"Florida's political barometer is crashing toward massive property tax cuts -- possibly up to $30 billion over the next five years. The Legislature convenes in a special session in mid-June to decide what to offer voters. Chances are high for a tax cut rivaling or possibly exceeding California's Proposition 13, which capped taxes at a maximum of 1 percent of a property's value and slashed tax rates an average of 57 percent statewide." "The cost of tax cuts".
That's A Relief
"Crist, a Republican, said he had no plans to meet with Palestinian officials during his trip." "Florida governor begins 5-day tour of Israel".
As Charlie Burnishes His Foreign Relations Bona Fides ...
"Lake Okeechobee's low water levels threaten South Florida water supply".
"South Florida residents questioned House Speaker Marco Rubio on proposed property tax reforms. He told them that local governments are highly unlikely to cut essential services." "House Speaker Rubio: Essentials won't be cut". See also "Property tax talk heats up".
Covering His Bases
"The host committee for freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s Wednesday fund-raiser in Fort Lauderdale includes auto magnate Michael Maroone, who last year opened his home to President Bush for an event that raised more than $800,000 for former Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw." "Former Shaw moneyman helps Klein".
"Tacked onto the elections bill on a voice vote in the hectic, waning days of the legislative session, the section altered what's called the 'resign-to-run' law. State, city and county elected officials now may run for federal offices, including Congress, without having to resign from their current positions. State elections officials say the change also means officeholders could run for two offices at once, as long as one is a federal office." "Law Opens Door To State Politicians".
"The overhaul of Florida's welfare system, which allows most food stamp and Medicaid recipients to apply for aid and check their benefits online, is among 18 finalists for a prestigious national award [i.e., the Innovations in American Government Awards, bestowed annually by Ash Institute for Democratic Governance at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government] that recognizes government innovations." "Medicaid overhaul in running for prize".
"Wanted: Veteran attorney to oversee important cases in 35 Florida counties. Job expected to last 18 months or so. Salary: $145,400. Sounds enticing, but so far there have been almost no takers."
In the past, lawyers clamored to be U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida -- one of the most powerful federal-prosecutor jobs in the country."Attorney post has few takers".
"PBS Plans Florida Presidential Primary Debates".
"A mistake that erroneously boosted the scores of more than 200,000 third-graders on the FCAT last year has given new ammunition to critics of the test that not only assesses student performance but is also used to hold schools accountable." "Overdue change".
"The casual manner in which Florida education officials acknowledged last week a massive miscalculation of reading test scores is as alarming as the errors themselves." "FCAT mistakes go beyond score".
"Florida Power & Light is urging state utility regulators to let it build a proposed coal-fueled power plant in Glades County to help it meet demand and move away from its reliance on natural gas." "FPL pushing hard for Glades coal plant".
"Crist should veto legislation written to make it more difficult for citizens to gather petitions to change the state constitution." "Crist Should Veto Petition Bill".
"Crist takes turn at diplomat today".
"Florida remains No. 1 in the nation as a retirement destination, but its lead is no longer quite so comfortable. In a recent study by the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, which tracks national migration trends, Florida's share of the retiree market dropped from 19.1 percent in 2000 to 16.6 percent in 2005. Texas, which had been number four nationally, vaulted to second place. The implications run deeper than a billboard battle on state roads and interstate highways." more on those "implications" here: "Golden geese".
"No Welcome Mat"
"Florida's wild creatures are beleaguered enough without the additional threat posed by an influx of coyotes into the state. Too many exotic species already compete with native wildlife, sometimes even threatening to crowd out Florida's indigenous species. Meanwhile, constant development adds to the pressure on native animals' habitat, including that of endangered species like the Florida panther. Now comes the coyote, more familiar to the terrain of Western states, which -- like so many two-legged and four-legged transplants -- is making itself right at home in Florida." "No welcome mat for the wily coyote".
Raw Political Courage
"Crist, Rubio agree that Floridians are taxed out".
"Democrat Tim Mahoney touted his business savvy in winning the Republican-leaning U.S. House District 16 seat last year, but he will need to demonstrate more political savvy to get reelected in 2008." "Mahoney's odd tantrum".
"Web of Fraud and Foreclosure"
"Unwary tenants find themselves caught in a widening web of fraud and foreclosure." "Renters, too, face mortgage fallout".
"The National Rifle Association has launched a radio advertising campaign on behalf of Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who's vying with Rep. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, and a handful of others in a tight Senate race." "NRA Launches Baxley Radio Ads".