Monday, November 19, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House 37 GOP candidates differ on economic incentives

TRINITY  – In the waning days of the campaign,  two Republican candidates seeking to succeed House Speaker Richard Corcoran representing District 37 made a rare joint appearance before the West Pasco Republican Club Tuesday evening.

In doing so, businessman Ardian Zika and prosecutor Elle Rudisill publicly differentiated themselves on a key issue – economic incentives for industrial recruitment.

Rudisill supports them, saying they aid in the effort to bring jobs to the area. Zika, parroting Corcoran, called incentives "corporate welfare" that puts government in the business of picking winners and losers.

Corcoran and Gov. Rick Scott spent much of the 2017 legislative session battling over financing for the state's economic development and tourism agencies.

Zika, despite his stance, has the personal endorsement of Bill Cronin, president and CEO of Pasco's Economic Development Council.

"Incentives sometimes are considered a necessary evil," Cronin said Wednesday. "If we didn't offer incentives, we would be at a disadvantage. It would be like nuclear disarmament. We wouldn't have them, but everybody else still would."

Under the rules Tuesday, candidates were allowed to give three-minute presentations and answer up to five questions from audience members.  Nobody threw any sharp elbows.

"Keep it positive. Stay in your own lane," cautioned Anne Carona, club president.

Zika said he would not vote to repeal the controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law, while Rudisill said she could not comment publicly because of her role as an assistant state attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Rudisill said she believed the state budget could be trimmed of waste to help increase funding for education and a tax increase would only be a last resort. Zika countered, "No raising taxes, period." He said education funding would increase as the state's economy grew to produce higher-paying jobs and additional sales tax revenues.

Club member Alan Berberich, pointing to Rudisill's focus on public safety and her work as a prosecutor, lobbed the easiest question of the night.

"Why would (anybody) not vote for you?" he asked.

The event at the Heritage Springs Country Club was just the second time Rudisill and Zika had appeared at the same forum. Zika did not attend similar functions scheduled by the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the Pasco Republican Executive Committee and the Central Pasco Republican Club.

Ryan Patrick Boney, the third Republican in the race, did not attend Tuesday. House District 37 includes portions of central and west Pasco and is bordered approximately by Ehren Cutoff in Land O' Lakes and Little Road in west Pasco.

Early voting continues through Saturday. Election Day is Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Comments
‘Tip of the Iceberg’: Tampa corporate support for Rays? So far, it’s $16 million

‘Tip of the Iceberg’: Tampa corporate support for Rays? So far, it’s $16 million

Tampa Bay Rays 2020 co-founder Ron Christaldi put some details Friday behind his confidence that the Tampa Bay Rays will get a new home in Ybor City — $16 million of them.That's the amount of new corporate support pledged for a ball park north ...
Published: 11/16/18
Regional climate change coalition has one holdout: Pasco County

Regional climate change coalition has one holdout: Pasco County

County Commissioner Jack Mariano, who sits on the Regional Planning Council, did not bring the proposal to the County Commission because he doesn't want the words climate change used.
Published: 11/16/18
Tampa’s Grand Central Station and High Line? Harry Cohen is thinking big on transportation

Tampa’s Grand Central Station and High Line? Harry Cohen is thinking big on transportation

  Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, an eight-year veteran of City Council, is known for his attention to detail on even the smallest zoning matter. But in his run to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Cohen is leaving the small-ball appr...
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell resigns at council meeting

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell resigns at council meeting

Caudell said she needs to spend more time on her business, then walked out of the meeting. City Attorney Pam Akin said the resignation won't be official until it's in writing.
Published: 11/15/18
Rules of the Sidewalk? Tampa grapples with the rented scooter craze

Rules of the Sidewalk? Tampa grapples with the rented scooter craze

Tampa city officials are sifting through applications for a pilot scooter program. Residents could be scooting through the streets by February.
Published: 11/15/18
Buckhorn names Arthenia Joyner to transit committee

Buckhorn names Arthenia Joyner to transit committee

The former Democratic state senator is the first person named to the 13-member transit surtax oversight committee.
Published: 11/15/18
Clearwater strong mayor fight is over but rift on City Council remains an open wound

Clearwater strong mayor fight is over but rift on City Council remains an open wound

Hoyt Hamilton asks for apology from Doreen Caudell for her words in Letter to the Editor. She apologizes but claims she was misquoted in her own letter.
Published: 11/14/18
William March: Could a late arrival in Tampa mayor’s race upset the apple cart?

William March: Could a late arrival in Tampa mayor’s race upset the apple cart?

Speculation centers on businessman Mike Griffin or former state Rep. Ed Narain possibly entering the race for Tampa mayor.
Published: 11/13/18
Is he doing a post-election two-step? Ed Turanchik  on the transportation tax, then and now

Is he doing a post-election two-step? Ed Turanchik on the transportation tax, then and now

Before the vote, Ed Turanchik was highly critical of the one-penny sales tax increase to fund transportation improvements that passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday.The former Hillsborough County Commissioner and current Tampa mayoral candidate was the on...
Published: 11/08/18
Updated: 11/09/18
Hillsborough now firmly blue

Hillsborough now firmly blue

A growing urban and suburban population has shifted Hillsborough's politics, pundits say.
Published: 11/07/18