Palm Beach Post columnist Randy Schultz blasts the Florida GOP: "Republicans, remember, promised to lower property insurance premiums and cut property taxes. Those reductions, Floridians were assured, would be significant. Further, homeowners and taxpayers would enjoy that relief without suffering major reductions in services. Didn't happen."
Schultz continues: For example, on property insurance, Rep. Rubio said that in spite of massive government intrusion, "the rates have not gone down." And even with further property-tax reform, he said, 'I'm not going to lie to you and tell you it makes our system fair or affordable.' Now, because of the GOP, we have the worst of all possible worlds. The following sad list is true for many, many Floridians:"
• The market value of your home is down.Schultz concludes:
• Your tax bill pretty much is as ugly as it used to be.
• Your insurance bill is even uglier than your tax bill.
• Even though you're paying the same, municipalities are cutting services anyway.
• So is the state, which is expected to decide at next month's special legislative session to cut the budgets for the public school or university your child attends.
• Despite falling housing prices, homes still are too expensive for middle-class workers.
High taxes and high insurance rates have hobbled all but the high end of Florida's real-estate market. When GOP leaders such as Gov. Crist, Rep. Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, promised to fix those problems, they were promising to fix what was fundamentally wrong with the state's economy."In Florida, the real GOP failure".
They didn't keep that promise.
The GOPers' Turn
"Democrats are not the only ones who have a problem with Florida's primary date: Republicans are planning to punish the state, too. Florida and four other states - New Hampshire, Wyoming, Michigan and South Carolina - could see at least half their delegates blocked from the Republican National Convention next year in St. Paul, Minn., because they moved up their primary dates in violation of party rules, which require that they be no earlier than Feb. 5." "GOP also ready to swat Florida over primary".
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Federal funding for the Everglades Restoration agreement hasn't paid off. It was supposed to be a partnership, and a historic one at that. Unfortunately, the seven-year effort by the federal and state government to restore the Florida Everglades has proven to be anything but." "U.S. isn't holding up its end of Everglades restoration deal".
Buddy Johnson "Inept, dishonest and political"?
"A Brandon man who wants to be Hillsborough County supervisor of elections described the current officeholder as "inept, dishonest and political" in announcing his own bid for the job Wednesday. Lee Nelson, 30, a Democrat who works in information technology, said he plans to restore honesty to the supervisor's office. He accused current Supervisor Buddy Johnson of losing votes, moving polling places without telling voters and surrounding himself with a partisan 'cabal.'" "Elections official under attack".
"The Senate still may be out of town, but the Mark Foley scandal is never out of mind. That's why U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, drew such quick criticism from influential members of his own party. This week, Sen. Craig became the latest GOP lawmaker to make life easy for comedians by giving them one-liners every time he opens his mouth. Sen. Craig's defense that his arrest - for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport bathroom - resulted from a big misunderstanding is undercut by just one line in the officer's arrest report: 'I was able to see Craig's blue eyes as he looked into my stall.'" "Foley Factor kicks in".
Raw Political Courage
"Crist and his top lieutenant slip the surly bonds of Tallahassee today and head south to promote the space industry." "Crist to promote space industry".
"While there's still no plan to include any discussion of Florida's no-fault auto insurance when the Legislature meets next month in a special session, one more proposal to revamp the law is in the works. Sen. Bill Posey, a Republican from Rockledge who has led the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee since the beginning of the year, is drafting a bill that's very similar to one he introduced during this year's regular legislative session." "Sen. Posey aims to revamp no-fault law". In the meantime, "End of no-fault could means millions of uninsured vehicles".
"Almost candidate Fred Thompson had scheduled a fundraiser for this afternoon at Baker Hostetler in Orlando, but it's been postponed at least until the 18th. There's Buzz that it's another sign of disorganization with the Thompson team ... The actor and former Tennessee had planned a busy Florida day, including meeting with Charlie Crist, but it had to be re-scheduled. 'The toughest part was contacting all the people excited about coming,' said Orlando lawyer Tico Perez, noting a flood of enthusiasm as word spread Thompson was coming." "Thompson fundraiser delayed". On a separate note: "Todd Harris joining Thompson". See also "Harris To Head Thompson Press Shop".
The Miami Herald editors: "The number of charter schools that serve both general education and niche markets is quickly growing. Market is the operative word: Private charter-school owners and operators look to profit by running schools using state tax dollars. For these and other reasons, charter schools need more oversight than they now receive. In particular, the niche schools' performance in their specialty areas needs a rating system. Like public schools, charter schools administer the FCAT and are graded on students' test scores. But their specialized instructions aren't tested." "Sharpen line between church and state".
Rules, Whay Rules? "Administrators, teachers, parents and students at Osprey and Sawgrass charter schools became vigilantes of sorts, opening their doors for classes Wednesday and bucking a Brevard County School Board decision that demanded the sister schools close." "Schools defy order to close".
GOPers Back Out
"Univisión planned to air the first presidential debates in Spanish on Sept. 9 and 16, one for Democrats, the other for Republicans, trumpeting a national coming-out party for Hispanic voters. Except Republican candidates aren't coming. Only Ariz. Sen. John McCain agreed to participate in the event at the University of Miami. So much for Sept. 16." "GOP no-shows prompt cancellation of debate".
The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Despite threats from national Democratic and Republican leaders to punish Florida for its early presidential primary, state party leaders owe it to voters to stick with the date set by the Legislature." "Don't back down".
"One of Florida's top Democratic fundraisers has angrily snapped shut his heavy checkbook because the Democratic National Committee has pledged to penalize Florida for holding an early presidential primary. Jacksonville trial lawyer Wayne Hogan called DNC Chairman Howard Dean on Tuesday to cancel an event that Hogan had planned to host to raise money for the national party." "Democrats feel wrath of a top Florida fundraiser".
"Dyer bio takes center stage in cyberduel".
Everyone Except the 911 First Responders
"Rudy Giuliani has formed a National First Responders Coalition, led by Howard Safir, who was one of Giuliani's police commissioners while he was mayor of New York. One of the national co-chairs in the law enforcement division is veteran Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger." "First Responders for Rudy". For a look at Giuliani's nonexistent cred with real firs responders, go here.
"Florida's community colleges have asked lawmakers to consider a tuition increase for the spring semester." "Community colleges seek spring tuition hike". On a related note, "Chairman wants to spare student financial aid from budget cuts".
Those Greedy Public Employees
"The state will not offer supplemental vision coverage next year for employees." "DMS drops supplemental vision plans for state employees".
"Leaders of the national Democratic Party 'owe something to Florida' and should work out a compromise to prevent such a key state from losing all votes at next summer's nominating convention, presidential contender Dennis Kucinich said Wednesday." "Kucinich: Democratic Party owes Fla.".
"U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite has called on the White House to give a true assessment of the war when it issues a much-anticipated report in September from the top U.S. commander in Iraq." "She talks about the Iraq war, taxes and other issues".
"If Florida government is truly to become the people's government, the pollution by politics of the business of government must become less of an expectation and more of a curiosity - unwelcome, but rare." "Efficiency partners".