Monday, September 03, 2012

As you might expect, a very slow news day. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Florida has lost jobs since the beginning of the year

"Even though the governor likes to tout Florida's economic revival, federal figures show that most of the progress in the labor market occurred last year, and that 2012 has produced relatively anemic job growth in the private sector."

Add government layoffs to the mix, and the state has actually lost jobs since the beginning of the year.

"It's been pretty slow," said Rollins College economist Bill Seyfried. "The labor market has softened."

The Scott administration regularly highlights its economic achievements, pointing out that since December 2010, Florida has added about 130,000 private-sector jobs and trimmed unemployment by 2.3 percentage points — from 11.1 percent to 8.8 percent.

In a recent news release, Scott's office wrote that the state "continues to see evidence" that the governor's strategy "for growing private-sector jobs is the right direction for Florida's economy."

But in 2012, businesses have added just 7,800 total jobs, an average of 1,100 a month. The public sector, meanwhile, has shed 9,600 jobs, so total jobs are down by 1,800.

January got the year off to a rough start. Total employment fell by about 35,000, a drop that economists have struggled to explain.

"Scott touts gains, but job growth slows this year".

"A force for moderation"

"Right, left; conservative, liberal; red, blue. The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County's new chief executive says Jews need to discard these labels that divide and bring back an old-fashioned value: civility." "New Jewish Federation CEO a force for moderation".

"See past the charade and just say no"

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "If there is a silver lining in Florida's real estate bust, it may be this: Inequities created under the state's Save Our Homes property tax limit have been greatly diminished, meaning neighbors in identical homes are far more likely to be paying closer to the same tax bills. But none of that seems to matter in Tallahassee, where legislators are seeking voter approval for a new set of niche tax breaks. Despite what clever campaign ads financed by special interests say, Amendment 4 on the November ballot will do far more harm than good. It will be up to voters to see past the charade and just say no." "Amendment affront to tax fairness".

What, me worry?

Jeremy Wallace: "Pete Sessions, the Texas congressman and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, doesn’t have much worry about Buchanan these days despite the legal issues he faces." "Standing up for Buchanan".

Vern and Paulie are lunch pals

Jeremy Wallace: "When Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, he picked one of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s favorite lunch pals." "Rep. Buchanan frequently lunches with Paul Ryan".

"Turf war" between competing ballot-brokers

"As the storm of ballot-fraud allegations swirls in Hialeah, a public housing complex that was the stomping grounds of a man charged in the case was the site of a possible turf war last year between competing ballot-brokers." "Possible ballot turf war leads to minor mayhem in Hialeah".