"The anti-tax sentiment is so strong in Tallahassee that even measures like the Internet tax could fall by the wayside despite the state's need for revenue." "Legislators shy of cash and tax-shy".
"Critics, though, said that in a growing state such as Florida, which leads the nation in the number of residents without health insurance and ranks near the bottom in high-school-graduation rates, the reductions dim any prospects for improvement." "Florida state spending expected to take big hit".
"The quandary over the Florida and Michigan Democratic presidential primaries was the leading topic on the Sunday morning political talk shows, but with no apparent progress." "Do-Over Spurs Talk, Talk, Talk".
"Govs. Jon S. Corzine and Ed Rendell are ready to help raise money for new Florida and Michigan Democratic Party primaries. Corzine, the New Jersey governor, and Rendell, the Pennsylvania governor, both support Clinton." "Corzine, Rendell willing to raise money for Fla., Mich. revotes".
"Dean: Bring me a vote plan". The empty chair chimes in: "Crist: DNC should accept Florida delegates".
Rick Hasen: "Worries About a Florida Primary Do-Over Through Vote By Mail". See also "Mail-in ballot gathers steam for Florida Democratic primary re-do"" and "Dean: Bring me a vote plan".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "If Democratic Party won't seat delegates, it should pay for mail-in vote". See also "Democrats still at odds over Florida delegates".
"Florida voters would be headed to the polls Tuesday if their Legislature had not changed the state's presidential preference primary date 10 months ago." "Election change benefited GOP, but Democrats bummed".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Elected and other top officials are abusing state's DROP program".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "The fight to stomp out predatory lending has always been difficult -- the minute lawmakers target one form of usury, another springs up to take its place. Florida is learning that lesson well: The state has already taken on abusive practices tied to the title-lending industry, which writes loans at triple-digit interest rates secured by borrowers' vehicles. Payday loan companies that also charge huge interest rates are also proliferating, despite state attempts to regulate them." "Florida's debt traps".
The house that "Jeb!" built
"Legislative leaders agreed this afternoon to postpone a decision -- at least temporarily -- on saving $340 million next year by freezing annual increases to Medicaid providers, according to the Florida Health Care Association. The Senate included the proposal, over the strong objection of Democrats and nursing home providers, as part of a package of more than $500 million in budget cuts to the current state budget." And this is a particularly nice touch:
Lawmakers expect more bad news tomorrow when state economists are expected to predict that tax collections are $900 million less than previously expected. Legislative leaders were expecting to reduce the approximately $70 billion budget next year by $2.5 billion, but the cuts may have to go even deeper ... ."Legislative leaders postpone Medicaid decision".
Marco, why not try the Marine Corps
"As his popularity appears to plummet, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez could face a challenge from Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who's not ruling out a run for mayor and whose poll numbers suggest he would be a strong candidate. 'I haven't made any decisions about anything,' Rubio said Friday when asked if he would challenge Alvarez. 'I'm just so focused on being speaker. To start answering questions like that invites lots of other questions.' But Rubio acknowledges he has been asked to run by supporters, who have been bolstered by a new survey from Florida International University's polling institute suggesting Alvarez is at his politically weakest point." "Rubio backers urge run for Dade mayor".
And they will ...
"Businesses hope to feel the love from legislators".
"A local state lawmaker who is pushing Florida to adopt an 'academic freedom' law -- one that would protect teachers who are critical of evolution -- has invited members of the Florida House to a private screening of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The controversial documentary, staring Ben Stein, is supported by the Discovery Institute, which advocates for Intelligent Design and has been pushing for academic freedom laws to protect those who share its views. The invitation to see Expelled on Wednesday was sent to all members of the House by Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, according to his legislative aide." "Ben Stein's 'Expelled' stirs up Florida's anti-evolution forces".
Pain? No gain (at least for Mr. Happy Face)
"With Florida government facing a $2.5-billion budget deficit next year, a major philosophical split has emerged among Republicans in Tallahassee. Gov. Charlie Crist wants to minimize spending cuts by raiding the state's $5.5-billion piggy bank, where multiple pots of cash are stored, mostly for emergencies or for specific uses." "$5.5-billion temptation".
"Unless more money is found"
"Environmental groups say that unless more money is found, the Marion County property and others could be lost to development. The groups want the state to buy additional land for conservation as soon as possible, especially since many landowners are eager to sell in tough economic times." "Advocates ask state to buy up acreage".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Cities and counties in Florida have a valuable tool for rebuilding struggling urban neighborhoods. They create so-called 'community redevelopment areas' and funnel the taxes generated as the place rebounds back into the community - paying for new roads, street lights, parks and other improvements that continue the cycle of attracting new investment. It is a public-private partnership with a distinguished record in Florida. Cutting it even in healthy times would be self-destructive. Doing so in a down economy is flat reckless." "Urban tax plan works; save it".
Unions are the root of all evil
The Palm Beach Post editorial board wants everyone to know that they can bash unions with the best of 'em:
Enter the firefighters union with the bright idea of shifting the burden to the sales tax. House Bill 891, sponsored by Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, and its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, would require a county commission to place the matter before voters. But this proposal would be more about helping a politically powerful union than promoting good government."Fire-rescue sales tax? Extinguish that idea".
Firefighters work hard to elect friendly candidates. For sponsoring the wrongheaded bill, Rep. Vana undoubtedly will receive their support when she runs this fall for the Palm Beach County Commission. There also will be something in it for Sen. Fasano. There isn't much in it for anyone in Florida who isn't a firefighter or a politician.
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Florida needs the best from its legislators, and the burden is even higher for lawmakers like Dawson, whose district includes a larger number of poor and working-class citizens who rely on government services. Dawson has proven to be a fighter, but if her health is that much of a concern, she'd do her constituents, and more importantly herself, a favor by resigning from office." "Mandy Dawson".
Just keep your hands off my intangibles ...
"For six years, state legislators abruptly turned on their heels when they saw Brenda Olsen of the American Lung Association in the Capitol. Now, with the state facing a more than $2 billion budget shortfall, Olsen's push for Florida to increase its notoriously low cigarette tax by at least $1 has gained some allies." "Legislators may raise state's low cigarette tax".