Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Scott’s tax cut plan faces reality check"

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut taxes by $500 million next year, trim state agency budgets by $100 million and appeal to voters in an election year with another hike in school spending."

Even though tax receipts are rising and state economists project an $846 million surplus in 2014, the math won’t work.
"While the Republican governor is asking agencies under his control to cut waste and reduce spending, they are asking for nearly $1 billion more on everything from child abuse investigators to prison beds to state troopers, in some cases to patch budget cuts made in previous years."
That’s not all.

Medicaid, the health care safety net for poor and disabled Floridians, is projected to cost at least $400 million more next year, and the Legislature has its own list of priorities — starting with $220 million in water projects to help the polluted Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie River estuary and Caloosahatchee River.

"Gov. Rick Scott’s tax cut plan faces reality check".

Seminole County Sheriff says no to Scott's Lt. Gov. offer

"Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger has turned down a nomination to become lieutenant governor. Eslinger told Gov. Rick Scott Monday that he was 'flattered and honored' to be considered, but he said he preferred to stick with his current job, he told employees in an email." "Seminole sheriff says no to lieutenant governor job".

Rubio "dismissive" of Iran agreement

"Shortly after the announcement, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., offered a short statement praising the agreement. . . . But Nelson’s colleague U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who also sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, was dismissive of the agreement, inisting Iran needed to face more sanctions." "Florida Delegation Divides on Iran Nuclear Deal".

Here's another laffer: "Scott tackles foreign policy, criticizes Iran deal".

Teabaggers boycott legislative delegation meeting

"Orange County Democrats are miffed their GOP brethren in the county's legislative delegation opted to skip a meeting Monday night where President Obama's health-care law was slated to be discussed." "Orange County Republicans skip Obamacare delegation meeting".

"Radel owes Big Government"

Marc Caputo: "Trey Radel owes Big Government. Big time."

Like other tea partiers, the freshman political newcomer from Fort Myers went to Washington to keep government out of our lives and to fight government spending.

At the same time, Radel and some buddies were snorting cocaine. In his private tea parties, the question of one-lump-or-two of sugar had a whole different meaning.

On Oct. 29, the two parties collided.

Radel was busted after an undercover agent in Washington sold him what’s known as an “8 Ball,” an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, or 3.5 grams for $260.

So time to rail against Big Government telling a private citizen what he can do, right? Time to question the governmental costs of the drug war, eh? Maybe even wonder about equal treatment under the law? Growing police power and the Fourth Amendment?


Radel, 37, just apologized and went to rehab.

All the talk of less government, big spending, personal freedom and the Constitution were blown away amid the Republican’s expressions of contrition in a case that highlights our political contradictions, especially when it comes to drugs.

"Cocaine, the congressman and contradictions". See also "The double life of U.S. Rep. Trey Radel — cocaine addict and congressman".

Common core

Nancy Smith: "Why Florida, Why America Should Embrace Common Core". See also "Graduation requirements not aligned with Common Core".

Florida's new unemployment system causes significant delays

"Barring an unforeseen upswing in unemployment, Florida should not have to borrow from the federal government to pay jobless claims, state economists said Monday. But a dip in the benefits paid out last month, probably because the switch to a new unemployment system caused significant delays, resulted in a hiccup in the latest projections." "Economists: No federal loans for jobless benefits, but system switch troubles forecast".

"Miller leading the charge against Crist"

Jeff Henderson: "Ever since the former Republican announced he was running for governor again as a Democrat, Republicans all across Florida have been coming out of the woodwork to bash Charlie Crist."

One of the most vocal Republicans attacking Crist has been Jeff Miller. When Crist jumped in the race, the longtime Panhandle congressman was one of the first Republicans to rip into him. At the end of last week, Miller took to the pages of the Pensacola News Journal, attacking Crist in personal terms and saying the former governor did nothing for Northwest Florida.

At first glance, Miller seems an odd choice to be the point man against Crist. Since being elected to Congress in 2001, Miller has risen up to chair the Veterans Affairs Committee which, while certainly a blessing for the Panhandle and constituents, is not exactly the best vehicle for partisanship. Nestled in Northwest Florida, Miller is unknown to most of the rest of the state despite his years in Congress.

But there is some logic in Miller leading the charge against Crist. Representing a strong Republican area, Miller should face little opposition in 2014 and can focus more attention on kneecapping Crist. While he’s been in Congress since 2001, Miller has always had one foot in Tallahassee. He served in the Florida House and, back in the 1980s, was a close aide to legendary Agricultural Commissioner Doyle Conner. A former Democrat himself, Miller could help ensure old Southern Democrats who joined the GOP stay in Rick Scott’s column instead of drifting back over to Crist. It certainly helps explain why Miller has focused on bashing Crist’s liberalism.

"Jeff Miller Goes on the Attack Against Charlie Crist".

Meanwhile, "Rick Scott and Charlie Crist Trade Barbs as 2014 Looms".

"An intellectual vacation" in Sarasota County

The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Laffer's second chance".

Vern's a "no"

Jeremy Wallace: "They advertised their event as an effort to urge U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan to support immigration reform."

But by the end of the Organizing for America event in Sarasota last week, leaders made clear that they have essentially given up on convincing Buchanan to sign on to the immigration reform bill — HR 15 — they want passed.
"Push for immigration reform migrates east".

This drug is perfectly legal

"Judge approves new execution drug".