"The idea of increasing fees and imposing new taxes is creating high anxiety in Tallahassee. Many Republican lawmakers signed Grover Norquist's pledge opposing tax increases." Now, there's
palpable anxiety in Tallahassee, where the Republican majority is about to reverse position on a founding principle against higher taxes."Florida lawmakers feel pain over no-tax-hike pledge".
But the pain is most acute for those Republicans who put it in writing. ...
Politicians nationwide have long committed their anti-tax rhetoric to paper by signing Grover Norquist's pledge: ``I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.''
A campaign gimmick, perhaps, but the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is sacred among those who take it and a link to the legacy of President Ronald Reagan, who encouraged Norquist to form Americans for Tax Reform.
In Florida, the Norquist pledge has been a nonissue until now because Republicans have ruled in mostly robust economic times. The boom has become a bust and now the pledge looms in the background, a tiger in hiding.
Meantime, "Florida's lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist are ... ignoring long-term fixes for a tax system that critics call an unfair and antiquated factor in the state's dire fiscal crisis." "Florida's strategy on taxes assailed". The RPOFers just don't get it. See "Tea Party politics?: GOP needs a more positive agenda".
The Tallahassee Democrat's "Legislature Roundup": "The Florida Legislature is in session through May 1. Here are the key issues in the fifth week of session and what's coming up."
"The Republican Party will rebound nationally in the 2010 elections, Florida Attorney Gen. Bill McCollum said Saturday. And under certain circumstances he could be in that election, running for governor rather than his current post. McCollum addressed an audience of 175 Polk Republicans on Saturday evening at their Lincoln Day Dinner held at the Lone Palm Golf Club." "McCollum: GOP Will Rebound Next Year".
A Very Light Breeze, That Is
"Until two months ago, state Rep. Larry Cretul might have blown through Florida's history with the force of a late spring breeze off Orange Lake." "'Accidental speaker' now man of House".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "The challenge is to tailor a deal with the Seminoles that is narrow enough to satisfy federal law but assures Florida compensation. So far only one plan, the governor's, does both." "Governor's compact good bet for Florida".
"The woman is dead serious, folks"
Carl Hiaasen: "Ellyn Bogdanoff, the Fort Lauderdale Republican who chairs the Finance and Tax Committee in the House",
strongly opposes a cigarette tax because fewer smokers would be bad for business."Common sense goes up in smoke".
The woman is dead serious, folks.
In particular, Bogdanoff worries about the impact that a cigarette tax would have on convenience stores -- not exactly the bedrock of our economy, but these are the establishments where most young smokers buy their Marlboros and Camels.
''Twenty-two percent of all sales in convenience stores are cigarettes,'' Bogdanoff said. ``We need to look at everything. If they don't go in to buy cigarettes, they don't buy the Coke. They don't buy the chips.''
And if they don't buy the chips, then they don't buy the beef jerky! God help us!
The citizens of Broward County should feel proud to have a representative who bravely stands up for capitalism at all costs and says to hell with the public's health.
Aaron Deslatte: "Fewer bills are passing than in past years, a reflection of the lack of cash to pay for new programs or services. And that is making it harder for legislative leaders to keep the rank and file in line with their chamber's priorities." "Kill Bill? It's tight-budget lawmaking". Related: "Florida legislators wrestle with taxes, spending cuts".
The Tampa Trib editors: "Central Florida's commuter rail project, SunRail, is in big trouble in Tallahassee. The questionable $1.2 billion deal between the state Department of Transportation and CSX Transportation to buy 61 miles of track near Orlando and divert freight traffic through the center of the state to a new hub in Winter Haven is running out of time. It may not even get a hearing in the Senate." "Central Florida Commuter Rail Fast Running Out Of Steam".
"Tea Party politics"
"On April 15, the deadline for filing federal income tax, "tea parties" will be held in Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as throughout the nation. The participants, mainly Republicans ... ." "Tea Party politics?: GOP needs a more positive agenda".
"Words that once redeemed America"
The Daytona Beach News Journal's Pierre Tristam today:
Homeless camps now sprawl instead of developments. Unemployment numbers are spilling off front pages into our lives. Employers are turning workers into modern-day sharecroppers (every man his own contractor). And next week, as if on cue, marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's novel of foreclosure and dispossession in the 1930s. How timely."Judging from the bestseller list's biggest titles of the past 40 weeks (a novel about one woman's resistance to space aliens and comedian Chelsea Handler's 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea') you'd think Tom Joad's famous last words, in the book and the movie, would themselves sound like alien gibberish to contemporary ears:"
"Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there . . ." Steinbeck took the lines from Eugene Debs, the social democrat and union founder who said, "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal class, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Speak these words today -- words that once redeemed America -- and you're more than likely branded a scumbag, a socialist, a loser, or worse.Read the entire column here; Tristam's website.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "It's hard to believe Florida's legislators only just passed the halfway mark in their session because their complaining seems to have gone on forever. 'We don't have a lot of choices,' cried a representative last week. 'It's painful, it's difficult and it's not over,' whined a senator." "State needs fair budget".
"Little more than a follower"?
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida, which has so much potential to be a leader in renewable energy, may have to settle for being little more than a follower." "Support energy compromise".
Yesterday, "Miami State Rep. Juan Zapata sent this out to fellow House members:"
As you may have heard, I have expressed my discontent with both the nature and process of changes made to the budget recommendations that came out of the Human Services Appropriations Committee. This committee deals with the most needy and vulnerable in our state. ..."Zapata expresses more 'discontent' with Speaker's budget".
Another issue that was reinstated and that I cannot support is the privatizing of the Northeast Florida Hospital. This issue was injected into our recommendation on our Tuesday meeting. I had not heard of this issue before Monday evening, and after hearing the public testimony and appeal of Representative Adkins, it became obvious to every member in the committee that this was not the right thing to do at this time.
"A hectic workload. A young family. And seven cancer surgeries. But Wasserman Schultz keeps going." "Debbie Wasserman Schultz shows steely resolve in grueling cancer battle".
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*Courtesy of Iggy Pop.
Another Fine Idea
"Employees in the public defender and state attorney offices are facing unpaid furloughs — a move that could delay criminal cases in upcoming months." "State attorneys may face furloughs".
"So many politicians stuffed in their pockets ..."
Scott Maxwell "wonder[s] if tourism execs in this town [Orlando] have to use fanny packs to carry their car keys."
Because they have so many politicians stuffed in their pockets, they couldn't possibly have room for much else."In Miami-Dade, for example, county commissioners just unanimously endorsed a plan to start spending hotel taxes on police protection. In Key West, they want to spend more on affordable housing."
The latest examples have local pols bowing to the whims of Big Tourism when it comes to keeping secrets about how tax dollars are spent — and preventing hotel taxes from being spent on things that residents truly crave, such as police protection.
Politicians in other parts of the state are actually finally standing up to the tourism interests.
This makes sense — and is precisely the kind of thing residents have said they want here as well.Much more here: "Why are Orlando-area politicians doormats?".
But in Orange County, commissioners happily parrot the tourism talking points. And that means supporting the current laws that prohibit hotel taxes from being spent on much of anything other than convention centers, sports arenas and tourism promotion.
We literally have schools about to close and a body count in the streets — but golly gee, we've got one of the biggest convention centers in America!
Other states are way ahead of us in terms of thinking of the people who live there. In Las Vegas, hotel taxes are spent on schools. Other places spend them on roads and police.