"Florida trails only Texas in the percentage of non-elderly citizens without health insurance, according to the latest government data."
Nearly one of every four Floridians under age 65 -- 3.6 million men, women and children -- are uninsured."U.S.: Florida 2nd in uninsured residents under 65".
"Republicans rose to power in Florida by pushing tax cuts, smaller government and promising to get tough on criminals. But the party could be poised to throw out that playbook as lawmakers try to fix the state's worst budget crisis since 2001. Gov. Charlie Crist and the Republican-controlled Legislature are considering measures that could result in higher fees and property taxes for many Floridians, a larger state work force and even the early release of some inmates." "State faces unsavory cuts".
"A downward economic spiral driven largely by a depressed housing market has slowed the pace of tax collections, leaving a $1.1-billion paper deficit in the current budget year. As a result, lawmakers must reduce the $71-billion budget, an exercise that may soon become almost routine." "Sides gird for Fla. budget fight".
"State agencies have proposed more than $1 billion in spending cuts as lawmakers prepare to trim the budget later this month. But some of the so-called cuts would simply shift responsibilities - and spending - from one agency to another, or from the state to local governments or other entities." "Local governments irked as state 'cuts' land in their laps".
"When the state budget ax starts swinging in Tallahassee this month, where it will fall on public schools will be up to four key Northeast Floridians." "Education budget ax honed".
Another Education Jebacy
"Florida's high schools can't get their ACT together. And their SATs are stagnant."
High school students performed worse this year than last on the American College Test, the second straight year of declines. The results place Florida 48th among the states."Florida's High School Failures Reflected In Unimpressive Scores".
On the other major college entrance exam, the SAT, Florida's scores stayed the same as last year. But the average score of 1,472 ranks well below the national average of 1,514.
That's not exactly progress.
Take Note Bob Allen
"When you don't come clean with the very people whose trust you seek, is living a lie really worth all the prestige, all the stature, all the power if, in the end, it all winds up - literally - in a toilet?" "Some Honesty, Some Integrity Would Be Nice".
"State and federal experts meet in Fort Lauderdale today to discuss ways to reform Florida’s juvenile detention system." "Experts discuss juvenile detention overhaul".
"All isn't lost"
"The refusal of property insurers to cut consumers reasonable discounts on their wind policies after assurances that they would following this year's special session on insurance has been followed by a purge of those consumers. Nationwide Insurance announced last week that it will dump more than 40,000 policyholders. About a month ago, State Farm said it would toss 50,000. Allstate Floridian began shaking 106,000 policyholders loose in the spring."
Particularly galling are some of the companies' rationales. Nationwide says the potential of the state getting hit by a catastrophic storm was a factor that forced its hand. Huh? The state this year offered insurers abundant, cheap reinsurance, which backs them in catastrophic storms. Available at less than market prices, it was supposed to provide them savings that they could then pass on to their customers.Insurance purge"".
Why all isn't lost, according to Ms. Sink, is that several new operators are jockeying in Florida to acquire the business that some of the larger carriers eagerly jettisoned. Ms. Sink, too, was cast off by USAA.
"A legislative-sponsored demolition derby"
"With new proposals circulating in both the Florida House and Senate, lawmakers have no excuse to let the no-fault automobile insurance law expire and chaos ensue. If lawmakers have any doubt about their obligations, they need only look at the growing confusion and alarm among motorists in the state. With the law set to expire Oct. 1, motorists are being dropped into the middle of what amounts to a legislative-sponsored demolition derby." "On fixing no-fault, no excuses".
"Once again Florida tops the list in an unflattering way"
"Florida tops list of reported food-borne illness outbreaks. Once again Florida tops the list in an unflattering way — this time for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses recorded at restaurants throughout the state." "With Florida's high ranking in food-borne illness, greater care is a must".
"Will legislators spare schools? Not a chance"
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Republican leaders say that if Floridians pass tax 'reform' in January, the Legislature absolutely will find $1.42 billion a year for the next five years to make up for what proposed property tax cuts would take away from Florida's students. Weigh that promise against what Republican leaders now are saying about how they will deal in a special session two weeks from now with a $1.1 billion deficit in this year's budget. Education's share of the cuts has been estimated at $415 million to $700 million. Will legislators spare schools? Not a chance." "If schools must get cut, cut bogus bonus money".
"The state's chief financial officer will be the keynote speaker this month during Lake County Democrats' sixth annual Claude Pepper Dinner. Alex Sink, whose banking career spanned nearly 30 years, including seven as the head of Bank of America, was elected Florida's chief financial officer in 2006. She is responsible for monitoring the state's fiscal health, managing more than $74 billion in tax revenue and overseeing departments that regulate securities and insurance." "State finance chief to speak at Dem dinner".
Bill Cotterell yesterday:
This is the time of year when Florida government, along with people like me, get nosy."It's a fine time for ethics (and the nosy)".
The last chance for thousands of public employees to file their annual financial-disclosure forms is [Tuesday]. Actually, the deadline was July 1, but the law allows employees until Sept. 1 before fines kick in - and since that was a Saturday, and because the offices of the Florida Commission on Ethics are closed [Monday], the effective date will be Tuesday.
"The road to the [Dade County] mayor's calendar evidently runs through The Miami Herald. In a recent report, People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality and the NAACP's Miami-Dade chapter complained that County Mayor Carlos Alvarez had repeatedly ignored their requests for meetings. In response, Alvarez sent an e-mail to The Miami Herald saying he would meet with the groups." "Group finally gets through to Alvarez, with some help".