Wednesday, June 17, 2015

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider becoming a site fan on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Jeb! left "Florida in deep and prolonged recession"

"Jeb Bush is boasting about his economic success as governor. But he owes a large amount of that success — well more than half, at least — to the housing bubble that popped as he was leaving office, leaving Florida in deep and prolonged recession."

Bush is officially running for president, and he’s leading with his record as governor of Florida. In his kick-off speech Monday in Miami, he promised the U.S. economy would grow 4 percent per year if he is elected, creating 19 million jobs — 'growth,' he said, “that lifts up the middle class.”
"He touted his gubernatorial tenure as proof. “It’s possible,” he said. 'It can be done. We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation: 1.3 million new jobs, 4.4 percent growth, higher family income, eight balanced budgets, and tax cuts eight years in a row.'"
Those stats are, indeed, something to brag about. They’re also missing a huge caveat, as many Bush critics immediately noted: A significant amount of Florida’s economic and job growth in the Bush era was driven by a massive run-up in housing prices — which peaked in Bush’s last year in office, then plunged the state into a worse recession than the nation as a whole.

When you account for the role of housing, Bush’s economic record looks a lot more mixed. Almost all of the gains he talks up today, including three-fifths of the job creation, were wiped out in the four years after he left office, once the bubble burst.

It is “empirically inescapable” that “housing was a big part of the robust Florida economy at the time,” said Stan Humphries, the chief economist at the real estate website Zillow, which analyzed the role of housing-driven spending in the state’s economic boom.

A Bush campaign spokesman did not return two emails seeking comment.

"A housing bubble made Jeb Bush look great — and then it tanked Florida’s economy." And then there' this: "PolitiFact Florida: Jeb Bush says he cut Florida taxes by $19 billion, but did he really?"

Jeb-Marco Laffer

"Jeb Bush's case against Marco Rubio."

About Florida Forever Funding

Nancy Smith "Florida Forever Funding: The Rest of the Story." Related: "Tom Rooney Backs Everglades Restoration in Interior, Environment Appropriations Bill" and "U.S. House Appropriations Approves $150 Million for Everglades Restoration."

"Midnight madness"

"Pet projects long given up for dead resurfaced and were included in the state’s $79 billion budget, finally crafted at a special session late Monday." "Midnight madness: A flurry of back-room deals before lawmakers settle on $79 billion budget."

Marco, Jeb! trail Hillary in Florida

Sorry Jeb!, but a "new poll shows former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a slight lead over Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida, the largest swing state on the map in presidential elections, even as a majority of voters say she can’t be trusted. Clinton leads other Republicans by far wider margins."

Quinnipiac University released a poll of Florida voters showing Clinton edging Rubio 47 percent to 44 percent while she leads Bush 46 percent to 42 percent.
"Hillary Clinton has the Edge in Florida." See also "Poll: Clinton leads in Florida, faces trust questions."

The Cheerleading continues

The All-Star Cheerleaders from the Orlando Sentinel are on fire today: "Jeb adds welcome style, experience to GOP race."

Meanwhile, a question of whether Jeb! is ready for prime time has already arisen: "Jeb Bush Mocks Clinton, Opposes Gay Marriage In Overheard Interview."

"He nearly got what he asked for"

"Gov. Rick Scott eagerly signed into law around $430 million in tax cuts Tuesday, including reducing cell phone and TV services taxes. Scott had pushed for $470 million in cuts at the start of the regular session in March -- and in spite of the hospital-funding pull on reserves, he nearly got what he asked for. The House and the Senate passed the cuts on Monday." "Rick Scott Signs More than $400 Million in Tax Cuts Into Law."

Jeb! claims he "actually did things"

"A day after making his bid for the Republican presidential nomination official, the former Florida governor fielded questions from New Hampshire voters for more than an hour Tuesday, insisting he was the best candidate to restore U.S. prosperity." "Jeb Bush sharpens line against rivals: ‘I actually did things’."

Jeb! knocks Pope

"Jeb Bush knocks Pope on climate change push."