"Behind all the public discourse about doubling the homestead exemption, making Save Our Homes portable and adding tax breaks for first-time home buyers and low-income seniors, is a fact of life about the two men who run this bicameral Legislature."
These guys don't especially like each other, yet they have to work together."In this battle, both sides can lose". See also "Deal on property tax cuts may come down to two Republican legislators".
They're also very different men.
House Speaker Marco Rubio sees himself as Jeb II, the true heir to the conservative mantle of the Republican Party in Florida.
He's an ideologue. Given a free rein, he would wipe out property taxes altogether and jack up the sales tax.
Senators thinks this is nuts. Even Republican senators call it a tax increase.
Senate President Ken Pruitt is a pragmatist who has to count votes more closely than Rubio. . . .
Pruitt also is not viscerally opposed to the size and scope of government the way House leaders are.
Tax relief was one of Gov. Charlie Crist's core campaign promises, and it's a major test of his and his party's ability to lead.
A bad outcome next week, and Republicans will have squandered a golden opportunity.
More on Rubio's cap: "A cap on property assessment increases could cost billions." "Impact on schools worries senators" ("Possible compromises with the House include increasing the annual assessment limit to 7 percent and/or excluding schools.")
More: "On Friday, Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, sent a letter telling senators to return for a 9 a.m. session Monday, adding that the staff had been working feverishly to analyze the fiscal impacts of the House proposal." Pruitt's letter: "Senate to return Monday morning". More: "Talks on tax cuts bear fruit" and "Property taxes keep legislators in knots".
And then there's Charlie: "Crist urged lawmakers to accept a scaled-down tax plan that centers on portability for homeowners who move." "Crist: Accept lesser tax-cut plan". See also "Crist grudgingly OKs cuts".
This says it all: "DNC campaign ban keeps White House hopefuls away". See also "Nelson's Planned Convention Speech Blasts Party, Sanctions" and "Primary Conflict Saps Dems". More: "Frustrated delegates miss top candidates" and "Major Dem candidates to skip state convention".
"U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson told Florida Democrats today the sanctions and candidate boycott against the Florida presidential primary may have hurt the party's chances of winning Florida in 2008." "Nelson Says Candidate Boycott Could Cost Democrats Florida In Presidential Election". See also "Nelson Blisters "Party Bosses"".
"Georgia has no one but itself to blame for its water crisis and Gov. Sonny Perdue's efforts to cut water flow to Florida and Alabama should be summarily rejected by federal regulators." "Don't Let Water-Wasting Georgia Ruin Florida's Apalachicola Bay".
"A new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll give Gov. Charlie Crist a stunning 79% approval rating, but a bare majority of respondents say the state is going in the 'wrong direction.'" "Chamber Poll: 79% Approval For Crist, But 51% Voters Say State Going In Wrong Direction".
Clearly there are benefits in being a "nice guy" who takes responsibility for nothing and has absolutely no leadership skills.
Another Jebacy going down
The Orlando Sentinel joins the editorial board bandwagon: "So Florida avoided the fight over teaching intelligent design, the latest guise for creationism. But at what cost? Since 1996, Florida's students have fallen behind much of the rest of the country and the world in science proficiency." "Overdue change".
"Gov. Crist OK's tuition increase of 5 percent". See also "Crist backs tuition hike".
The News-Journal editors:
It took decades of grassroots organizing, fundraising, pleading and suing to convince the Florida Legislature and United States Congress to restore the "River of Grass" to its natural flow. When in 2000 the federal government authorized $300 million and the state ponied up millions more to begin the massive effort to save the Everglades -- the largest environmental restoration project on the planet -- the world applauded."This is a partnership?". Bushco's original posturing on the Everglades was of course nothing more than a charade to create environmental bona fides for Jebbie.
The partnership was short-lived. First, the state dragged its heels, lowering pollution restrictions to favor farming and development interests in South Florida. Members of Congress balked at releasing federal funds while the state pretended to be serious about saving what President Bush called "this beautiful slice of heaven." But the state soon moved forward, committing more than $3 billion for land purchases and engineering projects critical to the wetlands. And last month Congress for the first time in seven years re-authorized the Water Resources Development Act, which includes $1.3 billion for Everglades restoration. Now Bush is the holdup.
The president says he will veto the authorization, which includes about $22 billion more for coastal restoration and flood control around the country, some $2.4 billion of that for other projects in Florida. . . .
Besides, since when did this president get stingy with a federal dollar? He's racked up the largest deficits in modern times and just asked Congress for scores of billions more for his war machine. Bush's priorities are skewed. . . .
House and Senate leaders predict they have the votes to override a veto. But it shouldn't come to that. Bush promised in 2001 that he would support full restoration. He should sign the authorization and cheer a return to full state and federal partnership. If he's spoiling for a fight over wasteful spending, let him take on military and reconstruction contractors and his own Defense Department for their poor accounting of the billions of taxpayer dollars missing and otherwise squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The [Miami Beach] mayor's race has attracted four candidates, but two -- both veteran commissioners -- are considered contenders for the city's top political job." "Voters set to elect first Cuban-American mayor".
Florida's booming job market
"Officials: Beware bogus job offers".
$113,640 a foot
"Nothing captures the lunacy of our thinking on transportation like last week's announcement that the state would spend $600-million on a 1-mile connector between two highways in Tampa." "Mapping out a wiser course".
Since when . . .
Since when did the Tampa Trib editors become arbiters of good taste (forgive the pun): "Cool It On The Kool-Aid Metaphor".
Someone, anyone ...
"The White House has replaced one temporary U.S. attorney for Florida's Middle District with another. The Justice Department announced Friday that Robert E. O'Neill, the head of the federal criminal division in the Tampa-based office, will serve as the interim U.S. attorney for the next four months. " "U.S. attorney post gets another temp".
Have a cigar
"Under a plan to pump $35 billion into the so-called SCHIP program, federal taxes on cigars would soar from 5 cents to an average of $3 per cigar, an increase of about 6,000 percent. Cigarette taxes would rise 61 cents, to $1 per pack."
In a flame-fanning tirade on Spanish-language radio last week, Díaz-Balart called the tax hike an ''attack on the Cuban-American community.'' He added: ``It would hurt an industry specifically in Miami-Dade, in South Florida, an industry that is almost entirely Hispanic: those who make cigars by hand, which is a cultural tradition. That industry will not survive.''"Tobacco tax clouds debate on kids' health".
T.H and C.W.
"Today, civil-rights activists, church members, Eustis officials and family will honor the longtime NAACP leader with a bronze bust that will go on display at the Lake County Historical Museum in Tavares. The unveiling event starts at 6 p.m. at Lake-Sumter Community College."
T.H. Poole Sr. tells the story with a grin. Decades ago, at a speaking function for Lake County candidates, then-Sheriff Willis V. McCall watched quietly from the audience. The sheriff, known for his tough law-enforcement tactics and controversial views on race, already had been re-elected so he wasn't scheduled to speak."Civil-rights activist Poole to be honored".
But Poole called on him anyway. "I see our sheriff is here with us today," he recalled saying to the crowd. "Why don't you come on up, Sheriff, and say a few words?" McCall, perhaps caught unawares, was about halfway up to the podium when he met Poole, who had extended his arm toward the sheriff.
"My friends told me McCall would never shake hands with a black man," recalled Poole, 80. "Well, he shook mine, in front of all the people who were there."
"Crist appointed Carrie Parker Hill on Friday to replace former Palm Beach County School Board member Bob Kanjian, who was appointed to the county commission earlier this year. Hill, a politically connected South Florida Water Management District official, is a former Boynton Beach city manager." "Governor appoints water district exec to school board seat".
Fix this Jebacy
The Palm Beach Post editors: "In 2001, the couple sued the state, seeking compensation for the years of therapy the brothers - now 13, 14 and 15 - will need."
But that was during the administration of Gov. Jeb Bush, who resisted any attempt to settle such cases, even though the state clearly was at fault. Under a new governor and a new secretary of the Department of Children and Families, the state finally admitted blame, and this week agreed to pay the parents $10 million. ..."Now, make full amends for failing abused boys".
But the Legislature remains reluctant to pay such claims. In this case, the state's own consultant recommended a settlement because the state was "catastrophically destructive" to three little boys. Then there are the parents. Failing to help them would be just as "catastrophically destructive."
Running government like a business
"Florida's juvenile justice chief draws praise. But his degree doesn't. ... McNeil's degree links one of the Florida's top law enforcement officials to a long-festering national problem: the proliferation of degrees from institutions that are widely considered to be questionable. Experts estimate there are thousands of such institutions - and hundreds of thousands of people who have used them to cut corners, pad resumes and, in the view of critics, perpetrate academic fraud." "Degree inspires little faith".