"Scott will unveil his spending blueprint at a private luncheon of Tea Party activists, then at a Tea Party rally Monday afternoon in Eustis [in Lake County], a small Central Florida city that's about 190 miles from his Capitol office in Tallahassee. As many as 7,000 people have indicated they'll show up, organizers say." "Gov. Rick Scott to present budget proposal at Eustis Tea Party rally".
"Scott's plan to compel public employees ... to kick in as much as 5 percent of their paychecks into their pensions is causing quite a bit of angst."
This is particularly true of teachers, who traditionally earn modest salaries offset by a broad benefits package, but also state workers, many of whom have not received pay raises in years."Battle shaping up over pension proposal". See also "Scott unveiling Fla. budget plan at tea party bash".
The proposal is included in the budget that Scott will unveil Monday at a rally of tea party supporters in the Lake County community of Eustis.
Employees say the pension measure is the equivalent of a pay cut.
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".
"Like Jeb Bush, Scott is given to hyperbole"
Randy Schultz: "On Monday, when Gov. Scott announces his budget, expect to hear the word "bold" or something like that. Maybe more than once. Like Jeb Bush, Rick Scott is given to hyperbole."
Whatever the language, it takes money. Investment. Bringing people who will bring big research grants that bring big innovations, all of which brings jobs in big numbers."Can Florida engineer the state's new economy?".
Gov. Scott focuses on taxes and regulations, and you don't want to be a state that repels companies because of either. But Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley in high-tax California, where politics seem to incubate in the faculty lounge at Berkeley. Massachusetts has been called Tax-achusetts, but it has MIT, Harvard and all the other universities in and around Boston, a cluster that created the Route 128 Corridor, the Bay State's Silicon Valley.
Jeb Bush likes the label "education governor," but focusing education on a standardized test wasn't "bold." It was dumb.
"A proposal touted by Gov. Rick Scott to radically expand school vouchers is unlikely to gain any traction in the state Legislature anytime soon, key lawmakers say." "Legislators unlikely to act on Scott's plan to expand vouchers".
See you in Havana
"Florida airports preparing for demand for flights to Cuba".
Florida's shameful rate of uninsured kids
The Sun Sentinel editors: "The Washington-based health policy reform foundation's analysis ranked how well states and the District of Columbia guaranteed that kids receive effective health care. Rankings were based on things like state insurance-coverage rates, infant mortality and childhood obesity rates."
Over the past decade, a significant national expansion in children's health coverage reduced the number of states saddled with uninsured-kid rates of 16 percent or more from 11 to three. Florida's among the lagging trio with a shameful uninsured rate of 17.8, trailing only Texas' 18 percent."Florida rates poorly on national survey of children's health needs".
This, courtesy of the free-market "values" crowd, that has controlled Tallahassee for more than a dozen years.
Ricky's "questionable" corporate tax giveaway
"If Gov. Rick Scott succeeds in phasing out Florida's corporate income tax, it will mark a fundamental shift in the philosophy that has guided the state's tax policy for the last 40 years."
Florida voters approved the tax in 1972, after then-Gov. Reubin Askew had promoted it as a way to help shift the financial burden from everyday citizens to corporations while providing more money for important state programs like schools.Much more here: "For Florida firms, a reversal of tax fortune?".
Now Scott is pushing to eliminate it, saying the tax is a drag on business and job growth. He frames it as part of a relentless initiative to reduce taxes, government spending and regulations and make Florida the top economic development state.
"No company in this country is even going to consider doing business in another state," Scott said last week as he promoted his tax-cutting plans.
Scott will reveal his tax-cutting plan details along with the rest of his 2012 spending plan today. But in general, he wants to phase out the 5.5 percent corporate income tax over the next seven years, starting with a 2.5 percent cut this year. Scott contends that will help the more than 1 million jobless Floridians by generating economic growth.
But the cuts would exacerbate a shortage of cash for education, transportation and health care programs. And it is questionable how much eliminating the corporate tax would do to revive the economy.
That makes me feel better
"Stearns leading investigation into health care waivers".
Webster at the federal trough
Well, that didn't take long: Grayson slayer, Dan Webster wants to make it easier for Floridians to dip their snouts into the federal trough. "U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster is among those who want to ease the red tape that often accompanies federal money".
Chambers of commerce have "lost their way"
Scott Maxwell writes that "on the national, state and even regional level, the big chambers [of commerce] have lost their way, becoming little more than a tool for corporate America, advancing agendas that come at the expense of the middle class — and sometimes even the small businesses they claim to represent."
The best example at the state level involves Fair Districts — the popular amendments that Floridians overwhelmingly passed last year. Not only did the Florida Chamber of Commerce oppose Fair Districts in principle, it actually funded the opposition."Are mainstream values bad for big business?"
You'd be hard-pressed to argue that it did so on behalf of Main Street USA. ...
The list of chamber-backed issues at odds with most of Main Street America continue at all levels.
In Tallahassee, the Florida chamber wants to shift more of the property-tax burden on to homeowners and make it easier for development to encroach into rural areas.
And at the federal level, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fighting one of the few immigration-reform ideas to receive widespread public support: requiring businesses to electronically verify the status of their hires.
That's right. It's not some group of amnesty-loving liberals challenging the Arizona state law. It's the U.S. Chamber — which vowed to fight it the way to the Supreme Court.
Hiring illegal immigrants, after all, can be good for profit margins.
If these positions sound like the talking points of Corporate America, it's because they are.
Hate to break it to you Scott, but the chamber has been a right wing cesspool since the 20s.
"Shortsighted political posturing"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida lawmakers' hopes of thwarting Cuba's offshore drilling ambitions by isolating it from oil companies that do business in the United States is shortsighted political posturing that won't work. Florida would be better served if Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, instead of pandering to the hard-line Cuban immigrant community, focused on ensuring Cuba has the best spill-prevention and recovery technology. Just as the Cuban embargo has failed, so will attempts to dictate whether Cuba drills." "The wrong approach on Cuba oil".
More from the values crowd
"With Florida’s unemployment rate at 12 percent, those receiving jobless benefits may soon receive less and have to do more to get that, while the amount that businesses and the government spend on benefits would be reduced." "GOP urges strict rules for jobless: 'Get real'". See also "House Would Toughen Unemployment Rules".
"Hot spots" in Havana
"Cuban bloggers like Yoani Sanchez and young exiles who reach out to their counterparts on the island are part of a covert U.S. campaign to undermine the Castro government, according to a secret Cuban video leaked to an Internet site. The video also alleges that Washington launched a secret effort in 2008 to create 10 Wi-Fi “hot spots” around Havana, using illegal satellite telephones to connect up to 250 computers to the Internet independent of Cuban government controls." "U.S. tried to help Cubans bypass government Internet, video alleges".
"According to the Department of Health, there are more than 2.6 million septic sewage systems in Florida serving about a third of the state's population. But less than 1 percent of the state's systems — about 17,000 — are being inspected and serviced. In most cases, septic systems are only checked when they fail. And that's the problem. Leaky septic tanks are major sources of water pollution, officials say." "PolitiFact Florida: Citing cost, some want to flush state septic tank inspection rule".