"House Democrats cried foul Wednesday over a rushed first House vote on a sweeping plan to cut $5.8 billion in property taxes from the coffers of local governments."
The tax rollback cleared the House Government Efficiency and Accountability Council by a party-line 10-5 vote, and is scheduled to reach the House floor in two weeks."Tax rollback plan split party lines" See also "Rollback of taxes advances", "Legislative panel OKs sweeping tax cuts as Democrats protest potential impact", "Property Tax Tensions Grow" and "Property-tax slash makes it out of gate". More: "House Republican property tax bill at a glance".
Doesn't Charlie run the RPOF ... I thought he was in charge?
The Florida GOP has launched a website touting the House's tax plan and promoting the constitutional amendment [which would eliminate all property taxes on homesteads and would replace it with a 2.5 percent sales tax increase]. Rubio and his top deputies have sent out e-mails urging Republicans across the state to click on www.nomoreproperty tax.com."House panel pushes local tax rollback".
Among the information on the site, it calls the governor's proposed solution -- doubling the homestead exemption -- a ''band-aid'' approach to the problem.
Republican Party spokesman Jeff Sadosky defended the website, even though Senate Republicans have not endorsed the House proposal.
Romney Hires "Worst Person in the World"
Romney reaches further into the wingnut bucket, having "hired another Florida-based political operative for his campaign — Jason Roe, former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo." "Romney Hires Jason Roe, Former Feeney Aide".
Scott Maxwell notes that "Roe has been a particularly hot commodity in D.C. since last year. That was when he took a leave of absence from Feeney's office and pulled off one of the GOP's few surprise victories in Congress, helping Peter Roskam, R-Ill., beat back a challenge from Democratic Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth."
Is this really the kind of Floridian Romney wants to associate with? Tom chief of staff Jason Roe, while on leave from Feeney's staff to work on Peter Roskam's campaign for Illinois' 6th District was named "Worst Person in the World" by MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann. Here's what he said:
But our winner--we need to clarify a previous worst. We reported that Illinois congressional candidate Peter Roskam had said his opponent Tammy Duckworth wanted to "cut and run from Iraq" even though she lost both her legs there while serving as a helicopter pilot.And then there's this bit 'o sleaze reported by the "Tallahasee Democrat (no longer available free online) last year:
Jason Roe from the Roskam campaign charged us with intellectual dishonesty because Roskam merely said that the Illinois sixth is "not a cut and run district."
Hey, pal, this is about campaigning against a woman who has no legs because they were cut off while she served in Iraq and still being insensitive enough to use the phrase "cut and run." You leave the intellectual to us, we‘ll leave the dishonest to you.
Peter Roskam and staffer, Jason Roe, today‘s "Worst Persons in the World."
Feeney's campaign paid nearly $50,000 to Roe's wife, Patricia, who was a professional fundraiser in Washington, D.C.Romney truly is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
"The Florida Legislature is in session through May 4. The key issues yesterday and what's coming up:" "2007 Legislature roundup". See also "Legislature: Day 2 at a glance".
On the agenda: "Upcoming at the Capitol".
"Trial lawyers and businesses that have pumped millions of dollars into lobbying Florida government have rekindled their running feud over who pays in negligence lawsuits." "House examines trials feud". See also "Lawsuit bill is personal for Needelman" ("Trial lawyers and businesses that have pumped millions of dollars into lobbying Florida government have rekindled their running feud over who pays in negligence lawsuits.")
Not a Wallflower
"Sen. Nancy Argenziano is headed to Orlando Friday, hoping to be interviewed for one of the Florida Public Service Commission vacancies even though her name wasn't on the original list of 19 to meet with a PSC nominating committee." "Early, but ousted, favorite invited to try for state post". See also "Sen. Nancy Argenziano will interview for PSC".
Expensive Publicity Stunt
"'Anti-murder' bill passes unanimously". See also "Anti-Murder Act closer to passage", "Florida Senate passes Crist proposal to jail violent probation violators" and "Tough crime measure sails through Senate".
"Crist, riding the crest of his popularity in the first week of Florida's annual legislative session, has lawmakers over a barrel. They don't want to tell Crist no. And they certainly don't want to appear (if such a thing is possible) pro-murder. But they know -- they must know -- that Crist's stated legislative priority is an expensive boondoggle." "Anti-prudence".
New Q Poll, "surveying 1,125 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent, including 429 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent, and 442 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent":
Looking at other possible 2008 presidential matchups in Florida, the Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll finds:"Giuliani leads Clinton in two of three swing states, poll finds" (via March on Politics).
* Clinton tops former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 48 - 36 percent;
* Giuliani tops 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards 48 - 40 percent;
* McCain tops Obama 43 - 39 percent;
* McCain edges Edwards 43 - 41 percent;
* Obama tops Romney 43 - 34 percent;
* Edwards beats Romney 48 - 32 percent.
In a Democratic primary matchup, Clinton gets 38 percent, followed by 13 points each for Obama and former Vice President Al Gore and 6 percent for Edwards.
Among Republican primary voters, Giuliani gets 38 percent, followed 18 percent for McCain, 14 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 6 percent for Romney.
By a 56 - 20 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of Giuliani. Favorability ratings for other contenders are:
* 48 - 39 percent for Clinton;
* 46 - 24 percent for McCain;
* 40 - 19 percent for Obama, with 39 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion;
* 46 - 23 percent for Edwards;
* 64 percent haven't heard enough about Romney to form an opinion.
White, born-again evangelicals are in a quandary. March notes that the poll shows that they "had strongly favorable opinions of Giuliani, despite his history of political stances that don’t agree with the social/religious conservative agenda. The evangelical voters said by large majorities that they don’t yet know enough about Mitt Romney, the candidate making the strongest appeal for their support, to make up their minds about him. They had reasonably favorable opinions of John McCain, despite his history of conflicts with the religious right. " "Giuliani, Clinton Lead In Florida Primary Contests, Poll Says".
"As lawmakers try to figure out how to boost enrollment in the state's low-cost health insurance program for children, some advocates call for expanding the program to cover the children of legal immigrants and state workers." "Advocates push health care for kids of immigrants, state workers".
"Four years ago, when he was running for president, Bob Graham had something on his resume that made him pretty unique among top-tier candidates: He had voted against the Iraq war resolution. And it cost him dearly." "This time, he's just happy to be home".
"A Space Coast lawmaker launched a $500 million plan today to finance alternative energy and the space industry." "Space initiative retried". See also "Allen launches $500 million for space jobs idea".
"Florida's home construction industry will get a four-month reprieve from changes in the state's hurricane-proof building codes, under a bill that cleared its first Senate committee Wednesday." "Homes already designed exempt from new storm codes". See also "Pace of home inspections doesn't slow ambitions".
Noting that "nine U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, bringing the death toll of American military personnel serving in this insane war to 3,177", Daniel Ruth asks: "if Americans are dying in a faraway land so that an oppressed people can vote, that the citizens of Tampa can arise from their keisters and cast a ballot for the city's mayor and city council." "Was All That An Election Or Abdication?".
"After months of discussing alternative energy sources, the House Energy Committee passed its first bill Wednesday - a measure to promote coal-fired power plants." "House panel passes coal bill".
Every Vote Counts
"Rep. Alcee Hastings, who has endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, says he’s looking for Rep. Robert Wexler, who has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, to support a Clinton bill requiring a paper trail of electronic ballots." "Voting Bill Politics".
"Boca Raton Mayor Steve Abrams says he’s awaiting word from his law firm before deciding whether to run in 2008 for the Palm Beach-Broward District 22 congressional seat that Democrat Ron Klein won from veteran Republican Clay Shaw last year." "Abrams for Congress?".
"Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith confirmed to The Palm Beach Post’s Jason Schultz Tuesday that he’s thinking of running in 2008 for the eight-county District 16 congressional seat now held by freshman Democrat Tim Mahoney." "GOP Six-pack for 16?".
"Gov. Crist's focus on Lake O welcome; hire cleanup chief".
"Some might be offended by Pinellas Park councilwoman Patricia Bailey-Snook's recent remark about Tampa's cultural diversity."
The councilwoman was concerned that if Pinellas Park police entered into a mutual aid agreement with Tampa police, they would have to learn a foreign language "so they can talk to the public over there.""Show Her The Way Across The Bay".
She didn't stop there. "A lot of them will say that they don't speak English, but they do. But they'll just keep rattling off in Spanish and you can't get them to say a word in English."
Bailey-Snook fears her city's police officers would be in danger if forced to confront a hostile crowd of Spanish speakers in Tampa. Such logic presupposes that no Spanish speakers live in her fair city, a foolhardy assumption.
What Bailey-Snook needs is a little cultural exchange. A tour of Ybor City and a bowl of Spanish bean soup would do her good. Add in a little salsa music and a Cuban coffee, and she'd feel the richness of our city's heritage even if she doesn't understand the language.
"Many initial bills have either been withdrawn or voted down." "Changes to FCAT unlikely this year".
No DJJ Money from Charlie
"The new head of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice is drawing cheers from all corners, but so far Gov. Charlie Crist isn't giving the popular choice any new money to help right the troubled agency." "New Head Of Juvenile Justice Emphasizes Prevention". The Tampa Trib editors: "Lack Of Rehab Makes Our Community Less Safe".
Merit Pay Flip Flop
"In a surprising reversal, the Republican-controlled Legislature is moving quickly to scrap a controversial merit pay system for teachers that lawmakers put in place less than a year ago. Republican legislators are not abandoning the idea of awarding bonuses to teachers. But the turnabout represents a rejection of ideas first pushed by the administration of former Gov. Jeb Bush -- and even includes some minor tweaks to Bush's ''A+ Plan'' that was adopted eight years ago." "A turnabout on merit pay". See also "Revamp of bonuses for teachers advances" and "Senate's merit teacher pay plan would give locals wide authority".
Storms in Action
"Storms' Bill Is Interpreted As A Barrier To Abortion Rights".
What'll You Have?
"Bars can refuse serving patrons who drink too much, but they shouldn't be allowed to force service on people who don't drink enough, a state Senate panel agreed Tuesday." "Senate committee says bars can't throw out nondrinkers".
"Florida hospitals would avoid the loss of more than $4 billion in Medicaid money under a congressional bill introduced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez." "Martinez seeks to protect Medicaid money for hospitals".
"The Seminole Tribe hopes a new federal lawsuit will help convince the state that the window for cashing in on Indian gaming is about to close." "Seminoles' suit all about revenue". In the meantime, "in a dramatic departure from his predecessor, Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday said he is willing to negotiate a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe -- a move that could bring millions into Florida's cash-strapped treasury." "Crist willing to gamble".
See also yesterday's "Crist, Seminole tribe open talks on slots".
Charlie's Big Tent
The Miami Herald editors: "To say that Gov. Charlie Crist's first State of the State speech struck an inclusive tone is an understatement. The governor's upbeat, wide-ranging address included proposals supported by Democrats as well as those on Republicans' agenda. He capped his address by citing a philosophy held by a much-admired Democrat, Robert Kennedy." "A big-tent approach to state governance".
"Political watchers are trying to figure out how Charlie Perkins pulled in enough votes Tuesday to force a runoff in the District 7 city council race." "District 7 Race Perplexes Political Onlookers".
"With money tight and many residents facing skyrocketing homeowners insurance premiums and rising property taxes, the Legislature has no business providing tax breaks for professional sports franchises, a southwest Florida lawmaker said Wednesday." "Lawmakers want voters to decide if tax money goes to stadiums".
"Presidential primary date up for a vote".
"As property insurance companies rush to meet the state's March 15 deadline to lower premiums, they're also poised to do something the state wouldn't allow them to do until now: drop policyholders." "Insurance crisis fixed? Check your mailbox".