"Scott spent $73 million last year campaigning on a promise to create 700,000 new jobs in Florida. Is he staying true to his word?"
Calling himself the state's "chief economic development officer," he's personally reaching out to business executives around the globe. Last week, the new governor took his second trade mission, this time to lure Canadian companies to the Sunshine State."Is Scott the 'jobs governor' he promised to be?".
Despite the sluggish economy, new jobs are trickling in.
But at the same time, Scott has signed a budget that cuts the state workforce by eliminating 4,500 positions -- and that doesn't count the thousands of public school teachers now facing layoffs, or construction jobs lost due to cancelled projects.
Mitt stiffs Florida GOPers
"Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney's campaign said Thursday night it will not be participating in the Florida GOP's "Presidency 5" straw poll in September — or any other heavily hyped nonbinding election this year." "Romney says no to straw poll". Related: "Deadline Here for Florida's 'P5' Straw Poll Delegates".
New overseer of elections in Florida
"Gisela Salas worked as assistant supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade County, and also worked for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office. She was hired last month by Secretary of State Kurt Browning to run the office that oversees elections in Florida." "Veteran South Florida elections offical tapped to run state elections division".
A Tampa thing
Daniel Ruth thinks it "only proper that the owners of the Fighting Monsters of Himes Avenue, Malcolm Glazer and his sons, Moral and Hazard, will pay not one red cent for all the fancy-pants renovations. And why should they, when they have you, and you and you to pick up the tab?" "We're on the hook for their luxuries".
"U.S. Rep. Allen West says he's 'comfortable enough' with House Speaker John Boehner's leadership".
"Actively restricting access to the political process"
"A report released by a group that aims to increase youth voter participation blasts states for 'actively restricting access to the political process,' and finds Florida is no exception. Florida ranks 34 out of 50 states on Rock the Vote’s national scorecard, meeting 35 percent of the group’s recommendations, which are intended to serve as a 'national benchmark.'" "Rock the Vote: Florida voting system pretty lousy for young people".
Lobbyists break up
Gary Fineout: "Smith & Ballard is undergoing a name change as former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith decides to leave the powerhouse lobbying firm. The firm has routinely been one of the top money-making firms in the Capitol according to official lobbyist compensation reports." "One of Tallahassee's major lobbying firms has a shake-up".
William Gibson: "Virginia and Florida were among the states that normally back Republicans in presidential elections but somewhat unexpectedly helped Obama win the White House. Those states in 2010 shifted back toward Republicans, GOP strategists now say." "Will Florida abandon Obama?"
"Government unjustifiably kowtowing to a lobbyist"
Tom Lyons: "Considering how keen our governor has been to reduce government regulation, it seems odd that he just signed a new one into law."
Of course, not even Gov. Rick Scott is opposed to every regulation. There are urgently needed government restrictions, necessary responses to obvious problems that just can't be ignored. "Anti-regulation, unless it makes NRA happy".
Was this one of those situations? Heck no. Couldn't be less so. I can't think of a better example of a regulation tackling a nonexistent problem, or of government unjustifiably kowtowing to a lobbyist.
The law I'm talking about is that bizarre bill that bars doctors in Florida from asking patients if they own guns, lest such inquiries make a gun owner feel violated or fearful of a plot to take the gun away.
Preventing such feelings is now a vital governmental concern in Scott's view, it seems.
"One of the more controversial special interest projects of this Legislature, its network of crisis pregnancy centers, has not lost a dime in state funding since starting up in 2005."
Crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, are mostly religious centers aimed at dissuading women from having an abortion. Some Florida centers were even found to distribute inaccurate information about abortion to women seeking help in the centers."Crisis pregnancy centers get $2 million in state budget for sixth year in a row".
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".
Is Crist positioning himself for run against Scott?
"The Internet has been abuzz with speculation that Charlie Crist might be positioning himself for a run against Rick Scott in the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race – as a Democrat! On the surface, this might sound like typical horse-race specualtion, but there are signs that it might be true – and that it might make good political sense." "Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott in 2014?"
DWS "too outspoken"?
"Democrats knew they were getting an outspoken partisan when Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz took over the reins of the Democratic National Committee a month ago. But they might not have known just how outspoken." "The DNC chairwoman's growing pains".
Both ends burning
"Staff for Gov. Rick Scott have partially refuted a report that the governor is declaring a new day of prayer in Florida."
The conservative Family Research Council had announced that Scott was following the example of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is partnering with the anti-gay American Family Association to hold a large "prayer and fasting" event at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Aug. 6."Scott disputes family council's take on prayer day".
A potential presidential candidate, Perry invited 49 other governors to join him, the FRC reported -- including Scott, who alternates frequently between citing Perry as a friendly rival and a political role model. Scott has responded to Perry's gesture, the FRC states on its website, by pledging to hold a day of prayer in the Sunshine State.
On June 7, Fox News quoted Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier as naming Scott among several governors who had confirmed that they, too, would declare Aug. 6 to be a day of prayer in their states.
That's not exactly true, Scott spokesman Lane Wright said.
Wright produced a May 23 proclamation in which Scott acknowledged the Aug. 6 event taking place in other states and encourages people to take part. Scott penned the proclamation in response to Perry's invitation, Wright said.
But that's all there was to it, Wright said.
"Governor Scott did not actually declare a day of national prayer. He is simply extending 'greetings and best wishes' to all observing August 6 as a day of prayer for our nation.'"
The deform begins
"Public Medicaid Meetings Begin Friday".
"Four-day school weeks may not happen".
"Former Congressman Mark Foley: Weiner Must Decide Himself Whether to Resign".
Ricky's booming economy
"Food stamp use has skyrocketed in Southwest Florida during the past five years, a trend expected to continue as long as the region's poverty and unemployment rates remain high." "Southwest Florida food stamp use surges".
Agency for Persons with Disabilities slashed
"A group of advocates for the developmentally disabled raise concerns about potential cuts coming in a program that serves 30,000 Floridians. One of the suggestions to save money is to slash by 4 percent the salaries of those working at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities." "Agency gets grilled over looming budget cuts". See also "APD Looks at Cuts, Gets Pushback from Providers, Patients".
"For-profit schools off the hook"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "New rules let for-profit schools off the hook".
That won't make the union haters happy
"Remember that awful public sector union pension crisis that was going to bankrupt every state from California to Wisconsin? A little less Armageddon in the coffee, please. Reuters is reporting some interesting details from a new report by the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems."
Public pension funds are experiencing a robust recovery from the historic market downturn of 2008-2009 -- reporting strong investment returns, growing assets and funding levels on track to meet obligations," said the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems.That won't make the union haters happy:
the changed financial outlook does underscore an important point that defenders of public sector unions have been making for several years: Judging the financial prospects of a pension fund in the middle of a historic economic crash is a dumb thing to do. As the economy improves so too will fund performance."A new report suggests government union benefits won't be bankrupting states, after all".
The lesson can be extrapolated to the larger challenges facing the federal government. The best deficit-reducing strategy is a growing economy that generates increased tax revenues. A misguided pivot to austerity, on the other hand, runs the clear risk of inducing slower economic growth, lower tax revenues and higher deficits.
Ayn Rand drenched Teabaggers apparently don't like all parts of raw capitalism; ya' know, that part where you have to pay the bills.
"Tea party group owes more than $6K for rally": "Boca Raton will pay the $6,145 out of the city budget if the Tea Party doesn't come through, and the city probably won’t pursue legal action to recoup a loss".
"Democrats have a lot of work to do"
"Associated Industries of Florida gave Republicans high-marks for their votes during the 2011 session. The rankings, which also mirror ones given out by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, suggest Democrats have a lot of work to do." "Business groups praise Republicans for their 2011 session votes".
"Legislation may inadvertenly cause inequities"
"Florida’s pension plan overhaul -- which mandates that public employees pay 3 percent of their salaries to cover pension costs -- is not supposed to take effect until July 1. But accounting problems with the way the state handles payroll means that thousands of state employees are actually going to start paying ahead of time."
Neither DMS nor Atwater’s office could provide a figure on how much money will be subtracted from state worker paychecks ahead of time."Nearly 100,000 state workers will start paying their pension contributions early".
But Gov. Rick Scott has promised to pay back the state workers at some point.
Scott, when he signed the pension overhaul into law, noted that the "legislation may inadvertenly cause inequities."
Gary Fineout: "Nearly 100,000 state workers will start paying their pension contributions early" ("Scott has promised to pay them back next year.")
Enuf Weiner already
"U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor calls on fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner to resign".
"With just 20 days left before a new law ends the practice of offering severance packages to state workers, the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District voted on Thursday to offer its workers the chance to leave with one month salary, benefits and limited payouts for vacation and sick time." "Water district, seeking $128 million in cuts, to slash benefits and buy out workers".
Empty suits flail at each other
"Adam Hasner takes on George LeMieux".
"Need to hire more cops and firefighters"
"It was only last year [in Port Orange that] the police and fire departments considered drastic personnel cuts. Now, both departments are looking to fill positions. And with a 'significant' increase in crime over the past year, officials are open to the idea." "Public safety: we need to hire more cops and firefighters".
Meanwhile, public employees continue to sacrifice: "Firefighters and city discuss bargaining, pensions".
Who needs firemen anyway? See "Firefighters continue battling fire" and "Fire engulfs strip mall on Semoran in Apopka".