Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
"every political insider should be reading right now."

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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 Sunday, March 30, 2008

You mean it was just a GOTV scam?

    "With the prospect of the Democratic ticket being topped by a black presidential contender, the apology may help Greer's minority-outreach push for Florida Republicans. Greer is actively courting black voters with a party department devoted to the effort, leadership councils and a statewide black Republican conference last fall in Orlando." "Apologies on the agenda at weekend GOP pep rally".


    "State programs are on the chopping block as legislators grimly craft what will end up as Florida's $68 billion state budget this week. " "Lawmakers continue tug-of-war over Florida budget".

    We'll fix it next time

    "The constitutional amendment, which needs a final vote from a state tax panel to be placed on the November ballot, would cut nearly all property taxes that pay for schools and increase the statewide sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent."

    The grocery store cashier, the public school teacher and the young family trying to establish roots in suburbia could lose more of their income to state government under a proposed tax change that would give the state's wealthiest residents the biggest benefit, a Palm Beach Post analysis shows.

    The Post study, based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of personal spending, shows households with the lowest average income - $60,000 or less - would see modest tax increases under a proposed constitutional amendment being prepared for the November ballot.

    Meanwhile, households with higher income could get a tax savings.
    But there's more: you see,

    tax swap would leave a $4 billion hole in Florida's $19 billion education budget. The amendment suggests lawmakers close that gap by removing sales tax exemptions on some goods and services.

    The federal survey of consumer spending shows that poorer households spend a larger portion of their income on sales taxes compared with wealthier families.

    Even by expanding the sales tax base by repealing tax exemptions on services, as the amendment suggests, a one-penny sales tax increase would cost low-income families a bigger share of their paycheck, the analysis shows.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. survey shows wealthier households spend a larger percentage of their income on property taxes.

    That means eliminating the property taxes that pay to operate K-12 schools would erase the sales tax increase for wealthy families.
    "Tax flip benefits richer families". See also "Tax flip benefits richer families".

    Meanwhile, "Florida's business lobby has launched a campaign to torpedo the plan for additional property tax relief that the state's powerful tax commission plans to submit to voters in November. What appears at first like a tax cut, the lobbyists argue, might be a tax swap at best — and may even be an overall tax increase. Business could be the major loser." "Sun-Sentinel: Florida businesses object to plan for property tax cuts".


    "A tax proposal that would go to voters in November has local education leaders worried about whether enough money would go to public schools."

    ''This would be a catastrophic loss to schools,'' said Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade's associate superintendent for intergovernmental affairs. ``This may actually compromise the economic viability of public education in the state of Florida.''

    Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter summed up his mood this way: ``It's like I've run out of panic. What do you do when you run out of panic?''

    The talk of catastrophe stems from a plan, expected to go before voters in November, that would eliminate the state-required portion of school property taxes -- reducing property tax bills across the state by as much as 25 percent.

    The proposed constitutional amendment would require legislators to make up the shortfall in revenue -- most likely through a one-cent increase in the state sales tax and the elimination of current sales-tax exemptions, ranging from dry cleaning to legal fees.

    But the mandated guarantee to keep schools financially whole would apply only to the first year of the changeover, 2010-11.
    "Tax changes fuel fears of funding loss". And it ain't just schools: "Unprecedented Cuts Could Deflate Services" and "Lawmakers push budget cuts, housing bills".

    It must be something the NEA did

    "Economy poor for grads' job hopes".

    "wet-foot, dry-foot"; white foot, brown-foot

    "Nearly 50 undocumented Cuban migrants who landed ashore at Hollywood shortly after midnight Saturday will be allowed to stay in the United States under the existing 'wet-foot, dry-foot' policy, authorities said. Smugglers had brought the 46 migrants from Sagua la Grande, Cuba, near the island's northern coast, according to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Lazaro Guzman." "U.S. policy will permit 46 Cuban migrants to stay".

    Of "double dippers" and very stoopid editors

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board is either plain stupid or willfully ignorant: In complaining that the Florida Retirements System's Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), the dopes write that "elected officials at the state and local levels won't bring public compensation into line with private-sector pay for two reasons. First, the employees and their unions exert heavy pressure during campaigns, and second, the politicians have cut themselves a big slice of the same pie." "Force Government To Rethink Its Generous Pay and Benefits".

    It is scary absurd that anyone with an ounce of brains would say that this Legislature has ever bowed to any labor organization; stoopider still is the editors' claim that state employees receive "generous pay and benefits".

    What kind of Wall-Street-Journal-editorial-board-rock did these idiots crawl out from under?: Just a few days ago Floridians were graced with this news from a librul Tribune Company organ: "Florida ranks last in pay for state employees".

    The The St. Petersburg Times editorial board is a little closer to the mark, recognizing that the Florida Retirements System's "double dipping" problem is a "practice by elected officials", not state retirees generally.

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board nevertheless misrepresents the "problem" to tar all public employees, and to top it off spews the usual Chamber of Commerce garbage: "Public employees deserve competitive pay, not a significantly better deal than everyone else."

    I wonder what this poor dude was making a year: "FHP trooper struck during I-4 traffic stop". You can be damn sure it ain't no "a significantly better deal than everyone else". The The Tampa Tribune editors ought to be ashamed of themselves.


    "Some people call earmarks pork-barrel politics. Others call it bringing home the bacon. U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Indialantic, calls it doing his job." "Weldon lists projects".

    Already lean

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Florida's state court system is already a lean, hardworking justice machine. It operates with roughly half as many trial judges per citizen as other large states — 4.5 judges per 100,000 citizens compared with Texas with 10, for example, or the national average of 7.3 judges."

    Yet this year's budget crisis could, as [Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred] Lewis puts it with all the judicial calm he can muster, "place an arrow through the heart" of this branch of government if lawmakers move forward with across-the-board cuts. A 10-percent slice of the judicial budget could be more painful than with many other agencies because it starts out with just a sliver of the state's $70 billion budget. The state courts system consumes just 0.7 percent of the total, compared, for example, with education at 31 percent.

    Cutting 10 percent of a $483 million budget for one entire branch of government is dire, especially when 80 percent of that goes to the 20 circuit courts.
    "Disorderly lawmaking".

    He's got it all figured out

    Mike Thomas: "How I learned to quit worrying and love nuclear power".

    Problem solved

    "New Law Targets People Who Steal Metal For Scrap".

    Here's an idea: let's tax the expensive wines the swells like to swill?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Raising Florida's cigarette tax would have dual benefits".

    Limbaugh breathes a sigh of relief

    "There is a bill in the state Legislature this year that would save more lives than any other proposal currently before lawmakers, Dr. Rafael Miguel says. It calls for the creation of a statewide database to alert physicians or pharmacists of people trying to dupe them into giving out drugs." "Proposal to monitor prescriptions stuck in Florida Legislature".


    "Florida legislators consider more specialty tags".

    Puffing Gaetz

    "Around the Capitol, the multi­millionaire hospice provider turned school superintendent is known for a hard-driving work ethic that respects Democrats but does not suffer fools or opposing lobbyists lightly." "GOP lawmaker Don Gaetz is rising fast as a state Senate leader".

    Poor things

    "As 48 states jockey for the best hotels and floor seats at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, Florida and Michigan delegates are left noodling on travel websites and wondering if they should risk shelling out plane fare." "Florida, Michigan delegates are seated in limbo".


    "One Florida lawmaker wants to end the annual rites of springing forward and falling back." "A little less light: Fla. lawmaker to end daylight saving time".

    'Ya think?

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board believes that "there is more to be done on the issue of wrongful incarceration. With DNA testing able to demonstrate actual innocence, a reasonable system of automatic compensation needs to be established for prisoners who were undeniably wrongly convicted." "Wrongs still righted too slowly".


    "Republican Hypocrisy And Lunsford Loathing In Cyberspace".


    "Florida's child welfare agency suffers from widespread computer security issues and inconsistent background screening policies, according to an investigation prompted by the arrest of an agency spokesman on child pornography charges." "Review: Inconsistent oversight of workers at child welfare agency"



    "Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, a superdelegate who won't commit to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, criticized both candidates today for refusing to campaign in Florida before the state's disputed Jan. 29 primary." "Mahoney criticizes Clinton and Obama, won't commit to either".

    Yaaaawn ...

    "Despite state's mandate, P.E. 'activities' in Florida create little sweat".

    Poor Randy Schultz, he's "apologizing for all those editorials before the Amendment 1 vote Jan. 29. "

    Among other reasons, we wanted Floridians to reject the amendment because the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission surely would offer something better. Surely these 25 heavy hittters [sic] would take their responsibility seriously and propose real tax reform, not just another perk for all the Save Our Homes lifers like me.

    We were wrong. Last week, it became clear that whatever this supposedly prestigious commission does until it disbands in May, Floridians can't take it too seriously. The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is supposed to propose constitutional amendments or laws that relate to ... taxes and the budget. The commission isn't supposed to settle political grudges. The commission isn't supposed to indulge its own members.

    Yet the commission did both.
    "Voucher vote discredits tax panel".


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