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
"every political insider should be reading right now."

E-Mail Florida Politics

This is our Main Page
Our Sister Site
On FaceBook
Follow us on Twitter
Our Google+ Page
Contact [E-Mail Florida Politics]
Site Feed
...and other resources


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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Sunday, February 06, 2011

Drool-fest in Eustis

    "Scott rolls out his budget Monday before tea partyers, who are sure to cheer."
    Calling for billions in tax and spending cuts, Gov. Rick Scott will unveil a budget Monday that's as much a policy roadmap as it is a sweeping political statement.

    Even Scott's venue for rolling out the budget drips with political symbolism -- a tea party rally he helped establish in the small rural town of Eustis where activists will also celebrate a Florida court ruling against President Obama's health plan.

    Scott's first proposed budget is his best chance to make good on his campaign promise to run government like an efficient business. It also sets the tone of his relationship with the Legislature, which has to turn his plans into a balanced budget.

    The $5 billion question: Is Scott's budget realistic?
    "$5 billion question: How to cut that much from Florida budget". Related: "Charts of Gov. Scott's budget preview".

    "Most of those spending cuts will have to come out of about one-third of the budget — $24 billion — that comes from tax dollars actually collected in Florida. About 80 percent of those dollars now are spent to pay for education and social services. As a result, lawmakers are looking at major cuts for public schools and universities; health care for the poor and disabled; nursing-home services for the elderly; and cutbacks in prisons, courts and other government services used by millions of Floridians. And that's all before tax cuts are even considered." "Gov. Rick Scott's budget cuts may spark fierce fight". See also "After Gov. Rick Scott stages budget rollout, he plays to skeptical lawmakers".

    Report: Florida already is a low-tax state

    The most recent publication by the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy: "The current emphasis in Tallahassee on cutting state taxes obscures important facts about Florida's tax system and about choices available to balance the budget and meet the needs of Floridians."

    Florida is a low-tax state. In addition, the amount paid by corporations relative to total income in Florida is shrinking. Moderate- and low-income taxpayers are paying a greater share of the tax load.

    Despite a budget gap that exceeds $4 billion, Florida's leaders are not considering a balanced approach including closing tax loopholes to fix the budget shortfall.

    Closing loopholes to raise revenues for state needs is an alternative to the path of tax and spending cuts being taken by political leaders this year. Reforming the tax structure would minimize cuts to services and make the tax system more fair.
    "The Facts About Florida Taxes: Among the Lowest in the Nation".

    Meet Nicholas Ruiz III

    Some Florida flavor over at Crooks and Liars: "Blue America Chat With Nicholas Ruiz III", the would be successor to Sandy Adams.

    Another Rivera scandal?

    "In the final weeks before Election Day last fall, the Miami-Dade Republican Party paid $150,000 to a political consultant with close ties to the party's then-chairman, U.S. Rep. David Rivera."

    But party officials cannot explain exactly what they got for the money.

    The party made the payments in October and November to the firm of consultant Esther Nuhfer without any written contract, and the party does not have any detailed invoices of the expenses -- the party's largest expenses in at least six years, records show.
    "Miami-Dade GOP payments lack details".

    GOP to accuse Nelson of being a bibliognost

    "The punch is coming at him in slow-mo:"

    L ... I ... B ... E ... R ... A ... L.

    Even in the earliest moments of his 2012 re-election campaign, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson can see the windup. Twice before Republicans tried to discredit him as a liberal. Twice they failed.
    "Sen. Bill Nelson fights off GOP efforts to tag him a liberal".

    "A familiar refrain from court-bashers"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Now that Florida's new governor is unveiling his policy agenda, and legislators are getting ready to take a crack at it in their annual session, it might be easy to forget there's a third, and equal, branch of state government: the court system."

    Unlike other parts of state government — say, the departments of health, education or transportation — the courts are an independent branch of government. And their mission is critical to every Florida citizen and business: to uphold and interpret the law, protect freedoms, and peacefully resolve disputes. Last year, they handled 4.5 million cases.

    Yet the budget squeeze that legislators have applied to courts in recent years has not only stressed their operations, forcing them to cut nearly 300 staff and to freeze the number of judges, despite caseloads swollen with foreclosures. It also has put judges in a vulnerable position as they carry out their constitutional responsibility to check the power of legislators.

    That vulnerability was apparent last year after a majority of the state Supreme Court's justices removed from the ballot three poorly drafted constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature. Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos accused the justices of "trying to legislate from the bench," a familiar refrain from court-bashers everywhere. House Speaker Dean Cannon called the court's rulings on the amendments "threats to freedom." He then called for a "dialogue" between legislators and the justices.

    Such a dialogue could be one-sided when legislators are holding the purse strings and justices are teetering atop a system already knocked off balance by budget cuts.
    "Courts shouldn't have to grovel for money from legislators".

    We don' need no stinkin' gubment regerlations

    "The troubled school underscores the limits of Florida's charter-school law, which strips away many of the accountability requirements faced by other public schools. Even when charter schools appear to have broken the law or failed their students, they have multiple chances to improve or appeal, a process that can stretch for months or longer. Six months into the school year, there are no computers at Imani. Textbooks are still missing from some classes." "Shut Orange charter school now, its ex-teachers urge".

    "Special interest legislation at its worst"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "A powerful Republican state senator wants to let online travel companies skip collecting some taxes while requiring Florida hotel booking desks to collect them all. This is special interest legislation at its worst, advantaging out-of-state companies over those who hire Floridians. Neither the state's tourism industry nor fellow Republican leaders should stand for it." "For a fair tourist tax".

    "All stick and no carrot"

    Even Mike Thomas, who regularly oils Jebbie Bush's feet, notes that "for all the talk of merit pay in Tallahassee, I have yet to see legislators throw any serious money on the table."

    Their dealings with teachers have been all stick and no carrot. I support merit pay and Bush's reforms, but it's time to show us the ladder to the serious money for top teachers. ...

    There used to be 50 percent turnover among teachers in the first five years. And that was during a time when they had at least modest annual raises. Most teachers haven't had a raise in years. And soon they could be paying 5 percent of their checks into the pension fund. Meanwhile, the pressure to raise test scores is increasing as budgets and supplies are decreasing.
    "Teacher merit pay: Show me the money!"

    Legislator has nuthin' better to do?

    "Critics say bill on 'simulated' obscenity goes too far".

    Voucher madness

    "Scott's advisers propose giving every family nearly $6,000 per child to spend at the school of their choice: Public, private, charter or virtual."

    The idea is bold and -- opponents say -- extreme. The plan has the potential to remake Florida's education system, considered one of the nation's worst a decade ago but gaining in reputation after years of reforms. It would give parents more say than ever before in where their children go to school, and is attracting national attention because it would be the most aggressive voucher program in the country. No state has a universal voucher system.

    Research has shown few benefits from vouchers on student or school performance. But new studies also cast doubt on some of the major criticisms: That private schools would skim the best students while public schools fall apart. Some public schools actually have improved slightly when faced with more competition from private schools.

    Regardless, using taxpayer money to fund private schools -- many of them religious and without the same testing and accountability standards as their public counterparts -- is perhaps the most contentious issue in the nation's ongoing education debate.

    If the idea advances, it may also say a lot about Scott, who ran on a platform of jobs, jobs and more jobs, but has indicated a willingness to consider legislation on a variety of marquee conservative issues.

    Scott's appetite for far-reaching and potentially polarizing changes draws comparisons with former Gov. Jeb Bush.
    "Education proposal would expand on vouchers".

    Pass the tea

    "Freshman GOPer Didn't Know Gov't Pays Her Health Benefits". More: "New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion".

    Race to the bottom

    The right-wingers on the Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Scott's proposal to bring public employees' pension benefits more in line with those found in the private sector." "Scott's pension plan: Promote fairness; cut cost".

    The shameless worker-haters* on theMiami Herald editorial boards join the fray: "Taxpayers due fairness in public pensions".

    - - - - - - - - -
    *"Miami Herald Embarrasses Itself".

    Canaries in the coalmine

    "Dozens of sick raccoons picked up in Fla. county".

<< Home