Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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

Another Scott-Florida-Embarrassment

In yet another Scott-Florida-embarrassment, since "Scott took office in 2011, state Department of Environmental Protection officials have been ordered not to use the terms 'climate change' or 'global warming' in official communications, according to a report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting."

Scott denied the report Monday, but refused to say whether he believed climate change was a problem.
The Gainesville Sun editors continue, writing
Scott can dodge questions about climate change, but Florida can’t dodge the consequences of sea-level rise and the other consequences of climate change. He told reporters Monday that he’s “focused on solutions,” but nothing could be further from the truth.
"Climate conflict."

The Miami Herald editors write that "Scott on Monday denied that administrators in his Department of Environmental Protection were banned from using the terms 'global warming' or 'climate change.'"

“It’s not true,” Scott told reporters in Hialeah. The Miami Herald published a widely read story Sunday by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting citing former DEP officials who said they had been told verbally to avoid the phrases. The department and Scott’s office said no such policy existed.
"Florida governor denies environmental agency banned term ‘climate change’."

House looks to kill Obamacare Medicaid expansion

"Prompted by Sen. President Andy Gardiner, senators on Tuesday gave their most vocal backing yet of an alternative plan to expand Medicaid while imposing work and co-pay requirements. But the proposal already faces staunch opposition in the House, which has balked at expanding Medicaid under the Obamacare umbrella for the past two years." "Senate pushes Medicaid expansion plan." See also "Florida Senate panel pushes Medicaid expansion forward, but still a long shot." See also "Why Is the Florida Senate Caving on Medicaid Expansion?"

"Making Florida's unfair tax system even more unfair"

The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy reports that "Governor Rick Scott and legislative leaders are moving forward with a plan to cut corporate income tax revenues again after previous cuts in his first term. Action on these bills comes amid a renewed pledge by Scott to end the tax entirely, as he first proposed when inaugurated in 2011."

Relatively few businesses in Florida pay the tax, a huge proportion of which are very profitable corporations.

Both reducing collections from the tax and eliminating it would have undesirable effects. Both would reduce income available to meet Florida's needs. Secondly, any reduction would further skew Florida's tax system, leaving others to assume a greater share of the responsibility for funding vital state services, making Florida's unfair tax system even more unfair.

"Keeping and Modernizing the Corporate Income Tax Will Best Serve Florida."

Go here to read the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy report, "Keeping and Modernizing Florida’s Corporate Income Tax Will Best Serve the State."

"Bullets and backpacks"

"Rallying around the slogan 'Bullets and backpacks don’t mix,' about 30 people gathered on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol on Monday to protest a slate of bills that would allow concealed weapons at college campuses and schools." "Activists rally against campus concealed-carry bills." See also "Bill Allowing Guns on Public School Campuses Passes House Subcommittee."


"A conservative group rushed in this week to defend U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., from a group with ties to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, over his vote on funding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this month." "Conservatives Aid Yoho Against Boehner over DHS, Immigration Vote."

Run Marco! Run!

"Why Marco Rubio is the Strongest Possible Nominee."

Big of 'em

"Florida's statewide elected officials on Tuesday agreed to develop guidelines in evaluating the heads of Cabinet-level agencies, including approving a proposal that their firing must be done at a public meeting." "Gov. Scott, Cabinet continue debate on agency heads."

Jolly to the rescue

"The case of the Pinellas County contractor arrested in the United Arab Emirates for making online comments disparaging Arabs may soon be resolved, according to U.S. Rep. David Jolly." "Jolly ‘optimistic’ about Pinellas contractor’s return following UAE arrest."

$58,000 in ethics fines

"The judge recommended to fine against the former Miami congressman for double-billing taxpayers and misreporting income while he was a Florida state lawmaker." "Judge recommends $58,000 in ethics fines for David Rivera."