In a giving mood? Consider Joe Garcia, and Annette Taddeo.
"Crist's newfound support for a property tax cut on the November ballot clashes with a pledge his office made to constituents just six months ago."
In February, Crist's chief economist sent letters to at least a dozen constituents on Crist's behalf, saying, "The governor is not supportive of increasing sales taxes, either by repealing exemptions, or by raising the rate, even if the revenues are used to lower property taxes.""Crist aide had barred support for a tax hike". See also "Crist pitches new property-tax amendment to voters in 'state of distrust'" and "Crist: Tax swap will help the economy".
But that is exactly what Amendment 5 would do. Crist for the first time Monday said he would work to help pass the measure.
"While the numbers don't yet show that the Amendment 1 property tax reform created the economic 'sonic boom' he promised, Gov. Charlie Crist has thrown his support behind Amendment 5, the proposal to replace school property taxes with higher taxes elsewhere. It will be on the Nov. 4 ballot."
Once again, Crist is describing the concept — it would eliminate roughly 25 percent of any property owner's tax bill in return for higher sales taxes and perhaps spending cuts — as steroids for Florida's sluggish economy."Survey: Florida's proposed property tax amendment not popular". See also "Crist supports swapping school property tax for increased sales tax".
The public, though, might be a harder sell this time.
A Florida Chamber of Commerce survey of 1,600 registered voters released Tuesday found only 40 percent supported the concept, while 40 percent opposed it. Constitutional amendments require 60-percent approval to pass.
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist has demonstrated he can persuade voters to cut their taxes, but Amendment 5 is a different animal. It is a tax swap, not a cut, and it only hints at how the budgetary hole in public education would be plugged. If the governor's support for Amendment 5 is sincere, he needs to tell voters how he would fill in the blanks." "Tax swap leaves too many loose ends"
"Florida's continuing economic woes could soon prompt Gov. Charlie Crist to dip into either the state's post-hurricane recovery fund or its health care endowment to pay for state operations this year." "Governor may tap reserves".
"Empty political rhetoric in a state facing a fiscal eclipse"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "If excellence ever is to become more than empty political rhetoric in a state facing a fiscal eclipse, political and business leaders must finally come to grips with the need for substantive revenue reform — not faux solutions in the form of constitutional amendments that falsely promise economic turnarounds." "Fiscal eclipse?". The Palm Beach Post editorial Board asks "How bad is Florida's economy?" "One 'R' word, recession, to another: Recovery?".
Hill in Fla.
"The favorite presidential candidate of Democratic voters in Broward County and the rest of South Florida — Hillary Clinton — will make a campaign swing to the area on behalf of Barack Obama in the week before the Democratic National Convention. She will be in South Florida on Aug. 21, said Bobby Gravitz, the Obama campaign's South Florida communications director." "Hillary Clinton to visit South Florida to campaign for Obama".
Never mind the black thing
"Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has apologized for a Friday incident that denied access to a Tallahassee Democrat reporter."
Senior Writer Stephen Price, asked to leave an area restricted to national reporters while other state reporters remained, got a personal apology from McCain's campaign Tuesday evening."McCain campaign apologizes to reporter". Background: "Black reporter booted from McCain rally".
Price was the lone black reporter among the media in the area at a Panama City rally on Friday.
"The plan is deceitful in a variety of ways"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Last week, just before the start of the official summer recess, a group of senators floated a plan to lift a ban on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf in return for repeal of tax breaks for oil companies and spending $20 billion on alternative-fuel research. Apparently, the people of Florida would have no say in this. The plan is deceitful in a variety of ways. " "The drilling hoax".
"State-run Citizens Property Insurance has begun notifying more than 350,000 residential policyholders with wind-only coverage that they must re-apply for insurance." "Citizens Insurance wind-only policyholders may have to re-apply".
tThe Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Cover Florida, a new low-cost health insurance plan Gov. Charlie Crist says will address the problem of the uninsured, looks like a dud before it gets out of the gate. Chalk up health insurance as yet another complex problem for which Crist developed a Band-Aid solution." "Crist's Health Insurance Plan Falling Apart Before It Starts".
"The bursting of the Florida real-estate bubble now has a price tag: $153 billion. That's the loss in market value of all Florida properties, from houses to businesses, between 2007 and 2008." "Real estate bust cost: $153B".
"On the ground"
"Democrat Barack Obama may raise more money and may draw bigger crowds, but Republicans will have a better Florida organization to get out votes for John McCain, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said while visiting the state Tuesday." "GOP chair: Florida will be won on the ground".
"Public deserves transparency as cities bid for a business"
The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board on "the overly generous exemption from disclosure offered private companies or even individual investors negotiating with state or local governments about economic-development possibilities, such as a company's relocation. The exemption is offered even though the negotiations between the private company and the government entity are usually predicated on direct taxpayer support. A local government may offer to discount or defer taxes to lure a company, or offer other kinds of incentives like infrastructure improvements. What it usually adds up to is making public money available for private gain, which in turn trickles down to some public benefit in the form of jobs, a diversified tax base, and better-paid consumers who buy local products." "Mystery company".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "More surprising than seven-term Rep. Dave Weldon's decision to leave Congress are the plainly visible cracks in the conventional wisdom concerning his successor."
Republican state Sen. Bill Posey no longer appears, hands-down, the most qualified candidate to take Mr. Weldon's place among the candidates contesting the sprawling 15th district."The race to succeed Rep. Weldon isn't a forgone conclusion".
Among the three Republicans running, yes, he does.
But Democrat Paul Rancatore deserves a very close look. He's an expert on NASA who's eager to increase access to health care and is the better of two Democrats running.
"Florida's budget-strapped universities may deteriorate in quality as other states siphon off the most talented faculty, a top education official says." "State university leader wants to fight loss of talented faculty".
8 cent error
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Mr. Williams deserves the mocking. He's the Palm Beach County School Board candidate who's trying to have five other candidates - including Ms. Sturmthal - kicked off the ballot for making an 8-cent error when they paid filing fees to run for office. 'How can we hold our kids to the FCAT standards if these people can't do the math and do the writing,' Mr. Williams asked, proving that he can be as petty and pointless as those FCAT standards. The candidates who paid $1,635.40 instead of $1,635.48 were relying on an incorrect memo and/or verbal instructions from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office." "The real election deficit".