McCain bumps Giuliani for Florida lead
"McCain has nudged into the lead of a close four-way Republican primary race in Florida, and Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken command of the Democratic campaign, according to a statewide [Research 2000] poll released on Thursday." "Statewide poll shows Clinton, McCain ahead in primary race". See also "Full report: Florida poll results (PDF)".
Florida's Save Our Homes amendment has helped the state's wealthiest homeowners the most, and voter approval of a property tax amendment on Jan. 29 would magnify the benefits for owners of expensive homes, two university professors conclude in a new study."Study: Save Our Homes aids rich most". Perhaps that is one of the reasons those commie "Unions rally against property tax amendment".
The St Pete Times editors: "This is a tough time to argue against property tax cuts for Floridians. Unemployment is rising, home sales are plummeting and the state is flirting with an economic recession. But Amendment 1 is not the answer, and voters should reject it and send a strong message to Tallahassee that they want property tax reform that is thoughtful and fair." "Amendment 1 makes system worse".
In the meantime, "Despite strong opposition from businesses, a powerful tax panel Thursday supported a historic tax shift, potentially saving homeowners billions of dollars a year by taxing services." "Panel backs proposal to slash home taxes". Good luck. They'll need it.
They wrote it
You can't make up headlines like this:
State educators set to vote on evolution'Nuff said.
Young wants to get old on our nickel
"Republican Party officials in Washington and at home confirmed that U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, 77, has told them he will run for re-election." "Young To Seek 20th Term" ("As of Thursday, no Democratic challenger has filed to run for the office.") See also "Young to seek a 20th term".
Charlie's smoke and mirrors
Here's a brilliant idea*, cut taxes via amendment 1 and at the same time increase spending on schools: "Crist wants more money for schools".
Well, there's a catch: you see, "the spending package relies on local school districts to collect an additional $337.8 million in property taxes next year to pay for the hikes. Under that plan, if property values continue to decline as they have the past couple of years, school boards might have to raise their tax rates." See also "Crist hopes new education spending will boost support of tax measure".
How long are Floridians going to put up with Charlie's smoke and mirrors? See also "Crist proposes $33.5 billion for education" and "Crist proposes spending increases for education".
Sounds a lot like the GOPer's silly "Laffer Curve", referred to in this New York Review of Books piece by Jason Epstein as "the crackpot theory that led Ronald Reagan to believe that huge tax cuts in federal taxes would lead to federal surpluses, when the actual outcome proved to be a cumulative deficit of $3.5 trillion." More "Marco's Muse".
The Florida RPOF's "K Street project"
"State Senate Democrats say some GOP members are threatening lobbyists":"The Democratic leader of the Florida Senate on Thursday accused unnamed Republicans of threatening political reprisals against lobbyists who back the wrong man in a hot Senate race, but the GOP's incoming Senate president called the charge "utter nonsense" and challenged the Democrats to prove it"
Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, said he and Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, have been told by lobbyists that they were bluntly warned not to support former Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, D-Fort Lauderdale, in his race against Senate President-designate Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach. Campbell, who lost a 2006 bid for attorney general, announced his candidacy in the Palm Beach-Broward district this week.Imagine that.
"Confusion is swirling around the upcoming vote on property tax relief over whether the proposal would end the state's coveted Save Our Homes exemption. The answer is Save Our Homes remains unchanged. " "Tax referendum won't affect home exemption".
Rudy scrambling in Tally
Rudy loves to wave the 9-11 flag, but
there's one key detail [Rudy] won't clearly explain: Why firefighters on 9/11 had the same faulty radios that failed them in 1993, when the World Trade Center was first attacked. ['The 9/11 Commission noted the radio issue, but said the system's failure wasn't total and was a contributing -- but not the only -- cause of firefighter deaths.']"Giuliani: Bad radios not my fault". For more on Rudy's visit to Florida see "Giuliani stumps in Tallahassee" and "Giuliani hits Florida hot buttons".
When asked about the issue Thursday at an Associated Press appearance, Giuliani suggested it was an insurmountable technological hurdle that couldn't be cleared in his eight years in office that began Jan. 1, 1994, and ended just after 9/11.
Giuliani also scuttled his usual references to himself and ''my city'' in his answer, and shifted the focus to his successors, suggesting ''they'' in ''the city'' failed.
''A new [radio] system was purchased. And they tried to put the new system in. And they weren't able to accomplish it. That happened about five or six months before Sept. 11. It took them another three or four years to accomplish it,'' Giuliani said. ``But the point that I'm making is: I could not have gotten it done in six months. The city wasn't able to get it done in a three- or four-year period after that.''
The issue has begun to dog Giuliani on the campaign trail as the Democratic-leaning International Association of Fire Fighters dispatches 9/11 firefighters and families of victims to Florida events to highlight what they say is Giuliani's poor and distorted record on 9/11.
I missed that concert
"Lieberman a rock star at Dade deli".
Making a "mess"
The Tampa Trib editors: "The Florida Legislature has made a mess of the citizens' initiative process. The system is now more burdensome for citizens groups seeking to change the state constitution and more chaotic for local elections supervisors." "Lawmakers Need To Reform Citizens' Initiative Process".
The Sun-Sentinel editors argue that South Florida Water Management District officials "flying from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach? Flying from one Miami airport to another just 20 miles away? Jumping on a helicopter to attend a Women's History Month event or a barbecue?" "Water Management District flights too excessive".
"Election jurisdictions such as Palm Beach County that have switched from electronic to voter-verifiable paper ballots in the past year would be eligible for full federal reimbursement of their costs under a bill introduced Thursday in Congress." "Bill would reimburse counties for switching to paper ballots". See also "Paper ballots could pay off for counties, states".
Jebbie lifts his nose from the trough
"The debate over Miami-Dade County's slot machine proposal grew from a whisper to a shout this week, with pro-slots ads hitting the airwaves and the staunchly anti-slots former governor, Jeb Bush, finally stepping into the fray."
''As I did two years ago when I was governor, I am urging all of my fellow Miami-Dade residents to join me in voting no on Jan. 29 so that we may continue to protect our community and our families,'' Bush wrote. ``Expanded gambling will only serve to erode our traditional industries, the industries we aspire to have and our very social fabric.''"Big names line up for, against slots".
The former governor, largely credited with defeating the same issue in 2005 with a weeklong blitz of his home turf, will once again fight the measure, according to Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina. Robaina said Bush will be filming ads and making calls, among other anti-slots efforts.
What's next? Company script?
"Florida's median wage is $28,570, or about $3,000 less than the national average. In contrast, the median price of a home is about $222,100, or about $14,000 more than the comparable national figure."
What that means is that the dream of owning a home is out of reach for many Floridians ...In Orange County alone,
most homes were far out of the price range of 75 percent of all Orange County residents.But is this the solution?: "to build their own low-cost housing" for government employees:
School districts are not alone in their search for homes employees can afford. Municipal leaders, too, have been trying to figure out how to make it easier to keep police, firefighters, nurses and others from fleeing to cheaper locations.The usual suspects don't like such programs for the usual piggish, narrow-minded reasons; for example, the president of a Florida "Landlords Association" (those meetings must be a joy to attend),
thinks the officials are making a mistake. The school district[s] shouldn't be using taxpayer money to subsidize housing, he said.A more sober view is offered by one Carl Howard, who "has taught school for six years, earned a master's degree and almost has his Ph.D. But he still can't afford to buy a house in Orange County."
"Educate my children; don't house teachers," he said. "Let the market take care of that."
Howard bristles at the idea of subsidized housing."School districts trying to build affordable housing for staff". Hmmmm ... Mr. Howard might be on to something there?
"We should not have to live in dorms," the Orange teacher said. "Just put it all in a good solid base [salary] package instead of nickel-and-diming us to death," he said.
"Petitions for the 1.35 percent tax cap plan, modeled after California's Proposition 13, are rolling in and emboldening supporters who think the proposal on the Jan. 29 ballot is weak in comparison. ... It would take a miracle to get the 611,000 petitions (and they can't all come from Miami-Dade) by the end of the month. But the group is going to try. Volunteers will fan out across the state on primary day to gather more support." "Alternative tax plan gains support".