Stupid is as stupid does:
Speaking before the annual legislative planning session for reporters and editors from around the state, Scott reiterated that his spending proposal to lawmakers would stay true to his campaign promises to slash property taxes $1.4 billion and start phasing out the corporate income tax to the tune of $700 million."Gov. Rick Scott warns of austere state budget ahead".
That $2.1 billion tax cut – presuming it is fully paid for in the first year, which was his campaign pledge – would come in addition to the $3.6 billion shortfall Scott's budget-writers must close.
"State authorities said Thursday they are investigating financial dealings by South Florida U.S. Rep. David Rivera, who failed to report loans from his mother's gambling-related marketing company before the election. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Spokesman Keith Kameg said his agency is leading the investigation involving the freshman Republican congressman." "Fla. probes finances of Rep. Rivera".
Unemployment numbers coming
"Florida awaits new unemployment figures".
After all, they own them
"If the businesses that make up the Florida Chamber of Commerce are a little excited about the 2011 legislative session, it’s with good reason." "Florida Chamber Looking Forward to Promising Legislative Session".
RPOFers breathe sigh of relief
"Septic Tank Inspections Delayed Six Months".
Defined benefit recipients at work
"Two Miami-Dade police officers were shot and killed in a gunfight with suspects as they tried to serve a warrant for a violent fugitive in a Miami home Thursday morning." "Two Miami-Dade officers shot and killed while serving an arrest warrant".
RPOFer short list
"Mike Grissom, a veteran GOP operative, is a leading candidate to be the state Republican Party's new executive director, informed sources tell Sunshine State News." "State GOP Director List Shrinks".
Cannon just doesn't get that separation of powers thingy
"While professing not to have a concrete plan just yet, House Speaker Dean Cannon said Thursday that his chamber would try this year to strengthen the Legislature's hand in proposing changes to Florida's constitution." "House speaker wants to restrict high court's powers".
"More than just extremism run amok"
Scott Maxwell: follows up on his previous piece about "freshman legislator Jason Brodeur's far-out idea to arrest and fine doctors who ask their patients questions about gun safety."
Based on the overwhelming response — from everyone from pediatricians to die-hard gun lovers — most people agreed that, if this idea were any fringier, it'd be hanging on the curtains."Doctors: This gun bill could be downright deadly".
But now another group of doctors has raised a new concern that Brodeur's proposal may be more than just extremism run amok … it could also be deadly.
Daniel Ruth: "to ensure the state's penchant for turning incredibly insane ideas into laws, this year's Legislature, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association, promises to add even more unhinged gun bills to the books to make it easier for people to kill each other."
But this is Florida, the Gunshine State, where barely conscious yahoos can arm themselves right up to the drool. The Florida Legislature seems hellbent on turning the state into something out of The Wild Bunch. "More madness in gun-happy Florida".
How to say nothing in 140 characters or less
"Governor reaches out via Twitter". See also "Gov. Scott's Twitter town hall", "Update: Questions and answers from Gov. Rick Scott’s Twitter ‘town hall’", "Gov. Scott hosts Twitter town hall" and "Rick Scott on Twitter has the answer in 140 characters or less".
Scott's "new board of directors"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board points out that "Rick Scott didn't exactly have a warm relationship with the press during his campaign for governor. There's nothing wrong with that: Politicians aren't required to get along with journalists and vice versa. But now that Scott is in the governor's office, he needs to keep open lines of communication with Floridians as he develops policies, deals with the Legislature and presides over the executive branch."
But journalists are raising more substantive questions about Scott's approach to controlling access to events such as receptions and dinners that include legislators. Under the state's Sunshine Law, these gatherings may be considered a public meeting. Scott and his staff have limited the number of reporters allowed at these events, even when space was not an issue. And, in one instance, an editor said the governor's staff tried to control his news organization's decision on assigning a reporter. The governor apparently didn't know that, as a matter of journalistic ethics, editors don't allow public officials to pick and choose the reporters who cover them. This was a serious blunder that will set off alarm bells in newsrooms across the state.Much more here: "Scott should loosen press restrictions".
These missteps may reflect Scott's lack of familiarity with the requirements of public service. His background in the private sector didn't prepare him for the level of public scrutiny he will receive -- and should receive -- as governor of the nation's fourth-largest state.
Scott can't run Florida like a business. He will have to operate in the public realm, explaining and defending his actions and building support for his proposals. Any hint of secrecy or evasion will remind the public of his promises of transparency and undermine trust in his administration.
The governor says he wants to concentrate on fulfilling his promise to put Floridians back to work. There's no reason he can't do that in an open and transparent way, inviting the state's citizens -- his new board of directors -- to assess his performance.
More from the Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Open up, governor".
Return to sender
"Miami-Dade County must repay $3.6 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money because the county can't show auditors the money was properly used." "Dade must repay $3.6M in HUD funds".
Marco ready to ditch Teabaggers?
"New Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is at the center of an impending struggle between established Republican leaders and the Tea Party faction in the U.S. Senate." "Tea Party and McConnell both tugging at Rubio".
"Nelson, Rubio plan to sit together during State of the Union speech".
"As public schools in Florida brace for big budget cuts next school year, key state lawmakers will consider allowing local districts to keep charging an optional property tax introduced two years ago. The idea, being researched by a state Senate committee, could generate tens of millions of dollars in a year when school districts are expecting to lose billions." "School budget cuts may revive local-option tax".
"Less than three months into their legislative careers, four Republican freshmen House members are already jockeying to become speaker of the House in 2016." "House Freshmen Eye Speaker Post".
RPOFers say no to HCR
"Florida’s congressional delegation, like the overwhelming majority in the U.S. House, broke on party lines when the new Republican majority voted Wednesday to repeal the federal health care bill enacted in 2010 with the support of President Barack Obama. Those divisions filtered down at the state level as Republicans in Florida praised the repeal measure, while Sunshine State Democrats continued to back Obama and the health care laws." "Partisan Divide on Health Care Repeal Trickles Down to Florida".
"HIV/AIDS medication funding crisis"
"Officials: Florida ‘very close’ to a solution to HIV/AIDS medication funding crisis".
West makes his mark
"Bill to delay ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal introduced in House, Reps. Miller, West sponsor".
"Jeb!" tripping over his own drool
"Former Gov. Jeb Bush has established himself as a national leader on education [among the knuckle-draggers], with policies he developed in Florida spreading to other states. With his agenda once again ascendant in this state, he recently laid out some of his ideas for a libertarian media outlet."
In a video posted Wednesday as a precursor to National School Choice Week (which begins Jan. 23), Bush tells Nick Gillespie of Reason that one of his top school-reform priorities is “applying digital learning as a transformative tool to disrupt the public education system.”"Jeb Bush discusses using digital learning to ‘disrupt’ education ‘monopolies’".
Bush describes the nation’s system of school districts as thousands of little monopolies, and talks about the possibility of creating electronic suites of course materials, stored by the thousands in digital libraries and marketed around the country.
"A group of Florida lobbyists, along with agriculture and industry executives, are once again pushing hard against EPA water quality rules, using cost estimates written in part by potentially affected industries to make their case." "In letter blasting water quality rules, Associated Industries of Florida cites studies paid for by polluters".
Raw political courage
"Senator wants to bring back sales tax holiday this year".
How things work
"David Browning, a well known Florida political fundraiser and consultant, has joined the powerhouse lobbying firm of Southern Strategy Group." "Top GOP fundraiser joins powerhouse lobbying firm".
"Staving off shortsighted cuts to education"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board whines about "Florida not getting its fair share", complaining that "there is another discussion Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders should be having: how Florida can collect its fair share of federal money. Every dollar from Washington could help stave off shortsighted cuts to education and other areas."
A new report from Florida TaxWatch is a reminder of what's been true for a least a dozen years. Florida remains a donor state, with residents sending more tax money to Washington than the state proportionately receives in federal grants for transportation, education, Medicaid and other functions. The nation's fourth-largest state ranks 33rd when it comes to grants received per taxes paid.If you read the TaxWatch report (.pdf) carefully, you see that it "analyzes only federal grant expenditures to state and local governments. It does not include other formsof federal aid such as loans, tax relief, or grants to individuals, profit or non-profit organizations, Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), or payments for services rendered."
One gets a decidedly different result if you look at the total picture, as the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has done over the years; they consider "all categories of federal taxes, including income taxes on individuals and businesses, social insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties and all other taxes, are tabulated and the total tax burden of each state is determined. This figure is compared to the flow of federal funds back to each state, bringing the two sides of federal fiscal operations together." ("Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures by State").
A look at the complete picture shows that "Southern states have been benefiting from Northern taxes for years." Do Southern Senators Really Want to Start a New War Between the States?
Your tax dollars at work
"Charter schools typically receive a mixture of public and private money and operate free of many regulations that govern traditional public schools in exchange for achieving promised results." "Charter schools expand with public, private money".
Out here in the fields
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Since farmworkers are an integral part of Florida's agricultural industry -- there are an estimated 250,000 laborers statewide -- their welfare should also be taken into account when a disaster is declared. As it is they have few resources to turn to when their work literally withers on the vine because of the cold." "Send help for farmworkers, too".