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
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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 Monday, January 03, 2011

"Novice" takes the wheel

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "While his transition teams have issued radical proposals about dismantling public education and growth management, Rick Scott should keep his focus on the issue that won him the election: job creation." "Scott should keep focus on job creation".

    "Whether Scott succeeds or fails will depend on how well, or poorly, a relative political novice can deal with the wide variety of practical and political factors that describe the Florida landscape in 2011."
    The Legislature, for example, is flush with like-minded Republicans – but many will have their own political aspirations, and Scott's delicate allegiance with the Republican Party he regularly bashed throughout the campaign is still untested.

    And the state's budget deficit means there will be no avoiding hard decisions. Florida's constitution requires a balanced budget, and particularly if Scott follows through on campaign rhetoric on cutting taxes, that would mean slashing billions in expenses and dealing with the fallout.

    Scott will have to face those battles without the political alliances typically enjoyed by new governors after he spent more than $70 million of his own money to best the preferred candidates of both major parties, said Lance deHaven-Smith, political science professor at Florida State University.
    Scott is proposing to cut the state workforce by 5 percent, overhaul the pension system for government workers and shrink spending further by privatizing more of the state's corrections and Medicaid systems. But his advisers are also pushing him to increase the state's investment in its ports, tourism marketing and economic incentives to grow businesses and jobs.

    At the same time, Scott remains bullish on cutting taxes - in particular, property taxes and the corporate income tax. He wants, he says, to phase out the latter source of revenue altogether.

    "I would be surprised if he can achieve those tax cuts politically, even though, I realize, the Legislature is controlled by his own party," deHaven-Smith said. "The economy is so bad, the state government is already so lean, it's unclear to me where you'd be able to reduce our commitments."
    "Outsider Scott faces challenges in Tallahassee".

    "Stars from the Sunshine State quickly fizzle"

    Kevin Derby writes that "rising political stars from the Sunshine State quickly fizzle." "History Offers Marco Rubio Lessons, as Florida's Rising Stars Fade Quickly".

    Scott to go after firefighters and cops

    "Days before taking office as Florida's governor, Rick Scott said he is worried that the state's public pension fund, which posted a $16.7 billion shortfall last year, is in even worse shape than the public has been told."

    Scott's forecast of a deeper pension funding hole contradicts the position of the State Board of Administration, which invests $148 billion for more than 1 million current and future retirees and hundreds of state and local government agencies. The SBA's outgoing trustees -- Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink -- said the pension fund was recovering from steep losses it suffered during the recession. ...

    Scott, 58, a political novice who campaigned as a Tallahassee outsider, took several positions at odds with the way business has been run at the SBA. He signaled he would be much more involved than his predecessors in overseeing the fund and that he would be cautious about taking on higher risks in the chase for higher returns. ...

    To restore the pension plan to full funding, Scott is considering everything from closing the defined benefit plan to new hires to raising the retirement age to making employees contribute to the plan. He knows such changes will not be popular.
    "Scott casts skeptical eye on state pension funding".

    "Florida delegation headed for a sharp right turn"

    "After a bruising campaign marked by attack ads and charges of extremism, Sen.-elect Marco Rubio and seven new House members will be sworn into office Wednesday to join a Florida delegation headed for a sharp right turn."

    The new delegation chairman, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R- Ocala, wants to rally Florida members behind Republican proposals to expand offshore oil drilling, scale back the new health-care law, cut taxes and whack spending. ...

    After wresting four seats from Democrats, Republicans will dominate the delegation in the House 19 to 6. Republican Rubio, a darling of conservatives who replaces George LeMieux, will join Nelson in the Senate.
    "Florida's congressional delegation faces tough task in working together". See also "Closer look: Florida's congressional delegation".

    "Scott's ideas are unworkable, counterproductive and poorly thought out"

    "Local educators, who would have to carry out any changes, are much less enthusiastic. 'It's a great idea if you want to do away with public schools,' said Judy Conte, a member of the Volusia County School Board. They say many of Scott's ideas are unworkable, counterproductive and poorly thought out." "Gov.-elect Rick Scott eyes 'game-changing' education overhaul". See also "Teachers, parents set stage for education war" and "Scott's vouchers-for-all plan still has accountability gap".

    Dear Charlie

    Nancy Smith: "Letter to Charlie Crist".

    Right wingers head north

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "The 112th Congress takes office this week. When it does, Florida, and South Florida, will count one of the most diverse and conservative — and influential — delegations in its history." "South Florida GOP leaders must not waste unprecedented opportunity in 112th Congress".

    Ricky's coronation

    "Rick Scott's inauguration festivities begin", "Inaugural Events Mark Dawning of Rick Scott Era" and "Gov.-elect Rick Scott's inaugural kickoff will honor women".


    "Republicans are wasting no time lining up to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. The race will command a national spotlight because President Barack Obama is expected to campaign heavily in Florida for re-election. Among those considering a run:"

    - Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV of Fort Myers, namesake of a former senator.

    - State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, has crisscrossed the state in recent years to elect the largest number of fellow Republican state senators since Reconstruction.

    - Departing Republican Sen. George LeMieux also is mulling a run. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed LeMieux, his former chief of staff, to serve the final 16 months of former GOP Sen. Mel Martinez's term after Martinez retired.
    "News-Journal: Rivals line up to challenge Sen. Nelson in 2012".

    Who sets tuition?

    "A Leon County judge upheld the Legislature’s ability to set tuition for the state’s 11 public universities, knocking down a challenge from former Gov. Bob Graham who thought the Board of Governors should control university costs." "Judge Upholds Legislature Tuition Authority".

    Over GOP objections ...

    "Obama signs Sept. 11 first responders bill".

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