"Gov. Rick Scott's campaign rhetoric collided with political and economic reality yesterday. It didn't take long." "Scott flunks math test".
"Gov. Rick Scott promised tax cuts for Floridians, but it appears there's no chance of that happening with this year's estimated $4 billion budget shortfall. Scott's plan to deeply cut taxes hit its first snag Wednesday from an unlikely source: Senate President Mike Haridopolos. [How nice of Haridopolos to keep his loyal mouth shut until after Scott used this lie to get elected]. Haridopolos, who once helped assemble a cadre of anti-tax lawmakers to fight spending increases,"
said budget writers in the Senate were "struggling'' to account for a shortfall in tax collections now approaching $4 billion.Recall that
"Tax cuts are not part of our equation at this point,'' said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.
His comments came just a day after Scott told his fellow Republicans in the Senate there was no difference between their agendas.
Tax cuts are an integral piece of Scott's 7-7-7 plan, his campaign promise to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. Those jobs are in addition to the one million new jobs that state economists already expect to come to Florida during the same time."Scott downplays differences on tax-cut plan". See also "Lawmakers question ability to cut taxes".
Scott's plan calls for phasing out corporate income taxes. The 5.5 percent tax rate would be reduced to 3 percent in the first year at a cost to the state of about $835 million.
Scott also wants to cut property taxes by $1.4 billion this year and another $1.4 billion over the next six years.
"And it could get larger still"
"Florida’s budget deficit got a little larger Wednesday, with a state economist adjusting previous projections up slightly to $3.62 billion. And it could get larger still." "Florida’s Budget Hole Deepens to $3.62 Billion".
Ring takes lead in attack on public employee pensions
"Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, said Wednesday he is waiting for facts before he begins crafting legislation on pension reform -- but in the debate so far, both sides claim they have 'facts' on their side." "Pension Reform Debate a Fight Over Facts".
The Rick Scott effect
"Under a new policy created amid political turmoil, fewer city employees will be allowed to speak to reporters." "Miami city manager clamps down reporters' access".
After all, it is her job
"The office of Attorney General Pam Bondi yesterday asked the U.S. District Court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Amendment 6, one of two so-called “Fair Districts” amendments that limit the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts, saying the court lacks jurisdiction in the case." "Bondi asks court to dismiss anti-Amendment 6 lawsuit".
Rod's "unsurprising priorities"
"Newly elected Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith outlined some unsurprising priorities for his party’s shrunken state House delegation Tuesday: rebuilding the party infrastructure at the local level, making sure Florida breaks for Barack Obama in 2012 and keeping Bill Nelson as Florida’s senior senator." "Democrats’ new chair plans to turn party’s fortunes in ‘the most malapportioned state in the South’".
But fraudsters are fine
"The Republican Party of Florida today unveiled its new website, rpof.org, laying out a host of information about the party and its values. Among the party’s platform, according to the site, is a belief in 'equal opportunity for all,' but the text makes no mention of equality for gays and lesbians. ... The lack of recognition for gays and lesbians in the sentence mirrors an executive order Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued immediately after being inaugurated last week." "New Republican Party of Florida website touts ‘equal opportunity,’ doesn’t mention gays or lesbians".
Scott's "delaying job-creation"
"The Florida Senate's Democratic leader says Gov. Rick Scott's 90-day freeze on state contracts is delaying job-creation."
Sen. Nan Rich of Weston on Wednesday called upon the new Republican governor, who ran on a job-creation platform, to lift his hold on $400 million in transportation contracts approved before he took office last week."Democrat asks Scott to end road-building freeze". See also "Gov. Scott defends decision to halt new contracts".
Could it be that Scott wants to ensure that the contracts are awarded to the "right" companies? After all, as Paul Krugman has observed,
Jeb Bush has already blazed the trail. Florida's governor has been an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, "his bold experiment has been a success — at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations.""Victors and Spoils".
What's interesting about this network of contractors isn't just the way that big contributions are linked to big contracts; it's the end of the traditional practice in which businesses hedge their bets by giving to both parties. The big winners in Mr. Bush's Florida are companies that give little or nothing to Democrats. Strange, isn't it? It's as if firms seeking business with the state of Florida are subject to a loyalty test.
So am I saying that we are going back to the days of Boss Tweed and Mark Hanna? Gosh, no — those guys were pikers. One-party control of today's government offers opportunities to reward friends and punish enemies that the old machine politicians never dreamed of.
Your tax dollars at work
"Emotions began to run high during the first-ever meeting of the House Federal Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday, as a line was clearly drawn between Democrats and Republicans over state lawsuits against federal health care reform and new water standards imposed on Florida." "Republicans and Democrats battle over lawsuits against federal government".
St. Johns caucus
"Four months after pledging to use his political clout to help heal the St. Johns River, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, has made good on his promise. As The Florida Times-Union reported earlier today, the caucus met for the first time yesterday in Tallahassee, with 16 legislators from counties that border the river in attendance." "Thrasher makes good on promise to create St. Johns caucus".
Early sign that Scott favors politics and ideology over competence
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Under the Florida Constitution, the nominating commission must send the governor at least three finalists from among the applicants and no more than six. The 4th DCA commission sent four - three judges from Palm Beach County and another from St. Lucie County. All are well-qualified. But Gov. Scott has asked for two more names. More arrogantly, he has asked for all the applications of candidates who didn't make the cut. Commission members will meet Friday to decide how they will respond."
The correct response would be a letter to the governor explaining that the commission has followed the law and will send no more names. Governors overstep in this manner only when they are looking for more ideologically compatible or politically helpful nominees, or are trying to reward political cronies. ..."Slap Scott's hand: He's overreaching on the choice of an appeals court judge.".
Scott's demand is a bad early sign that he favors politics and ideology over judicial competence.
"Republicans cannot sweep it under the rug"
"Anger boiled and lawmakers left dissatisfied with the answers they got Wednesday as senators grilled judges and state officials about the $49 million 1st District Court of Appeal building in Tallahassee." "Senators grill officials about $49-million DCA". See also "Appeals Court on Trial in Senate, Judges Plead Innocent".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The two appellate judges most closely tied with the building of the opulent 'Taj Mahal' courthouse in Tallahassee apologized Wednesday, and the Florida Senate president suggested it is time to move on. But Republican legislative leaders — whose predecessors conspired with the judges to create this scandal — cannot sweep it under the rug."
Meanwhile, the JQC is exploring the nature of the cozy relationship between Hawkes and Thomas and the Peter R. Brown Construction Co., the lead contractor for the courthouse."Scandal far from over".
No political favors ... I swear
"The son of deceased conservative activist and millionaire Ralph Hughes told a federal grand jury Wednesday his father received no political favors for loaning $500,000 to the wife of state Sen. Jim Norman." "Hughes' son testifies on loan to Norman's wife".
I feel safe
"Scott impressed with Fla.'s readiness for hurricanes".
Haridopolos' half-flop foppery
After being tagged by Paula Dockery for "trying to rile up tea party angst" about rail funding ("Haridopolos switch could hurt high-speed rail"), Haridopolos responds with a half-flop. See "Haridopolos open to high-speed rail if private sector antes up".
12 years of RPOF rule
"The homeless population in Florida increased by 11 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a report issued Wednesday. The increase was tied to the state's rising rates of unemployment, house foreclosures and housing-cost burden, which were higher than the national average." "Florida economy blamed for rise in homeless population".
Howard Troxler: "You want more casinos in Florida? Fine by me, on one condition: That they not be a source of money for the government." See what he means: "Gambling to pay for government: 'Our crutch and our drug'". See also "Critics Wager Against Florida Casino Expansion".
When the levee breaks
"The Broward County section of the East Coast Protective Levee fails to meet certification standards for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to an engineering assessment issued late last year. In addition to raising safety concerns, failing to meet those federal standards could lead to inflated flood insurance costs in Weston, Coral Springs, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines and Broward's other western communities." "Report: Levee not up to scratch".