Editorial: Florida’s neglected priorities

Tampa Bay Times Editorial

Monday, November 25, 2013 5:20pm

Gov. Rick Scott’s budget priorities for next year don’t add up — and it’s not just his numbers that don’t make sense. With the economic picture brightening, Florida should be reinvesting after years of devastating spending cuts that hurt higher education, social services and law enforcement. Yet the governor wants to keep starving government and hand a half-billion dollars in tax breaks to special interests.

Scott issued a position paper this fall calling for $500 million in unspecified tax cuts and $100 million more in state spending cuts for 2014-15. Never mind that Florida cut $9 billion in spending in recent years because of the recession and home mortgage crisis that caused dramatic drops in tax revenue. Never mind the state still spends less per public school student than it did before the economic collapse, or that the portion of higher education costs covered by the state has been declining while college tuition has been rising. Never mind there is little or no money to meet the demand for new roads, to fix and repair schools, or to buy environmentally sensitive land.

While Scott jets around Florida in his private plane to brag about promised jobs in return for business tax breaks, the state faces more than one expensive crisis. Two examples: At least 20 children known to the Department of Children and Families have died since April, primarily from abuse or neglect, and the child-protection system needs an overhaul. And the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie River and its estuary are being polluted by an algae slime caused in part by polluted water released from Lake Okeechobee. Legislators are looking at spending a few hundred million dollars to help clean up that environmental mess.

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John F. Kennedy

We were innocent. We left the years of “old” presidents behind. For a brief moment, time was limitless and full of promise. Even a moon landing seemed plausible. Then President Kennedy was assassinated. On this 50th anniversary of his death, people my age will remember where they were. I was in my fifth grade class. The only room with a television. We sat and watched. We went home speechless, almost disbelieving what we witnessed. Later came Vietnam, the killings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and then Watergate. For most of us, we were never quite as “young” again.

Mitch Ceasar
Broward County Democratic Executive Committee Chair

Rick Scott Includes Stump Speech In Taxpayer Funded Letters To New Attorneys?



Last month Rick Scott began sending out taxpayer funded letters to those receiving new or renewed business licenses in Florida. Those letters, which at the time, numbered 425,596, echoed Rick Scott campaign talking points and stated his “goals” for Florida: Making Florida the “No. 1 place for business,” lowering the cost of living, and making sure school’s “prepare students for the career or college of their dreams.” That he would appear to be using taxpayer funded letters to campaign prompted the group Florida For All to file a Freedom Of Information Act request to ask just that question.

Now Scott is up to the same thing elsewhere.

This time he’s sending out similar taxpayer funded letters to new attorneys as they are admitted to the Florida Bar. The letters devote only a small space for the stated purpose of congratulations, while the remaining space is used to explain how awesome Rick Scott is for Florida, and he claims the state was losing jobs before he came to the rescue. Now, he doesn’t mention any names in the letter, but members of the Florida Bar are smart enough to put two and two together.

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Democrats Rein In Senate Filibusters

Wall Street Journal
Updated Nov. 21, 2013 10:54 p.m. ET

A bitterly divided Senate voted Thursday to eliminate filibusters for most presidential nominees, a momentous and politically risky step that limits the ability of Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s choices for executive-branch and most judicial posts.

The change gives Mr. Obama more flexibility to shape the federal judiciary and to staff his administration for the remaining years of his presidency. But it could hand more power to Republicans if the GOP should win the White House and control of the Senate.

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Mitch Ceasar on MSNBC’s The Ed Show


Fighting for Florida’s right to vote

11/18/13 06:32PM
Florida plays a key role in the majority of national elections. Charlie Crist promises to protect voters right in the swing state. Ed Schultz and panel discuss.

Broward Democratic Party Now Accepts Online Donations!

Frankel gains clout on Everglades, port legislation

Congresswoman Lois Frankel

By William E. Gibson
South Florida Sun Sentinel
South Florida Congresswoman Lois Frankel will get a chance to sway the final results of a major nationwide water-projects bill that includes funding for Everglades restoration and, potentially, expansion of Port Everglades.

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GOP “gotcha” getting old

Sun-Sentinel Letters to the Editor
by Bruce David Wilner
October 29, 2013

In the latest Republican attempt at an Obama administration “gotcha,” it has now been revealed that “Joe Somebody” warned his management about the 2012 Benghazi crisis way ahead of time. Naturally, the Republicans seized upon this like a famished dog seizing a steak.

Of course, the Republicans fail to note that all day, every day, government employees are “warning” their management about this or that. Perhaps one percent of these dire warnings end up materializing.

But when some spectacular fallout or some five-cent misstep is evidenced, the Republicans are there like the Walking Dead to snap it up in a futile attempt to embarrass the Obama administration.

It is so very unfortunate that the Republicans have degenerated into the Petulance Party. You know, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Theodore Roosevelt was a Republican. Today’s folks are not of such standing.

But it is so very, very entertaining to see Fox’s array of multi-millionnaire co-hosts carping and sniping about this miscellaneous nonsense.

Read the original letter here.

Congressmen Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings Release Statements on Cuts to Food Stamps


Congressman Deutch

“Today, the 3.52 million Floridians and 48 million Americans nationwide who rely on SNAP to avoid going hungry will see their benefits go down as $5 billion in cuts take effect. These cuts result from the expiration of anti-hunger funding included in the Recovery Act, but we cannot forget that for these families, the economic recovery has yet to arrive, and putting food on the table remains a challenge. The fact that 87 percent of SNAP recipients live in households with children, seniors, or disabled Americans drives home how this assistance goes to those who need it most.

“As these families cope with more hardship and more hunger in the wake of this $5 billion cut, leaders in the House and Senate are beginning to negotiate the terms of a new farm bill that could include anywhere between $4 and $40 billion in additional cuts to SNAP. The best way to reduce spending under SNAP is to pass legislation that will actually create jobs and grow paychecks so that millions of Americans do not have to scrape by on SNAP benefits.

“Unfortunately, instead of passing a jobs bill, or a minimum wage increase, or immigration reform, Washington is busy debating how much less we are willing to help families who struggle with hunger in our communities on a daily basis.”


Congressman HastingsCongressman Hastings

“Starting today, American families struggling to make ends meet will have one more thing to worry about. The $5 billion cut to SNAP benefits will impact 1 in 7 Americans, including seniors, the disabled, children, and low-wage working Americans. For these families and individuals, the cuts will literally keep food off of the table.

“This cut will force some of the hungriest people in our country to forego up to 21 meals every single month. Yet, Republicans remain determined to cut even more from the program. Just two months ago, House Republicans pushed through legislation to cut $39 billion from SNAP, nearly 10 times the amount agreed to in the bi-partisan compromise passed in the Senate.

“SNAP benefits are critical for the 47 million people that receive them. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to oppose cuts to SNAP and support legislation that makes it easier for Americans to provide for themselves and their families.”

In Florida, Wasserman-Schultz responds to GOP attacks on health law

By Patricia Borns, MiamiHerald.com

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a breast cancer survivor, used her personal experience Thursday to fire back at Republicans for their attacks on the Obama administration’s health reform program. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/31/3723785/in-florida-wasserman-schultz-responds.html#storylink=cpy