Scott Maxwell writes that "Florida's economy is clearly broken. Yet politicians continue to order up more of the same failed policies that got us into this mess."
We must start by realizing that Florida's economy is worse than America's in general. Our unemployment rate alone is significantly higher — 10.7 percent in Florida, compared with 9.1 nationwide."Instead of developing an economy full of reliable jobs, Florida relied upon nonstop development. When the growth gravy train finally stopped rolling, so did the paychecks."
So if you're mad at Washington or Wall Street, you should be downright livid at Tallahassee.
But that's just the start of the Sunshine State slump. Florida also has lower salaries, more uninsured residents and a foreclosure rate that leads the nation.
On indicator after indicator, Florida trails America. Yet we have politicians in Florida pointing their fingers at Washington, which requires both selective outrage … and delusion.
Yet Florida remained desperate to score its next growth hit. So the politicians continued handing out corporate tax breaks — to the point that 98 percent of for-profit corporations paid no income taxes at all.Much more here: "Florida's failed policies keep economy on ice".
As a result, our budget became woefully dependent upon sales taxes — which are regressive, unreliable and now make up nearly three-fourths of the state's general fund budget.
The scenario was as unsustainable as it was predictable.
So now the politicians are once again looking to raid school budgets, and acting bewildered by it all.
"We're all hopeful that the economy will turn around," said Senate President Mike Haridopolos, "but at this point I don't see it happening."
No shock, Sherlock.
Continued Haridopolos: "We can't afford the government we used to have, so we're making adjustments."
By "adjustments," Haridopolos means more of the same failed policies that got us into this mess — cuts to things like education and social services, which have already been cut to the marrow, and nothing in the way of growing long-term revenues.
What's worse, Gov. Rick Scott wants to double down on these failed policies by cutting corporate taxes even further...so that no companies have to pay.
You could maybe see the logic in his plan — if there was any evidence to suggest that low corporate taxes lead to more jobs.
There is not. To the contrary, Florida has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in America — and one of the highest unemployment rates. Those are the facts.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature face a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall, state economists said Tuesday, complicating a budget picture in which health care and education costs are expected to rise as much as $1 billion."State faces $1.5B shortfall". See also "More budget cuts to come as Florida economy yielding $1.6 billion less in taxes than expected", "Gov. Scott expects more budget cuts as state revenue projections shrink" and "New revenue forecasts foreshadow budget shortfall in upcoming year".
The new revenue forecast is $600 million lower than state economists projected in March for the 2011-12 budget and $968.3 million lower than predicted for 2012-13.
Wednesday Morning Reads
"Wednesday Morning Reads: Campaign dollars, welfare applicants, and Rick Scott".
Texas model a "poor fit for Florida"
The Orlando Sentinel editors warn that "the model for reform that the governor [the fellow who doesn't understand the significance of disciplines like Anthropology] has been eyeing, a proposal drafted by a free-market think tank in Texas, would be a poor fit for Florida." "Reform universities, but don't copy Texas".
Scott's 2012 Legislative Agenda
"Job creation, with an emphasis on positions in high-tech fields, will remain Gov. Rick Scott's focus when he starts rolling out his agenda for his second year in office Wednesday in Orlando. On Tuesday, Scott offered a sneak preview of his goals for the 2012 legislative session." "Focused on Jobs, Rick Scott to Unveil 2012 Legislative Agenda".
Obama in O-town
"Barack Obama stumps for jobs bill, raises cash during Orlando stop".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It is now easier in Florida to lay claim to someone’s house than to get a driver’s license, apparently. Florida’s Legislature needs to close this unintentional loophole to protect property owners." "Protect homeowners from scammers".
Good luck with that
"Amtrak Ranks Florida East Coast Line 'Most Promising' For Expansion".
"After all, he is black"
"Florida is challenging the federal government's long-standing authority to review and approve new voting laws in five counties in order to protect minority voters from discrimination."
The counties, which include Hillsborough and Monroe in the Florida Keys, find themselves at the center of a growing legal battle as the 2012 presidential election unfolds in the nation's largest battleground state."Florida asks judge to end federal review of voting laws in five counties". See also "In push for its new election law, Florida challenges U.S. Voting Rights Act", "State filing in elections law case challenges parts of Voter Rights Act" and "Florida secretary of state challenges Voting Rights Act".
Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections officer, Secretary of State Kurt Browning, asked a federal court Tuesday to remove the five counties from the voting law preclearance process after 40 years. The other counties are Collier, Hardee and Hendry.
At issue is a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, considered a centerpiece of historic civil rights legislation pushed by President Lyndon Johnson in an era when black voters, mostly in the South, routinely confronted poll taxes, literacy tests and other racially motivated barriers to voting.
With due respect, when Obama was on the ticket, West-Central Florida produced "some of the most racist, virulent, inane hate speech one could imagine". For more see "After all, he is black".
It would seem Hillsborough has a way to go before federal oversight is lifted.
Entrepreneurs in action
"Homebuilder to pay $625K fine; chunk of that coming to Florida".
Workers' comp rates
"A hearing Tuesday on whether to raise workers' compensation insurance rates in Florida also acted as a sounding board for airing complaints about the system." "Workers' comp rate hearing raises larger reform issues".
Oil drilling ban
"Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former CFO Alex Sink headlined a February rally at the Capitol to announce a campaign for a state Constitution amendment to ban on oil drilling in Florida waters. But the campaign faces an uphill challenge, organizers say, because of a recent election law change that allows petition signatures to be valid only for two years." "Oil-drill ban petition organizers worry about its prospects".
GOPers rake it in
"Utilities, health care, gaming contribute to Q3 Republican fundraising haul".
Scott: who needs anthropologists?
"Spending money on science and math degrees can help Floridians find work and provide a return on taxpayers' investments, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday in an interview on The Marc Bernier Show on WNDB-AM in Daytona Beach. Scott said Florida doesn't need 'a lot more anthropologists in this state.'"
Predictably, anthropologists were not amused by Scott's comments."Scott: Math not anthropology".
"Perhaps you are unaware that anthropologists are leaders in our nation's top science fields, making groundbreaking discoveries in areas as varied as public health, human genetics, legal history, bilingualism, the African American heritage and infant learning," Virginia R. Dominguez and William E. Davis of the American Anthropological Association wrote in a letter to Scott.
"Give condemned inmates firing squad option, lawmaker says".
Good money after bad
"According to the latest numbers from Florida’s new welfare drug testing requirements, the state is currently spending more money on drug testing welfare applicants than it is saving money by denying benefits to those applicants who fail the test." "Latest numbers show what welfare drug testing is costing the state".
"Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined 24 other states in asking for a delay of a new Environmental Protection Agency air-quality standards for oil- and coal-fired power plants, even though President Obama's administration weakened the rule last week." "Bondi, FPL ask for delay in EPA air-quality rule, but FPL prepared to implement".
Perry dead enders
"Rick Perry is scheduled to be raising money in St. Pete Beach on Oct. 26, at a morning, $1,000-per person fundraiser hosted by Tony Buzbee, Jose Cuevas, Dr. A.K. Desai and Keith Overton. It will be at the Tradewinds Island Resort, where Overton is president." "2012 tidbits".
"Nelson will report raising just under $2 million for the quarter, the [Saint Petersburg Times'] Buzz hears, and will have about $7.5 million cash on hand for his re-election campaign. No word yet from his Republican challengers." "2012 tidbits".
Libertarian takes on "reclusive" Young
"A Libertarian candidate says he'll challenge Rep. C.W. Bill Young and is taking a few shots at the long-serving Pinellas County Republican. A news release touting Michael Hull, 36, notes Young's age (80), says Young's primary residence is in Virginia, and asserts that Young has been 'considerably more reclusive and inaccessible to his constituents in recent years.'" "C.W. Bill Young faces challenge from Libertarian".