Saturday, August 30, 2014

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

Desperate for votes, Scott throws open the cookie jar

"Gov. Rick Scott’s most ambitious proposal: a constitutional amendment to prevent property tax increases on homesteaded property if a home’s value stays level or goes down." "Gov. Rick Scott promises $1 billion in tax cuts for second term." See also "Scott promises new tax cuts for 2nd term."

Big guns come to SoFla

"The big guns are starting to come out in South Florida as congressional candidates in a tight race relied on national figures to help them raise funds before the end of August." "S. Florida Congressional Race Aided by National Party Leaders."

"There isn’t much" to Scott's eduction plan

"When Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his proposed education budget five months earlier than normal, his political opponents were quick to cast the move as an election-year stunt."

Scott is in a heated campaign against Democrat Charlie Crist, and education is a central issue in the Nov. 4 general election. Normally, a governor’s proposed spending plan isn’t released until January.

He is asking the Legislature to pass a $19.6 billion education budget, which would be the largest overall spending plan in history.

Hours after the announcement, the Republican Party of Florida was sending email blasts touting the record request to support education.

As it turns out, there isn’t much to the plan.

"Scott touts an education plan without much to it."

Legislature will compress time

"With a November election coming up, the Florida Legislature will compress the time it meets in committee before the yearly legislative session." "Legislature releases committee meeting plan."

Easy to ignore

"U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., continues her focus on the national political stage despite an aggressive Republican opponent waiting for her in November." "Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Focus Ignores GOP Foe Joe Kaufman."

Weekly Roundup

"Arrivals and Departures, Aug. 29, 2014." See also "Weekly Roundup: The Inevitable Battle Begins."

"The new Crist narrative"

Douglas MacKinnon writes that, in the Washington Post's "Charlie Crist, Rick Scott battle for every Florida vote", "some would say the Post was looking for a fresh news story. I would offer up the theory that in general, the liberal intelligentsia, the Obama White House and the national Democratic Party are starting to slip into panic mode as they watch the once double-digit lead of Crist morph into a three- to five-point lead for Scott. Independent of the White House or the Democratic Party, one could argue the Post — with its national following — is trying to warn and energize the base of the Democratic Party that the handpicked candidate in Florida may be in trouble." "The new Crist narrative doesn’t hold water."

All Aboard

"All Aboard Florida Foes Get Their Audience with DOT, Rick Scott's Office."

Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen snag free trips to China

"The trips are a popular perk on Capitol Hill and come with luxury hotel stays and visits to top tourist sites, including the Great Wall. The cost can exceed $10,000 a person." "Aides to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen travel to China on trip sponsored by Chinese government."

Lee County opts out - testing repercussions nationwide

"Lee County Jumped into the Fire: Many Repercussions for Opting Out of Tests."

Recount review

"On Friday, banker Jay Fant was declared the winner of the Republican primary to replace Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, in the Florida House. After the Duval County elections supervisor held a machine recount and examined ballots, Fant beat attorney and Navy veteran Paul Renner by two votes: 5,962 to 5,960." "Jay Fant Holds Off Paul Renner by Two Votes in Jacksonville GOP Primary." See also "Fant wins House District 15 race by two votes."

A tuff bid'ness

"A couple that worked for a week promoting electoral candidates outside a voting precinct in Hialeah complained on Monday that the well-known political strategist Sasha Tirador had fired them and refused to pay them for the days worked." "Campaign workers say employer stiffed them on paychecks."

FlaDems unite around Crist

"'Unity' is the Byword for Florida Democrats Now." See also "Democrats embrace Charlie Crist at rallies in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale."

Some are less than impressed: "Unity Tour All Show, No Go."

Voucher litigation

"Legal challenge takes aim at Florida’s school voucher program."