Sunshine State News Blogs
On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott doubled down on his call to lower the business rent sales tax by $100 million during an appearance at R2 Unified Technologies in Boca Raton.
Scott’s proposed budget contains that reducation and lowering vehicle registration fees by $400 million.
“This tax costs Florida businesses $1.4 billion per year, and our proposed reduction means $100 million in savings for Florida businesses,” Scott said. “These savings will help business grow and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) unveiled a new Web video on Monday, hitting former Gov. Charlie Crist for his connections with convicted fraudster Scott Rothstein who said last week Crist assigned judgeships in exchange for political donations.
“On the fifth anniversary of Charlie Crist's infamous hug of Barack Obama and his failed policies, Floridians should also remember Crist's many embraces of Scott Rothstein,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry on Monday. “Not only was Rothstein convicted of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, he also testified under oath that he bought judgeships in return for political contributions. From whom? None other than Charlie Crist."
State Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, issued a statement on Monday concerning Ryan Uhre, a former FSU student serving as an intern in his office. Uhre has been missing since last Sunday and was last seen at Andrew’s in downtown Tallahassee during the Super Bowl. There are signs Uhre could be in South Florida.
"I share the concerns of family and friends over the disappearance of legislative intern Ryan Uhre, who was recently assigned to work in my Tallahassee legislative office,” said Stark. “A 2013 graduate of Florida State University interested in becoming a lawyer, Ryan resided in Weston and his father is a client of my insurance business. In the few days that Ryan has worked with us, he demonstrated exemplary knowledge and performance in all of his tasks.
“According to news reports, Ryan was last seen at about 9 p.m. on Feb. 2 in downtown Tallahassee," Stark added. “Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to contact the Florida State University Police Department at 850-644-1234 or the Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477. My thoughts and prayers are with Ryan and his family, and I sincerely hope that his disappearance will have a positive outcome.”
Small-business owner Maurice “Mo” Pearson is running for the Republican nomination to challenge state Rep. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, in November. Pearson won the backing of four Republicans in the Florida Legislature on Monday as Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, Rep. David Santiago, R-Deltona, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, lined up behind him.
“I am honored to be endorsed by these dedicated members of the Florida Legislature" said Pearson. “These individuals are committed to making a difference in Florida through tireless public service and know what it takes to get the job done. I, too, am committed to working hard to ensure a brighter future for both Florida and Orange County.”
Former state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan is leaving the GOP and joining the Democrats over immigration issues. Rivas Logan is claiming she was pressured by now-Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to back an Arizona-style law in Florida back in 2011 when she was a freshman in Tallahassee.
After redistricting in 2012, Rivas Logan was pitted against fellow state Rep. Jose Feliz Diaz, R-Miami, in the primary but lost the contest. Republicans are insisting Rivas Logan switched parties due to her continued political ambitions.
Rivas Logan is getting national attention, including from the Huffington Post, for her party switch.
Colorado became one of the first states in the country to legalize marijuana at the beginning of the year, but a new Quinnipiac University poll shows more than half of Colorado voters say legalization is bad for the state’s image.
Fifty one percent of voters said legalization is bad for the state’s image, while 38 percent disagreed.
The poll found wide differences among both political parties and age groups, with 73 percent of Republicans saying legalization is bad for the state’s image while a smaller number -- 57 percent -- of Democrats said legalization was good for the state’s image.
When it came to the age of voters, younger voters were more closely divided as to whether legalization was good for the state’s image by a 57 percent to 41 percent divide. Voters over the age of 65, however, overwhelmingly felt marijuana was bad for the state’s image, with 67 percent saying they felt pot wasn’t good for the state’s image.
Nearly three-quarters of voters -- 73 percent -- said it wouldn’t bother them if a neighbor grew pot at home but most voters (81 percent) said they were opposed to changing Colorado’s law to allow people to grow more than 12 marijuana plants in their home.
“Coloradans don’t mind if their neighbors grow a little grass in their living room, but the prospect of big-time grow houses next door is a turnoff,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
From Jan. 29-Feb. 2, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,139 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) looked to link former Gov. Charlie Crist -- the favorite for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott despite spending most of his political life as a Republican -- to President Barack Obama on Monday, marking the fifth anniversary of the then-governor appearing with the president in Fort Myers to back the federal stimulus. Crist will be in Fort Myers on Monday to promote his new political memoir.
"Five years ago today, Charlie Crist, the self-crowned prince of political opportunism, greeted President Obama in Fort Myers with an enthusiastic embrace of his binge-spending policies,” said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, on Monday. “It was the 'hug heard round the world.' Five years later, he's come back to Fort Myers to sell his fiction novel in an attempt to run away from his failed record as governor. Now that Crist has embraced Obamacare -- a law that kills jobs, raises the deficit and caused 300,000 Floridians to lose their health insurance plans -- it's becoming more clear to voters that they can't afford another four years of Charlie."
The RPOF is gathering signatures for a mock card marking the anniversary.
On his national book tour, chameleon Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist told TV talk-show hosts the story of The Obama Hug. Over and over and over. He always followed it, as he did on "Real Time With Bill Maher" Friday night and at the AP media event in Tallahassee on Jan. 29, with some version of "When the president of the United States of America wants to appear with you, you show up. ... My mom and dad always taught me to be respectful ..."
But a Beth Reinhard story in the National Journal Sunday, "Charle Crist Hugs Barack Obama All Over Again," reminds us again that -- well, contrary to mom and dad's tender teachings, back in 2006, on the eve of his election as governor, Charlie declined to appear at a North Florida rally with George W. Bush. "You chickenshit!" Bush adviser Karl Rove bellowed at him, according to Charlie's book "The Party's Over." At that time, Bush's national approval was at 38 percent and the Cristster was keeping his distance.
Reinhard reminds us in a fine story that defines an aspect of his character that if Charlie perceives being in anybody's company on a stage is in his best interest, he'll be there. Period. If he doesn't, watch him slide to the back of the boat like a wet mackerel.
"[Scott] said he was for it, Medicaid expansion, for about 30 seconds. I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not much," Crist said on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown." "Didn't lift a finger to get it passed.
"What are the results? About a million of my fellow Floridians are not getting health care today, and I am told by friends at SIEU (sic) that means that six people in Florida die every day as a result of that."
Sen. John Thrasher, who serves as Scott's campaign chairman, called the comparison "crazy and irresponsible."
"Charlie Crist is coming unglued," said Thrasher. "Is the heat from his association with convicted felon Scott Rothstein getting to Charlie Crist after it was revealed that he may have sold judges in exchange for political contributions? Comparing opposition to any policy to homicide is crazy and irresponsible."
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., doubled down on his support of immigration reform even as he said President Barack Obama has not been helping the cause.
“It's no secret that President Obama has a major credibility problem, whether it's with our allies, the American people, or Congress,” Diaz-Balart said on Thursday. “The president's attitude of selectively enforcing the law has made it more difficult to move immigration reform forward in the House.
“Every day, millions continue to experience the tragedies that result from our broken immigration system -- families are being split up, American children are being separated from their parents, our economy continues to suffer, and our national security is potentially at risk,” Diaz-Balart said. “I still believe we have an opportunity to get this done, and I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that strengthens our borders and our economy and respects the rule of law."
Job gains over the last three months have averaged just 154,000, down from 201,000 in the preceding three. January and December's job growth were the weakest two months of job growth in three years.
According to the report, private employers added 142,000 positions to their payrolls in January, while government at all levels cut 29,000 jobs. Manufacturing jobs saw a gain of 21,000 jobs, while employment in construction increased by 48,000.
Despite a less-than-stellar month for job numbers, the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.6 percent, the lowest it's been since October 2008.
Marihelen Wheeler, a middle-school teacher in Gainesville who ran for the Florida House in 2012, is setting her sights higher as she filed to run against U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
In 2012, Wheeler ran a scrappy campaign but was outspent by primary rival Clovis Watson. However, she did reel in some endorsements, especially from teachers’ unions, including the Alachua County Education Association and the Marion County Education Association. She has also garnered the backing of the Alachua County Young Democrats.
Wheeler took more than 41 percent of the vote against Watson in the primary. But she does not have an open shot at the Democratic nomination as Aquasia Johnson McDowell is already running for that party’s nomination.
Yoho will be a heavy favorite in this Republican-leaning district. Despite his narrow upset win over U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in the 2012 primaries, Yoho appears safe in this North Florida district. He reached out to voters in rural counties across the region to beat Stearns, and he remains strong there.
Clay County, right outside of Jacksonville, is one of the most Republican counties in the state and makes up almost 40 percent of Yoho’s district. Granted, Democrats do better in Gainesville (where Yoho is from) but even a strong showing there won’t be enough to propel a Democrat to victory here. Whoever emerges with the Democratic nomination will be the underdog here.
Paying homage to the '80s video game hit "Carmen Sandiego," Jolly's campaign team asked the following on Thursday:
"Can you help us figure out where Alex Sink is? Here are some clues:
* She may spend a few hours at the Botanical Garden.
* She may be meeting with President Obama to console him after
the CBO report outlined how Obamacare, which Sink supported,
would cost 2.5 million American jobs.
* She will be holding a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi and the D.C.
As it turns out, Sink will be in Washington, D.C., fundraising for her campaign with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a move that's been criticized by Jolly's campaign team and National Republican Congressional Committee alike for paying too much attention to "special interests" of the nation's capital.
Vice President Joe Biden will also be fundraising for Sink next week in Coral Gables.
Jolly and Sink will face off in the general election March 11.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) fell in line behind Republican David Jolly in the special election being held in Pinellas County for the congressional seat held for decades by the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. Jolly takes on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate, and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 general election. SAFE (Save America's Free Enterprise) Trust, NFIB's PAC, endorsed Jolly on Thursday.
"David Jolly understands the challenges facing Florida's small, family-owned businesses and is the clear choice in the special election to represent the 13th District in Congress,” said Bill Herrle, the executive director of NFIB/Florida, on Thursday.
This week, Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) Florida chapter launched a television ad to support U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., for opposing President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. AFP is spending $16,000 to run the ad over the next three weeks. Southerland is a top Democratic target as Gwen Graham, daughter of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, is challenging him in November.
“Americans for Prosperity is committed to holding lawmakers accountable for the terrible consequences of Obamcare, like lost productivity, lost access to trusted doctors, and skyrocketing insurance costs,” said Slade O’Brien, AFP’s Florida director. “But it’s also important to thank those who are taking a difficult stand for their constituents and let them know that when they provide real leadership, we have their backs. That’s the intent of this new ad.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News on Wednesday night, weighing in against President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. Rubio pointed to risk corridors, included in the law, as a major fiscal liability. The interview went as follows:
Rubio: “A risk corridor is basically a program whereby insurers are told, ‘If you participate in this insurance marketplace and you miscalculate the amount of money that it’s going to cost you to insure these people, we will come in and make up for the difference.’ That’s a valid concept in a healthy insurance marketplace. The problem with Obamacare is it is not a regular insurance marketplace. In fact, it’s not an insurance marketplace at all. It’s a high-risk pool where these companies are now guaranteed to lose money because not enough young, healthy people are signing up. And the result is the taxpayers, the people watching this program, are going to see their tax dollars going to private insurance companies to bail them out for their losses.”
Greta Van Susteren: “All right. To put it another way, I always think of insurance companies like gambling. And it’s like an insurance company going to Vegas and they say that, ‘If you lose over $100, we will make the back end so you don’t have to pay more than the $100 lost.’ Is that sort of the idea of a risk corridor? It limits the amount of your loss?”
Rubio: “It is. But it limits the amount of your loss for companies that miscalculate. In a regular, normal, healthy insurance marketplace, most companies are not going to do that. You’re just going to have a handful of anomalies that in any given year had something happen and they lost a lot of money. And so this reinsures against that risk. The problem is that with Obamacare it’s not just one or two companies, it’s going to be virtually every company in the exchanges losing money.”
Van Susteren: “I guess when you say the anomaly versus the non-anomaly that you’re making the comparison to Medicare Part D, which also has that risk pool. And which many Republicans supported because they thought that was a more predictable pool. Is that the difference? I mean, I know you differentiate between Obamacare risk corridor and Medicare Part D.”
Rubio: “So Medicare Part D deals with a pool of enrollees that we understand very well. It’s seniors. It’s drug use, the prescription drug use. And we know what those patterns are and so companies could price it. With the Obamacare exchanges, it’s broad, it’s open-ended and it’s very unpredictable. That’s why all these companies are being downgraded by Moody’s, because their initial filings early this year showed they expect to lose a lot of money because, as we predicted, young, healthy adults are not signing up in sufficient numbers for the exchanges.”
Van Susteren: “All right. So we wouldn’t even get into this risk corridor problem if Obamacare met its numbers or predictions in terms of young, healthy people signing up to pay for the older, not so healthy people. Is that correct?”
Rubio: “That’s right. I mean, there might be a couple of companies here or there that may have miscalculated, but you wouldn’t have this industry-wide problem that we’re now going to face. And the result is, in my opinion, there are going to be billions of dollars of taxpayer money needed over the next three years to bail out companies that miscalculated. And there’s going to be a lot of them.”
Van Susteren: “All right, well it hasn’t happened yet. And I realize that your legislation is because you predict it is going to happen because of the preliminary numbers showing that young, healthy people are not signing up. But I’m curious, what do you want to do?”
Rubio: “Well, I think this should be repealed. This shouldn’t be in the law. We shouldn’t be having any sort of mechanism where companies that are guaranteed to fail are going to be bailed out through taxpayer dollars. And by the way, that was already going to happen at some level. It is now really going to happen because the president has lawlessly decided which parts of Obamacare to implement and which parts not to implement. The result is even less young, healthy people are signing up for the program.”
Van Susteren: “Without taking a position on whether I’m for it or against it, I’m curious, if you were successful in repealing it -- and I know it’s in the House and in the Senate, but it seems unlikely because it’s not going to go through the Senate -- but even if you were able to repeal it, what happens then? Because these insurance companies have all made bad bets based on numbers and so they are going to have an enormous problem. They’ve got to get the cash some place, or frankly they’re going to have real money problems.”
Rubio: “Well that’s right. But again, many of these insurance companies were for Obamacare when it first came out. They thought this was going to be a huge bonanza for them. So they got involved in pushing for the law, advocating for the law. Many of them were at the table when it was drawn up. But of course, they always counted on this money being there for them on the back end. That’s not right. That isn’t fair that people and companies who can afford to hire lobbyists come up here and figure out a way to get the taxpayers to bail them out for a program that doesn’t work, was never going to work and is now worse than ever.”
Van Susteren: “And of course, you can always tell with some of these things like the risk corridor, it isn’t written that if by some wild chance a lot of young, healthy people sign up, many more than anyone had expected, so they made a lot of extra money, the taxpayers wouldn’t be getting any of that extra money on the back end. Isn’t that true?”
Rubio: “Not only is that true, but a lot of this extra money that you are talking about is money that is government money, it’s taxpayer money anyway. Because don’t forget that these exchanges are partially funded, significantly funded, by money that’s coming through the subsidies that Obamacare provides. So, in essence, it’s already taxpayer money that’s flowing into these companies and flowing into these plans.”
Van Susteren: “Let me say one thing though. This is a one-time deal, right? This is a sunset provision? This isn’t going to go on forever, this risk corridor?”
Rubio: “It’s for the first three years of the program. But again, TARP was a one-time deal and some of the other bailouts were a one-time deal. My bigger point is this: If Obamacare is so flawed that it needs to be bailed out with billions of dollars of taxpayer money, then it shouldn’t be done. The law shouldn’t exist. And this is one more example of why Obamacare is bad for the country and bad for taxpayers.”
Former Gov. Charlie Crist is continuing to make the rounds on national news shows as he pushes his new memoir which explains why he left the Republican ranks to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 with no party affiliation. Crist joined the Democrats in December 2012 and is his new party’s front-runner to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) continues to pound Crist and looks to link him to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law which polls badly in Florida.
"President Obama must be very happy with Charlie Crist, his No. 1 supporter of Obamacare,” said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, on Thursday. “Charlie isn't just using his cable television appearances to further his national brand; his book tour has also become cheerleading sessions for a law that the Congressional Budget Office just reported would cut 2.3 million jobs and add to the deficit. Charlie Crist truly is Obama's favorite Democrat."
An invitation obtained by CNN says the vice president will be headed to Coral Gables, 280 miles away from Pinellas County.
Sink is facing off against Republican David Jolly for the seat in Congress, which was left vacant after Bill Young's death in October.
The general election will be held March 11.
The University of Florida released a poll of registered voters on Wednesday which shows former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite spending most of his career as a Republican, leading Gov. Rick Scott 47 percent to 40 percent.
The poll finds Scott doing better against other Democratic candidates. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., leads Scott 46 percent to 42 percent. Scott has the edge over former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, beating her 41 percent to 36 percent. Rich has been in the race since April 2012 while Nelson has left the door open to running but has downplayed speculation that he will challenge Scott.
The poll shows Florida voters look back fondly at Crist’s term in office with 63 percent approving it while 27 percent disapproved of his tenure. Voters are divided on Scott’s time in office with 46 percent disapproving of it and 45 percent approving of it.
The poll of 1,006 registered voters was taken from Jan. 27-Feb. 1 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
“This new website is critical to continuing our economic development success and communicating the support EFI offers to Florida businesses through international trade,” said Gray Swoope, secretary of commerce and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Florida has the resources that companies are looking for, from a strong and diverse workforce to a top-ranked infrastructure and global access. This new site makes it easier for companies to learn more about Florida’s stature as a business superstate, as well as the services EFI offers.”
The new site will feature a preview of the first-ever Florida sites and buildings database. EFI is working with its statewide partners to catalog available properties for economic development projects. The database will be completed at the end of March.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November despite his many years in the Republican ranks, defended President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law on Tuesday night when he appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” to promote his new memoir. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) fired back at Crist on Wednesday morning, looking to link him to the law which continues to poll poorly in Florida.
"Charlie Crist is using his book tour to double down on Obamacare, but this new law doubles down on our record deficits while also hurting our economy,” said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF. “For a governor who had one of the worst jobs records in the entire country during the recession, it's no surprise that Charlie Crist supports a failed law that will kill millions of jobs in America."
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., is intensfying his attacks on President Barack Obama. Despite losing to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012, West, a favorite of the tea party movement, has left the door open to a political comeback in 2016 though he has shut the door to running in 2014.
West emailed supporters late Tuesday on Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly from Fox News on Sunday.
“Not surprisingly, the president refused to answer any questions. He wouldn't even make a prediction for which team would win the Super Bowl,” West wrote. “I'm sick and tired of Barack Obama's ‘pass the blame’ game. It's time this president comes clean and takes responsibility for the failures that have happened on his watch: unimpressive job growth, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and all aspects of Obamacare.
“At one point, President Obama asked Bill O'Reilly point blank, ‘what are you (Fox News) going to do when I'm gone?’ Perhaps we'll repair our broken economy and put Americans back to work,” West continued. "Or maybe we'll reverse his welfare nanny-state expansion. Who knows? We could go crazy and restore our defense capability and regain our global respect that has been so tarnished by his weakness! The possibilities are endless. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face. America deserves better.”
A poll released by Gravis on Wednesday finds Florida voters are close to passing a proposed state constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana use but it also shows opposition to aspects of it.
The poll finds 57 percent of those surveyed plan to back the proposed amendment while 31 percent say they will vote against it and 11 percent are undecided. The amendment needs 60 percent support in the November elections to pass.
But the poll finds Florida voters believe medical marijuana should generally be used for more severe conditions. Only 46 percent support the use of medical marijuana for people with minor medical conditions while 39 percent oppose it. Asked about whether medical marijuana should be used to treat nonserious conditions, including constant pain, menstrual cramps and anxiety, 60 percent of Florida voters opposed the idea while only 21 percent backed it. Only 26 percent of Floridians believe marijuana should be legal in all cases while 66 oppose across-the-board legalization.
The poll does offer some hope to opponents of the proposed amendment. A majority of those surveyed -- 54 percent -- said they would oppose the medical marijuana amendment if they are convinced it violates federal law, while 27 percent say they would continue to support it.
Gravitas also found Florida voters could turn against the amendment if opponents play up children's access to medical marijuana.
“The current medical marijuana amendment does not differentiate between children and adults,” Gravitas told poll participants. “Children will be able to get access to medical marijuana without parental permission or without their knowledge. Knowing this, would you vote yes or no on the amendment?”
Phrased that way, 64 percent of Florida voters oppose the amendment while 26 percent support it.
Gravitas also found the proposed amendment could be sunk by having a loophole over caregivers.
“Supporters of this amendment say that they are providing medical treatment to persons in need, but this amendment also authorizes caregivers to assist in medical marijuana use,” Gravitas told poll participants. “There are no standards for caregivers and the language would permit drug addicts, drug dealers or felons to assist in smoking pot. Knowing this, would you vote yes or no on the amendment?”
After being told this, Florida voters broke against the proposed amendment with 67 percent opposing it and 25 percent supporting it.
The poll of 808 registered Florida voters was taken from Jan. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
A poll released by Gravis on Wednesday shows Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi ahead of two Democratic rivals.
Bondi takes 44 percent when matched against former DCF Secretary George Sheldon who follows with 36 percent. Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, who is expected to be the Libertarian candidate, takes 4 percent while 16 percent are undecided.
When matched against House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, Bondi leads by a similar margin, taking 45 percent while the Democrat garners 36 percent. Wohlsifer moves up to 6 percent while 12 percent are undecided.
The poll of 808 registered Florida voters was taken from Jan. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
A poll released by Gravis on Wednesday finds a tight battle in the Florida gubernatorial contest.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite spending most of his political career as a Republican, leads the race with 47 percent followed by Gov. Rick Scott right on his heels with 43 percent. Adrian Wyllie, the favorite to be the Libertarian nominee, garners 3 percent.
The poll of 808 registered Florida voters was taken from Jan. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
A picture really is worth a thousand words -- especially if it's a cartoon. Thanks, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, for yours on Tuesday.
But S-S writer Chan Lowe gets the words right, too, in his biting analysis of why Charlie Crist won't debate Nan Rich.
Why? Because a) he doesn't have to ("It’s the front-runner’s job to dismiss the idea, but to do so in such a way that he or she doesn’t look craven.") and b) he doesn't want to ("... Charlie’s allegiance to the Democratic Party is on the shallow side; in his mind, the party is more of a vehicle to attain his ambitions for a dramatic redemption and comeback than a philosophy to be embraced.") In a debate, he knows that would show.
You have to love the stark honesty throughout, but especially in the last paragraph:
"Charlie has one overarching political philosophy, which is to do what most benefits Charlie Crist’s future. His success in this endeavor depends on how well he’s able to convince Floridians that his interests and theirs dovetail. Since they don’t do so in the case of spurning a debate with his primary opponent, Crist’s next best strategy is to distract Democratic voters by raising the horrifying specter of a Scott re-election."
Sorry, Democrats looking for a "healthy exchange" between your primary candidates. Probably ain't gonna happen.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., introduced The Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act in their respective chambers on Tuesday.
Ross and Inhofe's bill would establish a new tax-preferred savings account for the purpose of "fortifying a residence property" (i.e., house, condo, apartment) in preparation for an impending natural disaster. The bill would also establish a new tax-preferred savings account for rebuilding and damage expenses.
Under the bill, a homeowner could contribute up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax dollars to be used for DSA-qualified expenses and the balance would roll over at the end of each year. The DSA account would also allow homeowners to utilize the funds for uninsured personal casualty losses for the home.
“One common thread joins all of us across the nation and that’s the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities when a natural disaster strikes,” said Rep. Ross. “This legislation provides critical relief to Americans in disaster-prone states, allowing them to save pre-tax money for use toward disaster preparation and recovery expenses. Ultimately, this type of saving will reduce future federal costs to taxpayers since every dollar spent on mitigation can save up to $4 in future disaster recovery spending. It’s important that we incentivize Americans to build a safety net in the event of personal catastrophic losses from high-cost disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The DSA Act is a common-sense, proactive solution that will help keep families safe, their property protected, and will give Floridians and all Americans more control of their money.”
The bill was hailed by fellow Republicans in the Sunshine State.
“I commend Congressman Ross on his innovative approach to solving what has become a financial difficulty for many taxpayers," said Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City. "This approach values personal and financial responsibility in the spirit of our American culture and is far less costly to the federal government/taxpayers than would be future bail-outs of ill-advised government programs.”
Two possible 2016 presidential candidates from different sides of the political aisle -- U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. -- teamed up on Tuesday to propose a bill protecting veterans from con men. The bill would make the federal Department of Veterans Affairs work with state and federal agencies to stop con men who are diverting federal aid away from veterans.
“Our veterans have courageously defended our country and protected our freedoms, and they deserve the utmost respect after their service,” said Rubio on Tuesday. “That’s why it is necessary to stop older veterans from being the target of scams and predatory practices. These heroes deserve better, and we will always appreciate their brave service and sacrifice.”
“For thousands of our oldest veterans who need help with basic daily activities, the Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline,” said Warren. “Unfortunately, scams are turning the program into something that can actually undermine the financial security of our older veterans and waste federal funds. This bipartisan proposal will help put an end to these financial scams and ensure that we honor our veterans’ commitment, sacrifice, and service to the nation.”
Former Gov. Buddy MacKay endorsed former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich to take on Gov. Rick Scott in November. Rich is the underdog against former Gov. Charlie Crist for the Democratic nomination despite Crist joining the party in December 2012 after spending most of his political career as a Republican.
Now 80, MacKay has been active in Florida politics for decades. First elected to the Florida House in 1968, he was elected to the state Senate in 1974 before being elected to Congress in 1982 after a failed bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 1980. When MacKay stepped up to run for the U.S. Senate in 1988, he was defeated by Republican Connie Mack. MacKay bounced back in 1990 when he was elected lieutenant governor as Lawton Chiles’ running mate. Despite losing to Republican Jeb Bush in the 1998 gubernatorial election, MacKay would serve three weeks as governor after Chiles died in December of that year.
The veteran Democrat insisted Rich was the “one true Democrat in the race,” as opposed to Crist, and praised her liberal credentials.
“We need a strong Democrat to lead Florida again, and Nan Rich is the one true Democrat in the race for governor,” MacKay said on Tuesday. “I’ve known Nan since before she was first elected to the Legislature. We worked together on many issues to improve the lives of children and families. In the Legislature, we could always count on her to be an effective advocate for public schools, seniors, and social justice issues. Nan Rich has the skills and experience we need to lead Florida and get our state back on the right track. She has my support – and she’ll have my vote on Election Day.”