Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Brutal negotiations" on tap

    "A House gambit to force bigger property-tax breaks tied to a sales-tax increase has turned the Legislature's $11 billion property-tax cutting session on end, forcing lawmakers to start negotiations again from scratch." "Tax reform hits big snag".

    "The Florida Senate passed a property tax cut package Wednesday that disappointed both Republicans and Democrats and rejected provisions the House wants that greatly expand the savings. The Senate's action and a suddenly dormant House set up what could be brutal negotiations between the chambers to find common ground or a new plan." "No real progress on tax reform plan".

    "Senators are clearly worried about the effect their $9.7 billion package will have on local government and school finances. By contrast, the House is driven by a conservative, anti-tax philosophy and is holding out for a $14 billion plan, which it intends to pass today." "Tax vote today to pit House against Senate". See also "Tax-Cut Plans Diverge", "Democrats introduce third property-tax tax plan", "New tax plan promises deep cuts for S. Florida", "Senate ratifies massive tax cut", "Senate passes part of property tax cut plan", "Like it or not, lawmakers get a break this weekend" and "Homestead amendment squeaks through Florida Senate".

    "Some of these guys in Tallahassee are so infatuated with Jeb that I wouldn't blame Columba for being nervous."

    Scott Maxwell this morning: "It's kind of funny that Floridians are so up in arms about taxes. Because the truth of the matter is that we are largely to blame."

    The politicians, you see, have turned us into a bunch of Pavlov's dogs. They mention the words tax cut, and we start salivating.

    Most of us don't bother to stop and ask whose taxes they are vowing to cut -- or, more important, whose taxes might increase as a result. All politicians have to do is tape a campaign commercial that mentions they love the flag and hate taxes, and we drool all the way to the voting booths.

    Want proof? Well, consider this: In the past decade alone, Florida lawmakers have passed a whopping $20 billion worth of tax cuts.

    But I'm betting you don't feel $20 billion richer.

    That's because much of those cuts came from eliminating the so-called intangible taxes. And unless you have big money in business trusts, stocks, bonds or mutual funds, you're not benefiting from that tax break.

    But the special interests have also had their way with our tax system. Over the years, Florida politicians have exempted everything from lawyer bills to dry-cleaning. From TV commercials to newspaper ads. From ostrich feed to space satellites.
    Maxwell continues:
    Anyone who tries to tell you all of these cuts were meant to help the "little guy" should be ejected into space with one of those tax-free satellites.
    Here's the bottom line:
    Yes, let's cut taxes. Let's just cut them for everyone.

    But House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt don't seem so interested in doing that. After all, that would mean changing things done by Jeb Bush. And some of these guys in Tallahassee are so infatuated with Jeb that I wouldn't blame Columba for being nervous.
    "Maybe we should study tax cuts". Unfortunately, Maxwell can't bring himself to mention the political party responsible for this tax talk garbage, and instead refers to "politicians" generally.


    "The sparse crowds that attend Mike Gravel's events like his ideas but hold little hope." "This Democrat doesn't shun Florida". See also "Dems to hear from candidate Mike Gravel".

    "Populist scold"

    "Reviving his role as populist scold, Gov. Crist on Tuesday accused the state's second-largest private homeowners insurer of being unfair and breaking the law. As the governor acknowledged, though, he can't prove those charges. He also wouldn't be specific about his allegations. But this confrontation has been coming since January." "New target is Allstate".


    "Courage? Not quite".


    "Hoping to overturn a presidential veto, U.S. House Democrats and their allies have pressured Republican lawmakers from Central Florida to break party ranks and support an expansion of children's health insurance."

    Their efforts are expected to fall short today when the House votes on whether to override President Bush's Oct. 3 veto of a plan to increase federal funding of children's health care by $35 billion over five years.

    All seven Republican House members from Central Florida opposed the original bill. In recent interviews, each said he or she would vote to sustain the veto, despite a steady stream of attack ads from national Democrats and activist groups.
    And then there's Tommy:
    U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney -- also a Democratic target in the 2008 election -- has borne the brunt of the interest-group criticism, including a television spot that condemns him for taking government-funded health insurance as a congressman while denying it for needy children.

    After today's vote, the Oviedo Republican plans to present a compromise conceived by Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida. It will focus on extending tax credits to low-income families rather than significantly boosting the budget to cover more children.
    "Area lawmakers feel heat to alter kid-health vote".


    "Local Money Is On Obama, Even As Clinton Leads Polls".


    "Too many women in Florida lack health insurance, smoke or suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, a state-by-state analysis on women's health revealed Wednesday. The report gave Florida an "unsatisfactory" grade, in part for failing to meet national milestones for cervical-cancer screenings, physical activity and obesity." "Florida women's health care lags".

    >"A shadowy conspiracy"

    "Terrified that voters may get the power to kill development projects, Florida business interests are unleashing an array of political weaponry to defeat the Hometown Democracy initiative. A mass mailing from one opposition group alleged that the Hometown movement is a shadowy conspiracy fomented by out-of-state special interests called 'electors,' another name for voters." "Business Groups Fire At Initiative".

    "Self righteous"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, is like a guy who always waits for his dinner companions to pick up the check, then wants to know why they can't eat as cheaply as he does."

    Apparently, Rep. Pickens is tired of counties and cities in Florida complaining that state-mandated cuts in property-tax revenue - with more to come - make it hard for them to balance their books without cutting services. This week, the self-righteous Rep. Pickens promised to exempt any municipality from tax cuts if it could demonstrate a record of raising taxes less than the Legislature had in the past five years.
    "Hypocrisy on taxes".

    "The Florida Dream"

    "If you want to know how Florida went from a sparsely populated backwater state to a booming, multicultural destination point, then tune in tonight for a new documentary on Florida's topsy-turvy modern history." "Watch It Tonight: The Florida Dream".

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