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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
April 3rd, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Mike Bates in Pensacola News Journal: Florida’s New 2nd Amendment Restrictions Shamefully Unconstitutional
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Writing in the Pensacola News Journal, WEBY 1330 radio host Mike Bates offers potent commentary regarding Florida’s new Second Amendment restrictions:

Although well intended, the law’s exemption that permits 18- to 20-year-old military personnel to buy firearms is an outrageous provision.  Does the government of Florida really believe that military personnel deserve special constitutional rights that are denied to civilians?  Should constitutional rights be earned through military service and denied to those who do not serve?  That’s what the new Florida law does.”

He concludes with a stirring call to action and citizen involvement:

If we are not steadfast in defense of our liberties, the politicians and judges will destroy our constitutional rights.  It won’t occur through outright repeals;  it will happen by rendering our rights meaningless through unconstitutional laws and court rulings.  It is an obligation of all decent citizens to prevent that.  The government of Florida has already shown it will not.  It’s disgraceful.”

Read the entire piece here.

April 23rd, 2015 at 3:19 pm
Obama Admin Also Pressuring Kansas, Tennessee to Expand Medicaid or Lose Funds

First Florida, then Texas, and now Kansas and Tennessee have been told by the Obama administration that unless they expand Medicaid under the rules laid out in ObamaCare the federal government will withhold payments from local hospitals.

Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott is so angry at the move he’s promised to sue the Obama administration for violating a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the feds from conditioning Medicaid funding on ObamaCare expansion.

Yet this is precisely what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is doing. According to Kaiser Health News, CMS “confirmed Tuesday that it gave officials in [Kansas and Tennessee] the same message that had been delivered to Texas and Florida about the risk to funding for so-called ‘uncompensated care pools’ – Medicaid money that helps pay the cost of care for the uninsured.”

“Medicaid expansion would reduce uncompensated care in the state, and therefore have an impact on the [Low-Income Pool], which is why the state’s expansion status is an important consideration in our approach regarding extending the LIP beyond June,” a CMS official warned.

The reason states have resisted expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare is that it transforms a program currently helping discrete populations – e.g. pregnant women, the disabled, elderly, blind, and children from needy families – into a universal, taxpayer-funded health insurance program for every person earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That change translates into large amounts of new spending that will eventually lead to increased state taxes.

By making a state’s refusal to expand Medicaid a factor in deciding whether Medicaid dollars will continue to flow, the Obama administration is directly flouting a prohibition handed down by a 7-2 Supreme Court majority (liberal Justices Kagan and Breyer sided with their five more conservative colleagues). If the Supreme Court wants to ensure that its rulings will be taken seriously, it should fast-track Florida’s lawsuit and let the Obama administration know it must follow the law.

May 9th, 2014 at 1:35 pm
Liberal Pundit Debunks Crist’s Make-Believe Racism Charge

By now you may have heard about Charlie Crist saying he left the Florida Republican Party because of racism.

The former Florida Republican Governor and one-time U.S. Senate candidate rationalized his switch to the Democratic Party this way: “I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there. I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”

In reality, what really pushed Crist into the Democratic Party was a 40 point swing in his poll numbers relative to a Republican state representative named Marco Rubio.  In the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary, Rubio pummeled Crist with the latter’s liberal gubernatorial record. Crist’s anti-conservative tendencies included voting to increase state spending, appointing liberal justices to the state supreme court and vetoing legislation to link teacher pay to student test scores. All this and Crist still claimed in a debate with Rubio that, “I think we can both agree we’re both good conservatives.”

As liberal pundit Chris Cillizza explains, Crist’s party switch was driven by the failure of his actions to align with GOP orthodoxy, not racism. And lest we forget, Florida Republicans voted for the Hispanic Rubio over the Anglo Crist; hardly the result one would expect if racial considerations dominate GOP thinking.

Fundamentally, Crist is dogged by skepticism that he has any core principles worth fighting for. That, and not some imaginary racial bias, is what made Florida GOP voters reject his bid to go to Washington. Now that Crist is seeking his old job as governor under the Democratic label, Sunshine State liberals should be equally as suspicious of statements that seem to align with their ideology. As Crist has proven time and again, he’ll say anything to get elected.

February 21st, 2014 at 7:42 am
ObamaCare: Less Choice, Rising Premiums and Broken Promises
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In an interview with CFIF, Abigail MacIver, Florida Director of Policy and External Affairs at Americans for Prosperity, discusses how Americans are losing access to trusted doctors and facing higher premiums and deductibles, and why state lawmakers should be held accountable for ObamaCare.

Listen to the interview here.

July 22nd, 2013 at 5:30 pm
Elizabeth Warren Errs Again with ‘Stand Your Ground’ Comment

If you wanted to know what a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts thinks about a Florida murder trial, the Huffington Post has you covered.

Speaking to the press in South Boston today, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said that while she thinks people should accept George Zimmerman’s acquittal in Trayvon Martin’s shooting death, it is reasonable to criticize ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.

Except that it’s completely unreasonable in Zimmerman’s case. As I pointed out in my column last week, Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law played absolutely no part in the trial for either the prosecution or the defense. Instead, Zimmerman argued that once Martin started beating him he was entitled to use deadly force to defend himself. Zimmerman relied on traditional self-defense, not ‘Stand Your Ground’ – a law which drops the requirement that a person reasonably fearing death or great bodily injury must first try to escape before engaging his attacker.

This isn’t the first time Senator Warren has played fast and loose with the facts. For decades she (at best) made misleading assertions about her alleged Native American ancestry, allowing her to get plumb academic jobs at Penn and Harvard Law ahead of other more qualified candidates. Earlier this year, Warren claimed that her brother lived solely on his Social Security checks – a claim she walked back after admitting that she and her millionaire husband give him assistance.

And so on with today’s politicization of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

Warren, like other liberal elites, is turning a tragedy into an activist agenda to repeal a law that played no part in Martin’s death. It would be comical if it didn’t betray a serious disregard for reality. Warren and friends need to stop directing anger at the wrong source, and start acting with the competence and prudence their high offices demand.

March 12th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
Florida’s ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion on Hold

Republicans in the Florida house and senate have rejected Governor Rick Scott’s plan to expand the state’s Medicaid population.  Under ObamaCare, states are promised three years worth of federal funding to cover the cost increases.  Last week, Scott reversed his earlier opposition and accepted those terms.

The move by Florida’s Republican legislators is a welcome corrective to the knee-buckling capitulation of Scott and other GOP governors.  Borrowing a play out of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals, State Senator Joe Negron is using his no vote to pivot in a new direction.

“This will be the beginning of a transformation of the entire Medicaid system,” committee Chairman Sen. Joe Negron said. “My goal is that we will get out of the federal Medicaid system as we know it. Now, we can’t do that all at once, but we have an opportunity to begin that process.”

Negron wants the state to create a basic health insurance plan for the expanded Medicaid population and require recipients to pay a sliding scale premium based on their income. He suggested using Florida Healthy Kids, a managed care program that provides health insurance to low-income children, as the vehicle for delivering the new system.

Negron and his colleagues are showing real policy leadership.  Now that Scott’s dash for cash is on hold, it’s time for the former health care executive to rediscover his private sector creativity and help Negron put Florida on a path toward sustainable social safety net spending.

H/T: Tampa Bay Online

February 23rd, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Florida Joins Dark Side on Medicaid Expansion

With all due respect to Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, and as a fan of his website I mean that sincerely, I couldn’t disagree more with his defense of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s decision to accept ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.

Like other Republican governors who’ve flipped on the issue, Scott announced last week that even though he remains philosophically opposed to ObamaCare, he would accept at least the law’s Medicaid expansion for the next three years because federal taxpayers – not the state – would pick up the entire price tag.  Like many of the other capitulators, Scott claims that because the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare constitutional, it doesn’t make financial sense for Florida residents to pay for ObamaCare through fees and penalties while other Medicaid-expanding states reap a windfall.

Ruddy defends Scott’s about-face with two arguments I don’t find compelling.

The first:

Scott has also made it clear that he has not agreed to continue the Medicaid expansion beyond three years, when federal funding will drop to 90 percent, and Florida could opt out at that point.

Let’s get real.  Once a state accepts more federal dollars and grows a politically sensitive program like Medicaid, the trend is to grow, not cut back.

Moreover, Scott’s calculation betrays a canny reading of the political calendar.  He’s up for reelection in November 2014, but will get credit for expanding Medicaid at no cost to state taxpayers in January of that year.  If successful in his bid, Scott can continue to enjoy favorable press until January 2017 when the federal largesse starts receding and Floridians start feeling the cost of all that “free” healthcare.  But by the time that happens Scott will be wrapping up his second term, and handing off that political football to a predecessor.

Which brings us to Ruddy’s other unpersuasive argument:

So governors like Scott and [Arizona’s Jan] Brewer have to put aside their personal views and accept the reality of the situation.

Since when do conviction conservatives want one of their own – as the Tea Party-backed Rick Scott claimed to be in 2010 – to “put aside their personal views” in favor of growing government?

The “reality of the situation” with ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is that it’s completely voluntary.  Any governor that accepts its terms is intentionally saddling his or her state’s future taxpayers with a costly new entitlement that will be impossible to scale back through the political process.

After all, if politicians like Scott can’t weather the storm of saying no to entitlement increases when they don’t even exist, how does it pass the laugh test to think he’ll have the political courage to scale back when the feds re-impose reality?

To be fair, Ruddy isn’t alone trying to defend the indefensible.  Charles Krauthammer is singing a similar tune.  But again, with all due respect, it’s just not true that you can claim to be a fiscal conservative and then capitulate on something as basic as a budget-busting expansion of Medicaid.

February 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Could a Higher Sales Tax Lead to Less Expensive Government?

A Governing.com blog post by finance writer Liz Farmer includes a little history lesson for conservative governors looking to swap income tax cuts for higher sales taxes.  In order to avoid a massive drop-off in tax revenue in such a scenario, states would be obliged to not only increase their sales tax rate, but expand it beyond goods to include services as well.

But an example from Florida’s recent past gives reason to pause:

Expanding the sales base to include services would address both of those issues. However, getting that idea past the powerful lobbies that advocate for the affected industries is another question. In 1987, the Florida Legislature enacted an expanded sales tax on services like including advertising, legal, accounting and construction services. The move was met with enormous outcry. Major corporations like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble canceled or reduced their advertising in the state to protest the tax while business groups canceled at least 60 conventions they had booked in the state. The tax lasted just six months until it was repealed and the legislature instead voted to raise the sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent, a rate that is still in effect today.

It’s worth noting that a tax expert quoted in the blog confirms that income taxes are the most destructive tax because they create a disincentive to build wealth.  However, as the experience in Florida shows, a workable sales tax runs the risk of becoming quickly unpopular once consumers start seeing the true cost of government on every commercial transaction.

Assuming some states do enact the income-for-sales-tax swap, maybe the sticker shock will prompt another round of reform; one that perhaps lets third-party vendors compete for government contracts to deliver services at a fraction of what it costs to fund a bureaucracy.

August 13th, 2012 at 12:17 pm
The Ryan Pick
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Count me pleasantly surprised by Saturday’s announcement that Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan as his running mate. Given the risk-averse nature the Romney campaign had demonstrated up to this point, I was expecting the choice to be bland and uninspiring — my foremost guesses having been Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty (for what it’s worth, multiple reports seem to indicate that Romney’s final choice came down to those two and Ryan). Ryan, who truly has been the intellectual leader of the Republican Party for the past several years, is a vastly superior choice to either of those two.

I have no idea how the politics of this play out. It seems to me that the fears that liberal demagoguery of the Ryan budget could cost Romney Florida are well-founded, given the state’s huge population of seniors. Minus the Sunshine State, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States in January. I also remain skeptical that, even with Ryan on the ticket, Wisconsin will elude Obama’s grasp this time (I hope I’m wrong about this, but it seems to me that the conservative commentariat has been excessively enthusiastic about prospects for flipping the Badger State ever since the Scott Walker recall).

These are not causes for despair necessarily, but cautionary notes as we begin the campaign in earnest after Labor Day. The Romney campaign — not known heretofore for its exceptional messaging skills — has just given itself perhaps the most daunting communications task in the history of modern American presidential elections. This election will no longer be a backwards-looking discussion about Barack Obama’s stewardship of the American economy over the past four years; instead it will be a 90-day symposium about what the “social contract” (a phrase I loathe, but one that will carry the day) will look like in 21st Century America.

The advantage that Romney and Ryan have is that their vision — reining in spending, empowering individuals, reducing the debt, and reasserting individual responsibility — is the only one that is viable in the long-term. The advantage that Obama and Biden have is that their vision — an unsustainable status quo that cossets Americans from responsibility and hides the calamitous costs of the welfare state — is much less psychologically disruptive, a trait that (sadly) goes a long way in winning over a substantial portion of the electorate.

The stakes of this election have just become enormous. This is no longer about whether Mitt Romney will become president or not. It’s now about whether the conservative vision for arresting America’s decline will receive popular ratification. And there are only 12 weeks to make the case. With the smartest, most articulate defender of the conservative alternative now on the ticket, we’re about to run out of excuses. If we can’t win this time, the resultant chaos will make the aftermath of the 2008 election look like a garden party.

August 3rd, 2012 at 10:09 am
Podcast: Florida Secretary of State Defends Effort to Crack Down on Voter Fraud
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In an interview with CFIF, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner defends his state’s efforts to purge the rolls of ineligible voters and discusses the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant the state access to the SAVE database.

Listen to the interview here.

May 26th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Jeb Bush for 2012 VP?

Writing for The Atlantic, veteran Florida political reporter S.V. Date says don’t rule out former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) as the go-to vice presidential pick for whomever wins the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.  With the son and brother of former presidents wary of topping a ticket so close to the last Bush era, Date speculates that Bush would probably say yes to second billing because of how it would position him as an eventual frontrunner.

Unsaid in Date’s blog but equally true is the huge amount of reassurance putting Jeb on the ticket would create.  So far, the Republican field is filled with candidates who lack the other Bush’s combination of executive experience, Hispanic ties and intimacy with presidential politics.  The only problem with putting Bush on the ticket might be getting overshadowed.  But if it increases the chances of winning, it’s a chance any nominee should be willing to take.

May 18th, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Huntsman Still Denying the Obvious

The Jon Huntsman presidential campaign-in-waiting is starting to strain itself into high comedy.  Today, the Orlando Sentinel reports that a spokesman for Huntsman’s political action committee announced both a location and a director to lead Huntsman’s presidential campaign – if the former governor and ambassador decides to run.

Former Jeb Bush aide Nikki Lowery – and potential Orlando, Florida director – said, “I will be honored to be a part of [Huntsman’s] team if he decides to run.”  Supposedly, the same holds true for Lowery’s last potential presidential campaign employer: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

The most laughable quote from the Sentinel’s update comes from Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye who promises:

“Should my husband decide to run I’m so happy that we’ll get to spend time where I have deep roots,” her statement said. “Orlando has always had a special place in my heart and I’m very excited about the prospect of our campaign headquarters being located there.”

Ever since Huntsman’s name appeared in a Newsweek profile revealing speculation about a presidential run, Huntsman and his associates have tried valiantly to spread the tale that a team of campaign veterans just so happened to spontaneously assemble at the exact time Huntsman announced his surprise resignation as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.  Hardly.

I understand that campaign finance laws and the meager benefits of formally announcing a presidential bid auger against stepping out of the charade and onto the campaign trail, but Huntsman is already making swings through early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The man is running for president.  It’s time he admits it.

February 9th, 2011 at 1:00 pm
Florida Governor Cuts Budget, Modernizes Pensions

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott unveiled his much-anticipated budget proposal on Monday in front of a crowd teeming with Tea Party activists.  Slashing $4.6 billion from last year’s budget, Scott takes aim at many sacred cows.  AOL News lists the five most controversial:

(1)   10% cut in education spending

(2)   Eliminating 1,690 jobs from the Department of Corrections

(3)   An 8,700 overall reduction in the state government workforce

(4)   Tax cuts worth $4 billion

(5)   A $4 billion Medicaid reform

None of these changes, however, may be as consequential as Scott’s proposal to require state public employees to start contributing 5% of their paychecks to their pensions.  If state retirement funds are ever to become solvent the employees who benefit from them will have to put some money in the kitty.  Scott also wants to put new state hires into a 401(k)-type retirement system, a shift that would move the state toward a pension system of defined contributions instead of defined benefits.

If Scott is successful in Florida other states might follow suit.  For the sake of taxpayers in the Sunshine State and beyond, let’s hope he prevails.

January 8th, 2011 at 1:11 am
Marco Rubio Endorsing Mitt Romney for President?

Judging by this announcement list of top staffers, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) thinks highly of people who worked on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) failed 2008 presidential campaign.  Of eight top staff positions, Rubio gave three to former Romney for President people.

With Romney lining up support for a 2012 presidential run via PAC donations and outsourcing staff to rising Republicans, don’t be surprised if Rubio endorses Romney for the White House.  If it comes early enough, it just might be the thing that cinches a Romney-Rubio ticket.

January 7th, 2011 at 7:25 pm
Rudy Giuliani Preparing to Tempt Fate, Waste Money

Teagan Goddard of Political Wire repeated a rumor going around about former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) getting some of his political hands together for another run at the White House.  Presumably, those are the same people that talked their boss into a suicidal primary strategy: skip Iowa, abandon New Hampshire, and bypass South Carolina for an all-or-nothing shot in Florida.

Of course, by the time the Florida primary rolled around, the GOP nomination was a two-horse race between John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitt Romney (R-MA).  (Governor Charlie Crist’s late support of McCain sealed the deal for the Maverick’s Sunshine State win.)  In the process, Giuliani spent a ton of money effectively not contesting the nomination until it was too late.

And now he wants to do it all again.  I’m sure his “brain trust” won’t mind dusting off the 2008 playbook while cashing 2012 checks.

November 19th, 2010 at 9:45 am
Podcast: Florida’s Chief Financial Officer-Elect Discusses Need for Federal Balanced Budget Amendment
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Interview with Jeff Atwater, former Florida Senate President and Florida’s Chief Financial Officer-Elect, on why he led the charge for a nonbinding referendum on Florida’s support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes.

Listen to the interview here.

November 5th, 2010 at 7:05 pm
No Rest for Rubio

For a guy who won a 21-month-long campaign, you’d think Senator-Elect Marco Rubio (R-FL) would get the weekend off.

Hardly.

He’s already been asked to deliver the GOP’s response to President Barack Obama’s weekly address.  Welcome to primetime, all the time, Mr. Rubio.

September 9th, 2010 at 5:34 pm
So Now Obama Recognizes the Value of Propriety and Accommodating Others’ Sensibilities?
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Regardless of one’s opinions toward the Ground Zero mosque or the Florida pastor’s on-again/off-again Quran roast, one must be impressed by the speed at which President Obama and mosque supporters suddenly discovered the value of propriety, discretion and accommodating others’ sensibilities.

As we’ve said here all along, having the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do.  Obama, however, could hardly contain himself from endorsing the Ground Zero mosque simply because people have a First Amendment right to build it.  Now, however, Obama flip-flops and emphasizes in an ABC interview that the Florida pastor should stifle his First Amendment right to burn Qurans in the name of respect for others.  You certainly possess a wonderful sense of consistency, Mr. President.

September 3rd, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Tough Primary Fights For Democrats Too

Fresh off home state protests against Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) who, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), continues to back losing candidates against Tea Party opposition comes a similar bit of news from Florida.  The minority leader of the Sunshine State’s state senate, Al Lawson, just endorsed Governor Charlie Crist (I-FL) for U.S. Senator.  As an African-American and Democratic leader in the Florida Senate, Lawson’s support is a blow to Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), the Democrats’ African-American Senate candidates.

But Lawson’s endorsement of Crist is apparently motivated by the Democratic establishment’s successful moves to defeat his recent primary challenge to Rep. Alan Boyd (D-FL).  That includes strong-arm tactics by President Barack Obama’s Organizing for America campaign operation.

Unlike Tea Party insurgents Joe Miller in Alaska, Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada, Lawson couldn’t overcome his party’s establishment.  Cornyn’s saving grace is that he still has time to make up with the grassroots voters before November.  Unless Obama & Co. can find a way to unify their base in the next two months, chances are people like Al Lawson will stay home on Election Day; making GOP control of both houses of Congress that much more likely.

August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Florida Tea Party Needs to Go Local

As discussed in this week’s Liberty Update, the next great wave of Tea Party enthusiasm needs to wash over local political offices as soon as this year’s federal midterm elections conclude.  A column in the St. Petersburg Times notes that several of Florida’s highest profile Tea Party candidates are mounting what looks to be losing campaigns in the run-up to next Tuesday’s statewide primary elections.

The reason is simple: it’s just too hard to compete for votes and money when running against candidates from the two established parties.  Far better, the columnist suggests, to turn the Tea Party’s attention to city and county races where much of the real world of governing takes place.

Mike Alexander and the Pasadena (CA) Patriots couldn’t agree more.  Like Mike’s wife Patricia likes to say, “Starting at 6 a.m. on November 3rd, we are going to focus on all the municipal elections here in Los Angeles County: county supervisor, city council, school board, you name it.”  Tea Party enthusiasts would do well to check out Alexander’s TEA PAC organization for ideas on how to turn activist energy into winning elections.