"While the Florida House has fast-tracked its push for the biggest overhaul of the state's property-tax system in history, the Senate on Tuesday slammed on the brakes." "Senate to take its time on tax change". See also "Florida senators press insurance case", It's a Hare and Tortoise race to Property Tax Reform" and "Senate Slows Down; Rubio Considers More Changes".
Meanwhile, a ... goodness gracious! "Liberal group attacks House GOP property tax plan".
A liberal think tank Tuesday compared property tax relief legislation being pushed by Republican House leaders to spending limits Colorado voters suspended in 2005 because too much money was being cut for education, roads and health care.See the report here: "A Frigid Forecast for the Sunshine State: Proposed Revenue Cap as Damaging as Colorado’s TABOR". Not to worry, the GOPers had a ready response:
The Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report characterizing Colorado's spending limits as a failure and contending Florida could expect similar service reductions if the House GOP plan is adopted.
House GOP spokesman Alberto Martinez attacked the center's credibility because of its liberal leanings.Those "liberals" just can't be trusted.
Nelson Shows Courage; Trib Whines
The Tampa Trib editors are apoplectic about another liberal group, icky labor unions who are making Bill Nelson do bad stuff to companies:
Not burdened by the need to campaign at least until 2011, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has decided to co-sponsor one of the worst pieces of legislation to make its way through Congress in years."Cuddling Up To Labor Won't Win Bill Nelson Political Respect".
Nelson will join Sen. Ted Kennedy as a sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007, the companion legislation to a measure passed earlier this month in the House of Representatives. ...
Nelson's decision is a disappointment, but hardly surprising. Without an election on the horizon, he can placate labor without worrying about the wrath of the Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations that rightly oppose this legislation, which is anti-democratic, anti-worker and bad for business.
"Today in Tallahassee" See also "Upcoming at the Capitol" and "2007 Legislature roundup".
"They want to give homeowners tax relief. They're just, so far, not agreeing on the how. And it might take a special session, called for after the regular legislative session ends May 4, before the issue can be properly tackled, suggests one top legislator. 'If we are unable to reach an agreement at the end of this session, I do not regard that as the end of the world -- provided we are able to come back,' said Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller, of Hallandale Beach." "Tax relief may require special session".
"Senate Democrats have indefinitely postponed rolling out their property tax reform proposal after some Democratic lawmakers failed to sign on to Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller's plan." "Bipartisan plan on tax reform looking dicey".
"Darren Soto captured the state House District 49 Democratic primary Tuesday with more than twice as many votes as his nearest challenger. He faces Republican Anthony Suarez on April 24, with the winner replacing John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, in the House. Quinones, a Republican, resigned earlier this year to run for Osceola County Commission and won his Republican primary Tuesday." "Soto wins primary for state House". See also "Soto V. Suarez " and "John Q Nears Commission; Soto v. Suarez for House Seat".
"Black Caucus plans show of support for FAMU". See also "Florida A&M faithful wait for fallout".
Skits Go Easy on Charlie
Here's a shocker, the skits were "Not exactly hard-hitting stuff" as they related to Florida's certified media darling.
"Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning was a big fan of touch-screen voting when he was Pasco County's supervisor of elections. Gov. Charlie Crist has put forward a smart $32 million plan to ban these problem-plagued touch-screens from Florida and replace them with more reliable optical-scan machines that count paper ballots. Now it's Mr. Browning's job to put his love of touch-screens aside and push Mr. Crist's plan through the Legislature." "Stick to the plan". See also "Organizers seek voting 'paper trail'".
"A plan to require young girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease ran into a wall in the House." "Vaccination bill shot down". See also "Girls vaccine mandate snagged" and "Cancer vaccine proposal stalls amid questions".
Some argue that "ATVs don't belong on Florida's public roads " "All-terrain dangers".
Orlando Sentinel Hearts Mel
Mel's biggest fans are at it again: "U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez promised he would put Florida first and not just echo the party line when he was named the chairman of the Republican National Committee."
In fighting to reauthorize an affordable-housing program called Hope VI, Mr. Martinez is keeping that promise -- and bucking the White House in the process."The right perspective".
Is that really taking on the White House?
"Convergence in Tallahassee juvenile justice's 'perfect storm'".
"Leave it up to voters"
"A Bradenton Republican says there's a simple solution to the debate over whether using taxpayer money for sports facilities is corporate welfare: Leave it up to voters." "Senator: Let voters decide".
"Crist goes Hollywood today, attending a council meeting to promote Florida's film industry and hosting a reception later in the evening." "Lights. Camera. Action: Florida film industry takes focus today".
"It's Space Day at the Capitol".
To the Extent You Care ...
You, too, can venture "Inside Rep. Feeney's dorm room" (via Naked Politics' "Tom Feeney, At Home").
"Volusia Tax Reform has gone global -- or at least statewide. Members of group showed up in Tallahassee again Tuesday, this time joining a well known Miami media executive and others as they announced a statewide coalition intent on pushing the Legislature to do something about property taxes this year." "Volusians join tax coalition". See also "Property tax activists form statewide group to pressure legislators". Are these folks "Crist friends or foes?"
"If state Sen. Gary Siplin gets his way, 'fashion police' will start patrolling public schools to suspend kids who wear droopy drawers." "Toss Droopy-Drawers Bill In Hamper".
"House Republicans jettisoned a proposed property tax increase for school districts on Tuesday -- a week after first unveiling the proposal."
The tax increase, which would have been subject to a vote by local school boards, was part of a $1.2 billion spending increase that would have been given to public schools for the next school year. Instead, House Republicans have now drawn up a second spending plan that includes a $1.13 billion increase, but does not give school districts the option to raise local taxes. ..."Schools plan has tax cut".
Now the House schools budget features a small property tax cut -- a decrease of $27.50 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home with a homestead exemption. Gov. Charlie Crist also recommended the same tax cut, which will cost nearly $134 million.
The tax cut, tucked inside a massive $19.2 billion spending plan for public schools, is independent of other major property tax initiatives being proposed by House Republicans. The proposal would force local governments to roll back property tax rates, ask voters to raise the state's sales tax by 2.5 cents and eliminate property taxes for homeowners who have a homestead exemption.
"Crist was a laid-back commander in chief today, talking to a group of Florida National Guard troops in an informal setting at the Governor's Mansion.".
Big of 'Em
"Efforts to squeeze the most out of Florida's $250 million home mitigation program have officials and lawmakers sizing up some of the state's biggest merchants." "Legislators could get help from big-box retailers".
"Healthy Families' budget has remained flat for the past five years, yet an independent five-year evaluation released in February 2005 showed participants in the program had 20-percent less abuse and neglect than all families in their target service areas, despite the fact that they had significantly higher risk factors to start with. Fewer subsequent pregnancies are also reported in these participating families as well as more success in completing GEDs or job training." "Healthy families".
"A coalition of advocacy groups filed a motion Tuesday asking a judge to reconsider an earlier decision regarding a disputed election in the state’s 13th Congressional District. The motion was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Voter Action." "Voting groups ask judge to reconsider election dispute". See also "Congressional inquiry into election on hold".
"An advocacy group is calling for Broward Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda to be removed from the bench because he was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana after Hollywood police said they caught him smoking pot Sunday afternoon in a city park." "NAACP files complaint against Broward judge charged with smoking marijuana".
"With the state legislature in session again, it's very hard to keep track of all the bad ideas percolating in Tallahassee." "Legislative 'gems' just need polish".
"When Gov. Charlie Crist met with Florida National Guard troops in his office Tuesday, he discovered he and an Air Force communications specialist in the group had a common interest. As a state senator, Crist chaired a subcommittee charged with approving $2 million to pay the descendents of the nine survivors of the 1923 racial massacre in Rosewood that resulted in the destruction of the North Florida black community and the deaths of at least eight of its residents." "Rosewood Relation".
"Public school enrollment has declined by 3,500 students since the last academic year, saving taxpayers' money and reducing the need for new teachers and classroom space, according to figures presented Tuesday to the State Board of Education." "Education commissioner: school enrollment down 3,500".
"A plan to put the state's insurance commissioner directly under the elected chief financial officer won approval from its first committee Tuesday, despite opposition from the chief financial officer herself." "Committee backs insurance chief shift". See also "Thier choice for insurance watchdog: CFO".
"The sand shortage is the lastest problem with a beach-rebuilding program that harms water quality and marine life, environmentalists say." "South Florida marine life faces peril with 'the wrong' beach". See also "South Florida running out of sand".
"The campus, which has more than 1,000 registered voters, had less than 1 percent turnout for the city elections." "Apathy Rules Among Registered Voters At USF".
"In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham says he favors the Iraq Accountability Act proposed by Democrats in Congress, which would condition the continued presence of U.S. troops in that nation on achievement of benchmarks by the Iraqi government." "Graham Takes Stand On Iraq".
"Very Compassionate Hearts"?
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Crist last week described Florida's legislators as having ''very compassionate hearts'' in urging them to approve a $5 million settlement offer to the family of Martin Lee Anderson. Lawmakers should prove him right." "Pay claim's bill".
Another Loyal Bushie To Romney
"Huizenga Signs On With Romney".
"Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson introduced a 'six-pack' of congressional proposals Tuesday calling for $4.3 billion in hurricane research, streamlined regulations to help curb soaring insurance rates and renewed debate on creating a national catastrophe fund for all natural disasters." "Martinez, Nelson propose hurricane relief 'six-pack' of bills".
"Indian River lawmaker Stan Mayfield is hospitalized from an apparent blood clot in his lung." "Hospitalization doesn't keep Rep. Mayfield from duties".
"Supporters of Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday they expect to raise more than $200,000 for the Arizona senator's campaign at a fundraiser that kicks off a flurry of Florida events over the next two weeks." "McCain's Miami appearance kicks off Fla. fundraising flurry".
Jones Says "No" To Young Challenge
"US Rep. Dennis Jones? Nah".
"Mayor John Peyton easily defeated his Democratic opponent to win a second four-year term. The Republican captured 76 percent of the vote to defeat contractor Jackie Brown in Tuesday's election." "Jacksonville mayor elected another term".
"Florida is about to lose out on a federal subsidy potentially worth $100-million. Not smart, you say? It gets worse. The subsidy would help the state stockpile an antiviral drug that could be the best early defense for Floridians during a flu pandemic." "Clock ticking on antiflu offer".
"As Congress prepares for a showdown vote Thursday over whether to set a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, Palm Beach County's two freshman members joined a group of former generals in supporting the proposal." "Local Democrats back bill pushing Iraq pullout".
See "County budget to reflect loss of big growth in tax revenue", "Tax ax could chop up services" and "County braces for lean '08 budget".