that could mean fewer new programs and services." "Tax shortfalls crimp budget"
"Florida budget writers were handed grim news Friday, with a new report showing state tax collections falling far short of expectations."
The report presented Friday to the House budget council showed that January general revenue collections fell $108 million short of estimates. The plunge in sales-tax receipts was especially dramatic, down almost $71 million. ..."In response,"
The news comes less than three months after a panel of economists downgraded the state's cash forecast by $466 million for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, which begins July 1, largely due to declining revenue from a tax on real-estate transactions. That panel, which attempts to forecast tax revenues up to two years in advance, will meet again in March, when they are likely to lower their projections even further.
Friday's report was based on actual tax collections -- not projections.
In response, Gov. Charlie Crist's office acknowledged that it has begun to weigh changes to the $71.2 billion budget that the governor submitted to the Legislature just last week -- a spending plan that includes new money for higher teacher pay, stem-cell research and a host of other high-profile initiatives."Low cash flow may hamper Crist's budget plan".
Unfortunately, "the gap has been widening each month. In November, revenue was $6.8 million less than the $2.1 billion estimate. In December it was $65.7 million less than the $2.4 billion estimate, and in January it was $107.3 million less than the $2.4 billion estimate." "Slide in sales-tax collections could shackle Crist's budget".
The Palm Beach Post editors praise Charlie's proposed budget, calling it "sensible, even if he offers no stunning proposals." "Crist: A bit more for all".
"The nine-member voluntary commission was created last year by the legislature, and its members were appointed by former House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and former Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon. They include a doctor, a former engineer and several businessmen." "Energy panel aims to conserve".
"Unfortunately, [Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Dunnellon (remember her)] has decided against supporting any sweeping changes to the law, choosing instead to target individuals convicted of acting recklessly with guns. It's a start, albeit a disappointing one." "Concealed Guns". For more see yesterday's "Florida legislator targets concealed weapons permits of reckless users".
Steve Bousquet: "Which local government has been raising your property taxes the fastest? Is it the county? City? School board? Guess again. The answer is those overlooked but important creatures known as special taxing districts." "Special districts nibble at taxpayers".
Let The Feds Pay For It
"Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders from Florida are right to call for the establishment of a national catastrophe fund. The time is now, the stars are aligned and the need is urgent." "U.S. needs disaster fund".
Get Over It
Florida's media can't get enough of Jebbie, as readers are regaled with junk like this:
Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican from Coral Gables, says he's getting reports of "Jeb sightings" from all over Coral Gables, where Bush and his wife, Columba, are renting at the downtown Segovia Tower."We are reminded that dear "Jeb!"
has not specifically ruled out the vice presidential spot.This observation seems to make sense:
"It's going to be hard for him to keep people remembering who he is in 2012," [Dem Rep. Susan Bucher] noted.Citizen Jeb rediscovers private life".
The St Pete Times editors found it necessary to expend ink on this silly observation: "Gov. Charlie Crist was especially helpful by rushing aid to the area and keeping the disaster on the public radar." "More to do on storms". Like he was going to miss the opportunity for a press op of this magnitude?
Browning Has Had It With Touch Screens
"Secretary of State Kurt Browning is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame in the blogosphere, thanks to a speech he gave in which he said he's 'physically and mentally exhausted' from defending the now-discredited touch screen voting systems." "He's had it with touch screens, too".
Labor Organizers Eye Casinos
"Indian tribes are subject to federal labor law, an appeals court ruled Friday in a case that could lead to stricter labor protections -- and more unions -- at the nation's booming Indian casinos." "Tribes subject to law on labor".
Something Borrowed ...
The RPOF thinks Mahoney is sitting in a "borrowed seat" which they will soon recover. From Q:
State Rep. Gayle Harrell of Port St. Lucie said she "will be in the race," ending weeks of speculation about her candidacy. Palm Beach Gardens Councilman Hal Valeche said he is “highly likely” to get into the race. And Tom Rooney, a Jupiter attorney and part of the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he will take another look."GOP Calls It A 'Borrowed Seat'".
One Q blogger says he has heard rumors that Senate President Ken Pruitt may be interested. Perhaps even Jeff Atwater - but he told us recently that he’d rather not.
"If the 2008 presidential election were held today and if Floridians were the only ones in the country allowed to vote, (kindly pardon all the hypotheticals) the winner would be ... former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani." "Amie Parnes: Poll: Guiliani finds favor in Florida".
"Hillary Clinton returns to the ATM, er, Sunshine State, in a couple weeks for fundraisers. We hear she'll be at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood Feb. 20 for a $100-per-person cocktail party and $2,500 photo op reception. She's also supposed to come to downtown Tampa either Feb. 20 or 21 to raise money." "Hillary's Florida Fun".
"Bill Clinton to speak at UM".
Beth Reinhard tells us what on what is going on in Florida with respect to the GOP '08 races: "Many little steps bring to life the '08 campaign".
That Glowing Feeling
"FPL to move ahead with nuke plant planning in next two years".
"Doug Gregory, a top aide to Rep. C.W. Bill Young for 39 years, has retired to become a Washington lobbyist." "Senior aide to Young retires".
"I have no medical training and no qualifications". See also "Top aide to Rep. C.W. Bill Young leaves post to become lobbyist for defense contractors".
"The lead executioner of a convicted killer who took twice the normal time to die never received any medical training, the executioner told a panel reviewing Florida’s lethal injection procedures Friday. 'I have no medical training and no qualifications,” the executioner said.' "Lead executioner of botched execution had no medical training".
Out In the Fields
"Son of labor boss gets 6 years".
The Tampa Trib editors:
Gardasil, the new vaccine that protects young women from most cases of cervical cancer, is an important health development and parents would be wise to get their pre-teen daughters vaccinated."Choice On Vaccine Rests With Parents, Not Politicians".
But just because the vaccination makes sense doesn't mean the state should mandate it, as Texas has done and some Florida lawmakers propose.
Tree Trial Dates
"Two lawsuits set for trial in the fall could bring money to thousands of homeowners whose citrus trees were ripped from their back yards in the controversial canker eradication program that was shut down in failure last year." "Residents who lost trees get trial dates".
Bill March: "Florida’s Cuba Academic Travel Ban Upheld".
On The FEMA Flip-Flop
"Federal help was granted Friday to Floridians hit by the Christmas tornadoes. Emergency managers reasoned that Feb. 2 tornadoes were more than the state should have to cope with." "FEMA cuts loose some aid for storm-battered county". See also "Christmas tornado victims question delay of federal aid".
It Must Have Been the "easy-to-read charts"
"The scenario, presented in easy-to-read charts, graphs, and boldface print, was bleak. Stronger hurricanes. A minimum sea level rise of 10 inches by 2075. Hundreds of millions of human ecological refugees. Up to 35 percent of existing biodiversity extinct. More heat-related deaths in Florida. More infectious diseases."
Florida, which sits in mediocre ranks nationally with its energy and climate policies, may be warming to the idea of taking a seat at that table during the upcoming legislative session. Lawmakers are looking at mandatory greenhouse gas reductions, renewable energy mandates, and incentives for wind and solar power — policies that are the domain of the often-ridiculed, liberal California, and ideas that previously failed to gain traction in Florida."Florida legislators warm to energy and climate challenges".