"The near-record pork in the state budget passed by the Legislature as lawmakers accused cities and counties of rampant waste represents a rare political blend of schizophrenia and hypocrisy. Legislators who want to rein in local spending can't back away from the trough themselves." "No amnesty for these turkeys". See also "Thrift-minded legislators serve up plenty of pork".
"State lawmakers are all safely back in their districts, having momentarily moved off the big stage with the end of the legislative session. The curtain's now rising for another prominent player -- Gov. Charlie Crist." "State Budget".
"In a year when property taxpayers are demanding relief, legislators loaded the state budget with $267-million in dubious local projects, Florida TaxWatch said Tuesday." "Group: $267-million in 'turkeys'". See also "TaxWatch claims budget crammed with extras", "Group targets budget 'turkeys'", "Watchdogs Target Spending" and "TaxWatch finds 507 'turkeys' worth $267 million in state budget".
Back at the ranch, "House speaker floats another tax-cut idea" ("Rubio has House analysts crunching numbers on another property-tax proposal. This one would give homeowners tax breaks based on the median home values in each of Florida's 67 counties. The plan is similar to -- but far more generous than -- one proposed by House Democrats that is valued at $1.5 billion.")
Jebbie's "Way to Reward Republican Donors"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The failure of Project Aspire, whose original budget grew from $81 million in 2003 to an expected $100 million this year, once again disproves Jeb Bush's claim that privatization means cheaper, better public service."
During Gov. Bush's tenure, oversight of private contracts, as numerous audits showed, often was just that - an oversight. In some cases, including with BearingPoint, the company hired to manage the overhaul of the 25-year-old accounting system, there were obvious conflicts. BearingPoint, which abandoned Project Aspire days before it was scheduled to end in December, had been awarded a separate $126 million state contract in 2004 by then-Gov. Bush's State Technology Office director, Kim Bahrami - who soon after quit, to work for BearingPoint."Aspire to more for state".
With the Council on Efficient Government, Ms. Sink also is investigating the $92 million private contract for MyFlorida MarketPlace, the state's purchasing system, and PeopleFirst!, the $350 million takeover of the state's human resources services. If she does nothing else during her first term in office, halting the misguided rush to privatization - which under the former governor was a way to reward Republican donors - will be enough.
May we repeat that, under Jebbie, privatization "was a way to reward Republican donors".
The St Pete Times editors remind us that "Bush once vetoed a legislative attempt to review the contracts, but Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist have committed to holding the businesses accountable." "Private troubles, public dollars".
A Cynic Might Say That This Explains ...
"This state lags behind others in the number of people with college degrees. ... Florida will continue to lag behind while other states produce an educated work force that strengthens their local economies." "For state to prosper, universities must aim high".
"Hanging out in Orlando this weekend for the GOP’s quarterly meetings, it was clear the two major political parties have very different levels of concern about moving up the presidential primaries. Both national parties have threatened to take away half of the state’s delegates for the national conventions. While Democrats are begging Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean not to penalize them and candidates who campaign here, Republicans have a much more laidback approach." "GOP chair not worried about lost delegates".
"The uncertainty over what type of property tax reform state legislators will approve has led county officials to make changes to the upcoming budget workshops." "Budget sessions face uncertainty".
"Gov. Charlie Crist made an impromptu stop at City Hall to talk to West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel about property tax reform today, putting the two sides of the tense debate on colorful display." "Frankel and Crist Face Off Over Property Taxes". See also "Tax-cut trash talking".
"In Florida, another dubious milestone was reached Wednesday as the average price of unleaded hit $3 even." "Drivers pay through hose".
"After a first regular session that ended in a property tax relief stalemate, Gov. Charlie Crist marks a somber victory today at a bill-signing ceremony." "Crist signs Anderson relief package".
"Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent will officially be chosen tonight as the next president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. The move comes just months after her county became ground zero in the latest battle over touchscreen machines." "Embattled supervisor to lead group".
Mitt Losing Jebbie?
"Ana Navarro, a Florida Republican activist and fundraiser who has worked with Jeb Bush on immigration issues in the past, said the former governor told her last weekend that he is 'disappointed' that Romney has denounced the immigration bill in television advertisements." "ABC says Jeb May Be Unhappy With Mitt Over Immigration".
"As the Senate tackles immigration overhaul, a South Florida activist hopes it will take up a provision that would prevent Haitians from being deported back to the island." "Activist seeks legal fix for Haitians".
Is Charlie A "Fornicator"?
"The TV reporter who interviewed Heyniger this week used the opportunity to ask her about rumors about the governor's sexual orientation, a topic that came up several times during the campaign last year. Heyniger dismissed the rumors as false." "Governor's girlfriend is Palm Beach mom".
It Was A Very Good Year
"The year 2005 was the insurance industry's greatest ever with more than $40 billion in profit. 2006 was even better, with more than $50 billion in profit. Car insurance is profitable in Florida, and homeowner's insurance premiums are going through the roof. Now the insurance industry wants to make a good deal even better by eliminating Florida's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance." "End of PIP profits insurers, not you".
Yesterday: "Some of Martinez's fellow Florida Republicans were more direct, making it abundantly clear they want nothing of the plan. 'The Senate's amnesty plan does nothing to secure our borders and is a slap in the face to every law-abiding immigrant who wants to come to America the right way - legally,' said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Brooksville. Republican Reps. Tom Feeney of Oviedo and Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key had similar criticisms." "Martinez Tries To Preserve Bill".
Our Consumer Warrior
"Having taken on the insurance companies during a January special session and the recently finished regular legislative session, Gov. Charlie Crist turned his sights on the petroleum industry, signing a letter with 21 other governors asking Congress to investigate the cost of gasoline." "The new insurance industry?". See also "Crist seeks inquiry into gas price spike".
"Providing better job-training, literacy help and health services for convicted felons is not being soft on crime, it's protecting the public safety, the head of Florida's prison system said Tuesday in announcing a new program to cut the rate of ex-cons." "DOC leader: New program needed to curb recidivism".