The mighty Florida GOP can't seem to figure out what to do:
A plan to change Florida's property tax system has fallen, and it remains to be seen whether the governor and Legislature will be able to pick it up."Unity lacking on Florida's property tax issue". See also "No Decision Yet on Appeal", "GOP aims to salvage tax-cut proposal", "Gov. Crist to lawmakers: Fix amendment or expand it; just get it to voters", "Senate wants to appeal rejection of property tax amendment", "Appeal, rewrite? Leaders might try both tacks" and "Florida may decide today whether to appeal ruling on property tax referendum". More: "Legislators at odds over tax bill again" ("After a judge axes the property tax plan, the House leader wants to fix it and the Senate leader forget it.")
Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders sent different signals Tuesday about resurrecting the Jan. 29 referendum issue, setting up a showdown next week that could determine whether it will go to voters.
The lack of unity on how -- or even whether -- to revive the issue reflects the diminishing prospects facing what legislators only a few months ago boasted would be a key piece in the largest tax cut in state history.
Indeed, Rubio is saying that "'the Legislature now has the opportunity to give voters the option of pursuing additional property tax measures,' ... Rubio stopped short of calling again for eliminating homestead taxes in favor of raising the state sales tax. The radical tax cuts Rubio sought paralyzed the Legislature during the regular spring session, ruffled longtime state senators who wanted more modest tax cuts and led to a June special legislative session on property taxes." "Tax fight brews on two fronts".
The Miami Herald editors:"The proposal's 'language is misleading and confusing, and does not provide fair notice to the voter, educated or otherwise,' Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis wrote."
He was kind."A good ruling on bad ballot language". The Sun-Sentinel editors: the "judge's ruling gives Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature another opportunity to do the wise thing, and hand this contentious, complicated issue to the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission." "Judge's ruling on "super-exemption" a chance to let tax reform panel have issue".
The impenetrable ballot language seems designed to hide one important fact about the Legislature's proposed constitutional revision: that it would phase out the popular Save Our Homes tax cap, which limits property-tax increases to 3 percent a year for homestead properties. The language mentions ''preserving'' Save Our Homes provisions. Nowhere does it say that, eventually, Save Our Homes would go away.
"Just when Florida Democrats decided to stay the course with a bright and early Jan. 29 presidential primary, one of the big drawing cards - the super homestead exemption amendment - was knocked off the ballot by a Leon County circuit judge. This winter election is quickly losing its luster, given that the chance to cut their own property taxes - or so many voters have been lead to believe - would probably attract more voters than would the presidential candidates. That's because it's still unclear whether candidates will break with the national Democratic Party and really campaign to get a feel for our issues rather than just fly in to raise money." "Crystal clear".
"A Florida Republican Party mailer encourages Florida Democrats to join the GOP as a way to cope with the frustration over the national party's decision to punish the state for scheduling an early presidential primary."
"There is hope. You'll find it with the Republican Party of Florida," promises a mailer to an undisclosed number of Florida Democrats, with the registration form voters can use to switch party affiliation."GOP to Dems: Switch parties".
"Now - thanks to their egos and political infighting - you, as a Florida Democrat, may lose your right to vote. No delegates. No votes. Because of the Democrat rules, Democratic presidential candidates say they won't campaign in Florida - they'll only raise money here," says the mailer.
"If you've been following the news about the Florida presidential primary, you may have asked: How did we get in this mess? Here are some answers." "States Shuffle Primaries In A Bid For Attention, Influence". The Miami Herald editors: "This is no way to choose a president".
Meanwhile, with Dean having "rejected a last-ditch appeal to save Florida from sanctions at the 2008 convention, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he's going to court." "Nelson says he's going to court". See also "Nelson headed to court over primary date".
"Florida posted significant gains in its reading scores over the past two years, joining Hawaii, Maryland and the District of Columbia as the only jurisdictions in the country to show improvement, a new report released Tuesday shows." "State reading scores improve on national test". See also "Tax-bill cuts, dispute could get a do-over".
Fool Me Once...Go Ahead, Fool Me Again ...
"Broward County will get new voting equipment for the August 2008 primary, supplied by the same manufacturer who sold the machines the county no longer wants. The optical-scanning equipment is being adopted by counties statewide, to solve problems created by touch-screen machines -- especially the fact that the votes are never recorded on paper, which makes recounts virtually meaningless."
In a no-bid contract, Broward commissioners agreed earlier this year to buy the equipment from Election Systems & Software -- the same company that in 2002 provided the touch-screen voting machines that are now being replaced in both Miami-Dade and Broward. Broward still owes about $8 million of the $20 million those machines cost."Herald: Paper ballots to be back for August 2008 primary".
Don't Hold Your Breath
"The U.S. Supreme Court decided Tuesday to hear a case that challenges the constitutionality of death by lethal injection, putting Florida's on-again, off-again death penalty back in limbo and potentially postponing executions around the nation." "Challenge may halt Florida's scheduled lethal injections". See also "Federal lethal injection case could affect Florida".
"The 17-member board that oversees Florida's higher education system is expected to approve tuition increases this week -- setting the stage for a showdown with the governor and Legislature." "Turf battle near on tuition".
"Without public involvement in divvying up how the money gets spent"
"Water managers propose using $10 million of taxpayer money to jump-start 'clean technologies' that could help the environment, but without public involvement in divvying up how the money gets spent. The plan calls for the South Florida Water Management District to establish a venture capital fund that could be tapped by private businesses or other organizations developing technologies such as alternative water supplies and new ways to remove pollutants from the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee." "Water managers want to give businesses $10 million for 'clean technologies'".
"Facing a boycott by presidential candidates over the state's hijacking of the presidential primary calendar, Florida Democrats are bracing themselves for the next best thing: their spouses." "Democratic candidates to get plenty of spousal support in Florida".
"On Friday, Crist showed up at Yom Kippur Service in Miami with another beauty on his arm, WFOR-Ch. 4 TV reporter and former Playboy model Jennifer Santiago."
"It's not clear the extent of the relationship," says the Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog, "but Santiago has boasted on her Web site that the single governor granted her his first 'exclusive interview in the mansion' in February." "Crist an item with TV reporter?".
One supposes that the "exclusive interview on the mansion" was not a "criminal conversation".
"The teleplay reportedly chronicles the five weeks between Election Day and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld Harris' decision." "HBO puts '00 election back in the spotlight".
"The threat that lawmakers next week might resurrect Florida's no-fault auto-insurance law has insurers scrambling to kill the deal before it gathers momentum." "Insurers clamber to prevent no-fault insurance's return".
"Group slams Florida"
"Florida may be one of only seven states offering pre-kindergarten to all of its 4-year-olds, but a national advocacy group derided its lawmakers Tuesday for being the only ones in the country to cut their state's pre-K budget in the past two years." "Advocacy group slams Florida for reducing pre-K budget"
One can't imagine an emptier suit than Adam Putnam, "a main House attack dog against Democrats" - in yet another sign of the GOP decline:
Nearly 400 people were expected to fill a $2,500-a-table fundraiser for GOP Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon near Los Angeles Saturday night."Putnam's Profile Rising Within GOP".
The main draw: U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam.
The Bartow Republican was to attend a cocktail party and be the dinner's guest speaker. ...
Putnam said he has not ruled out an eventual bid for statewide office - or for a higher leadership position in the GOP - but said all of these moves are just a part of being a Republican leader in the U.S. House.
Others agree, but as Putnam is fulfilling that role, they say he is also raising his national profile, making contacts in other states and building political chits that could have a huge bearing on his future.
"If Democrat Christine Jennings is going to win her rematch against Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, next year, she’s going to need to spend even more than the nearly $3.3 million she spent last go around. Or at least that’s how much EMILY’s List is telling its supporters in a advertisement on its web site." "Jennings needs $4 million, group says".
"Charlie Crist will be a featured speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative, the brainchild of former president Bill Clinton. Crist has been invited to speak on a panel titled 'Redefining Business As Usual.' Crist surprised many in Tallahassee by waiting until Tuesday to announce his participation." "Crist warms to climate change".
It is apparently banner news when a GOPer recognizes the obvious - that climate change is a problem. ANd this headline is a bit much don't you think, "Crist takes global initiative"?
Grinding to a Halt
School "districts throughout Florida struggle with a recent state Supreme Court decision that cast legal doubt on a borrowing program that pays for billions in new schools. ... If the controversial decision stands, administrators have few other options to find construction money. They fear projects will be scrubbed or significantly delayed even as the demand for classroom space increases because of Florida's class-size law." "School construction could grind to halt".
Where is the Demand that Republicans Repudiate These Statements?
Off topic: Inasmuch as Republicans are demanding that Democrats repudiate the recent MoveOn ad, perhaps Dems will demand that Republicans repudiate the following remarks by GOPer shill Bill O'Reilly:
After eating dinner at a famed Harlem restaurant recently, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly told a radio audience he "couldn't get over the fact" that there was no difference between the black-run Sylvia's and other restaurants."Group Points Out O'Reilly Race Comments".
"It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun," he said. "And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."