Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Monday, July 09, 2007

Dashed Expectations

    "Less than a month after lawmakers' celebration over a purported $32 billion tax cut, the savings have dropped and the enthusiasm has evaporated."
    Half of the tax cut is already in law and taking effect as local governments freeze their budgets, cut next year's spending by up to 9 percent and prepare for a cap on budget growth.

    That legislation, which promises about $16 billion in tax cuts over five years, passed almost unanimously. But the remaining cut is unlikely to be as much as promised and depends on 60 percent approval from voters on Jan. 29 to amend the state's constitution.

    Few seem optimistic about its prospects, including some Republicans who voted for the referendum issue.
    "Bloom is off the rose on promise of tax cuts".


    "Nearly 80 of the same lawmakers who are forcing cities and counties to slash their budgets are flying out of state this summer to attend weeklong conferences at a cost to taxpayers of at least $125,000."

    The trips to Philadelphia and Boston normally would draw little attention. But officials are ordering state agencies to curtail travel to ease a $1-billion budget shortfall at the same time local governments are trimming billions more under property tax rollbacks.
    "Travel ignores budget crunch".


    "Giuliani greets voters in stop at Orlando deli".

    Cleaning Up Another Fine "Jeb!" Mess

    The Tampa Tribune editors:

    Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and a distinguished group of educators are suing the Florida Legislature. The bold move is necessary to establish who has the authority to set tuition at the state universities.

    As things stand, the Florida Board of Governors is charged with managing the universities, but the Legislature and governor can set tuition.

    The arrangement hamstrings the Board of Governor's ability to oversee the university system. And such oversight was precisely what voters expected when they overwhelmingly passed a 2002 referendum restoring a university-system governing board.

    Graham led that referendum campaign after Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature abolished the Board of Regents, essentially giving politicians the run of state universities.
    "Give Board Of Governors Tuition Control".

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida's public university presidents weren't just posturing last month when they said students would suffer from Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of their 5 percent tuition increase. Nor was the universities' Board of Governors expressing fake angst over the contradiction between the system's excellent access for students yet years of underfinancing, including the nation's cheapest tuition." "The students are coming; sufficient tuition isn't".

    What's Wrong With Central Florida?

    "In Florida, more than 50 cities from Tallahassee to Tamarac have decided they can't wait for federal action to curb global warming and signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. In Central Florida, leaders have been slow to take it on." "Only 2 mayors from Central Florida have pledged support for Kyoto Protocol".


    Charlie sidesteps the question:

    "People talk about things all the time, you know how politics are. I just consider it silly talk," Crist said Sunday. When asked if he would consider running for vice president if eventually asked, he said, "There's nothing to consider."

    While Crist acknowledge there have been indirect discussions with Republican campaigns "through other people," he said he is not exploring the possibility of being on the presidential ticket.

    "Nothing could be further from the truth," Crist said. "The only thing I'm exploring is Miami to Pensacola and Naples to Jacksonville and all parts in between."
    "Crist dismisses VP speculation as "silly talk"".

    Consolidation of Local Government Services?

    "The property-tax schemes brewed in the recent special session of the state Legislature make it clear that business as usual is no longer an option. Growth will help insulate county and city governments from some of the cuts planned by lawmakers, but that same growth (especially growth that pushes into previously forested areas) will dictate necessary expansions of local fire service. Special taxing districts for emergency services aren't subject to the same kind of cuts, so spinning fire service off into a separate funding source makes sense." "Toward consolidation".

    Angry Snowbirds

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board:

    The inequity made sense in the 1930s, when the state wanted to help poor locals keep their homes and farms during the Great Depression. But in the urbanized Florida of today, this duel system of taxation has no defensible purpose. It exists for one reason, to shift the tax load onto those who can't vote in state and local elections.

    The shoddy treatment of second-home owners is on the verge of getting worse. In January voters will be asked to approve a new super-homestead exemption for permanent residents. If passed, it will give snowbirds one more reason to sell out and begin wintering in a more hospitable place.
    "Inequality Of Property Taxes Make Snowbirds Feel Rooked".


    In yesterday's Miami Herald: "Toiling in Tallahassee: Who were Broward's legislative achievers?".


    "The GOP presidential hopeful and ex-NYC mayor shakes hands, then heads to Daytona." "Giuliani greets voters in stop at Orlando deli".


    "Lawmakers have several choices."

    They can re-enact the no-fault insurance requirement, with tougher protections meant to reduce fraud. That system could make the most sense.

    Or they can return to a fault system, where the insurance of the driver who's at fault in an accident pays for injuries and lost wages of everyone involved in the crash. That coverage is potentially far more expensive, since it would necessarily carry a higher limit.

    Before they choose a path, lawmakers should ask themselves why insurance companies are lobbying so hard against a no-fault system. And they should take the time to listen to groups like the Florida Consumer Action Network and the Consumer Federation of the Southeast, which are working together to frame a proposal that's fair and consumer-friendly.
    "Lawmakers shouldn't leave accident victims in the lurch".

    "Blow[ing] off Florida's primary"

    Adam Smith yesterday:

    Florida got its wish in moving its presidential primary near the front of the nominating calendar. The state, just like Iowa and New Hampshire, is crawling with presidential candidates most every week.

    But corralled the other day behind a barrier keeping reporters from asking Hillary Clinton any questions, I was reminded that Florida is no Iowa or New Hampshire.

    The joke in those small, early-voting states is that folks don't make up their minds until they've seen each of the candidates in person four or five times. In Florida? Your chances, whether a voter or a reporter, of actually talking to one of the leading candidates who are zipping in and out of Florida are next to nil.

    Indeed, there are plenty of hints that some of the Democrats are preparing to blow off Florida's primary. Consider that Democrat Barack Obama has not yet answered a single question from a Floridian who has not written a big check to attend a private reception. Nor has Democrat John Edwards.
    "Don't expect to meet the candidates in Florida".


    The Buzz reports: "Some Rudy Giuliani endorsements in northeast FL: Regional Chair Richard Clark, Jacksonville City Councilman; Duval County Chair Toni Ann Van Orman; St. Johns County Chair Elvira Fernandez Hasty; Glorious Johnson, Jacksonville City Councilwoman." "Rudy love in NE FL".

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