"Superman has lost his swagger"
"Remember the governor who set lofty goals, made no apologies and claimed taxes, regulation and lawsuits were the Kryptonite to his Superman-like ability to create jobs?"
Superman has lost his swagger."Just eight months into his term, Rick Scott wants to set the bar so low to meet his jobs pledge that he could do nothing more than relax in the governor's mansion and claim victory."
Scott was elected on the promise that he would create 700,000 jobs in seven years above and beyond the estimated 1 million jobs Florida is expected to generate as part of the state's anticipated annual growth. ...
"Beth Kassab: Gov. Rick Scott lowers bar for jobs goal".
Now, Scott is dodging that original pledge. He says he deserves credit toward his total for all jobs created in Florida since he took office in January.
Apparently Superman had a run-in with reality.
When Scott visited the Orlando Sentinel's editorial board last week, he was asked how his record on jobs should be tallied. The number of jobs above the 1 million already forecast? Or the number gained since January?
"I think it's jobs from the time I took office," he said.
He claimed 85,000, the number of new jobs the state reported for the year in June; new figures released Friday show that number was lowered to 64,300 through July. But those jobs that Scott wants to claim have nothing to do with his policies. ...
Scott is now lowering the benchmark he set for himself if he counts every job created toward his 700,000 goal. ...
Most of the new jobs in Florida are coming from the tourism and hospitality sector, which is riding a wave of pent-up consumer demand for travel as well as foreign tourists who are taking advantage of a weak dollar.
At my last check of Scott's progress, I counted 30,844 jobs announced, but not yet created, based on programs he put in place. The bulk, about 30,000, is to come from a port expansion project in Miami.
Scott seems to have recognized that his Superman-sized goal may be tougher than he first realized. But he should know there's a lot more at stake than whether he's ultimately embarrassed by coming up short on an ill-conceived promise. This should really be about putting Floridians back to work.
Scott is "comparing apples to oranges"
"Scott says he started with a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus. In reality, the state ends every year with what Scott calls a surplus because the state is required to pass a balanced budget."
[T]he state ends most every year with what Scott calls a surplus because the state is required to pass a balanced budget and generally can't borrow money to pay its bills. And in recent years, because state revenue has been declining, the state enters the next year with a projected "deficit" using Scott's word -- or more accurately a shortfall.
"Budget surplus isn't uncommon".
The fact is that while Scott has his numbers right, he's comparing apples to oranges to paint his fiscal policies in the best light.
"Just days after Marco Rubio’s election as Florida’s newest Republican U.S. senator, former First Lady Nancy Reagan wrote to him, asking him to speak at her husband’s presidential library."
It’s a big moment for Rubio, an eloquent speaker who often focuses in speeches on his Cuban exile parents and the opportunities immigrants have in this country. His speech at the Reagan library will be followed by a separate address in September, when he’ll talk about his growing interest in foreign policy at the Jesse Helms Center in North Carolina."Rubio headed to California for major speech".
The Week Ahead
"The Week Ahead for Aug. 22-Aug. 26".
Legitimate construction companies can't compete
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is going after scammers who are working under the radar, off the map."
Earlier this month, Mr. Atwater created a “working group” to tackle scammers in the check-cashing-services industry that, in devilish league with organized crime, are diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s economy. That’s something this revenue-starved state cannot afford. Just as bad, these criminals are leaving workers in the construction and subcontracting industries without worker’s compensation coverage. Such coverage generally is required by state law. The upshot is that honest companies are losing business to scammers, and vulnerable workers who might be physically injured on the job are being hurt again because of their employers’ greed and dishonesty.
Of the 18 types of fraud the CFO office tracks, the amount of workers’ compensation fraud in Florida is second only to personal-injury scams. Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, there were 199 convictions for workers’-comp fraud. (Slip-and-falls and whiplash-type fraud came in at 240 convictions.)
Mr. Atwater is right to pursue these criminals.
Here’s how they work: Organized-crime enterprises set up fake companies and get the most minimal workers’ compensation policy possible. Uninsured subcontractors pay a fee to use a fake company’s policy. This lets a dishonest subcontractor avoid paying for the required workers’ compensation insurance. This subcontractor then presents a copy of the “shell” certificate to a general contractor. Such subs often get the nod because they are able to underbid honest contractors going after the same job. After all, the bad guy gets to remove the cost of workers’ compensation insurance from his expenses. The scheme uses cash-checking services to cash the checks that are made out to the shell company.
"Focus on the Family website praises Florida for accepting abstinence education dollars". See also "Senate debate: Candidates discuss opposition to abortion".
"Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, is demanding that the state Department of Education investigate the costs of the annual summit of Charter Schools USA, held in Orlando last week and attended by Gov. Rick Scott."
Bullard’s letter states:"State legislator wants to know who paid for charter school summit".
It is unbelievable to think that one of the largest for-profit charter school organizations in Florida may have spent taxpayers’ money to bus thousands of teachers and executives to an Orlando pep rally attended by Governor Rick Scott and former Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
I hope you are just as outraged at this potentially irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money as I am, and I hope you will lead the charge to prevent such abuses in the future.
To begin, I would ask that you order Charter Schools USA to give Florida citizens a detailed accounting of whether any taxpayer dollars were used to pay for this rally, or have the Department of Education itself offer that accounting.
"Drug-testing welfare recipients a loss leader"
"A sampling of the cost for drug-testing welfare recipients in Central Florida shows the program is a loss leader for the state." "'Welfare' Drug Tests Come In; Results Are Predictable".
As Florida's unemployment surges, Rivera whines about Cuba
"Florida Congressman David Rivera calls for Obama to get tougher on Cuba". "U.S. Continues to Designate Castro's Regime a State Sponsor of Terror".
Second amendment stoopid
"The new state legislation, which becomes effective Oct. 1, prohibits local government from regulating firearms or ammunition. Only state gun laws can be enforced. The state legislation, driven by the National Rifle Association, which contended local governments could not regulate the Bill of Rights, lists penalties against local municipalities and officials who attempt to regulate firearms, including fines, removal from public office, termination of employment and other punishments." "New gun ordinances take effect Oct. 1".
The wingers on the Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Florida's constitution requires a balanced budget, so it can be argued that Scott and the lawmakers did what they had to do. But the state's approach to budget-cutting impressed S&P. S&P analyst John Sugden-Castillo said Florida has made 'progress in addressing its structural imbalance through significant cost-cutting measures adopted in fiscal 2012 and maintenance of strong reserves.'"
The editors continue, presumably with straight faces:
It was a wise approach. As the Great Recession and then the weak recovery wore on, national and state tax revenues fell. Many leaders -- especially at the federal level -- called for tax increases. Fiscal conservatives argued that the economy was too weak to sustain new taxes.
"State's frugality pays off with better credit rating".
Lawmakers nationwide need to look at Florida. ...
With the state exercising fiscal discipline instead of resorting to tax increases, the private sector will be better able to pull itself out of the ditch as the economy improves.
This is a common-sense approach that Florida was rewarded for, and one that officials in Washington, D.C., should note.
Net decline of 22,100 jobs in July
"After a series of successive monthly gains, Florida posted a net decline of 22,100 jobs in July, keeping the state's unemployment rate at 10.7 percent -- the seventh highest in the country." "Jobless Report Left Some Good News Hiding Among the Bad".