For a Better Florida
5 things I underlined yesterday in the annual so-named section the Times has published every year since 1951 analyzing the key issues facing the Legislature:
1. John Romano:
Look at any list of the nation's top universities. Better yet, look at a compilation of those lists. California has eight of the top 30 schools in the country. New York has three. Even Texas, which is no one's idea of erudite, has a school on the list. Florida has none.
Look at the 2013 Fortune 500 list. Predictably, the states with the largest populations have the greatest number of desirable companies. California has 54. New York and Texas each have 52. Florida? It has 15. A dozen other states have more.
We have more people living in poverty than the national average. We have a lower percentage of people with health insurance. In the most recent Census figures, we spend less money per capita on education than 48 other states. We lag in mass transit and we're pretty high on the list of violent crimes.
Somehow, a state with beaches, terrific weather and nearly 20 million residents has trouble producing strong businesses, smart students and common sense.
Why is that?
2. Scott, who moved to Naples just seven years before running for governor, treats Florida like another faceless corporate acquisition to be dismantled and repackaged. Click.
3. Surely the ultimate goal is not to become a banana republic built on jobs that can't support a middle class life for many. Click.
4. Something is horribly wrong in a state where more than 430 children died following allegations of maltreatment each year from 2007 to 2012. Click.
5. "Thanks to a lack of conviction and implementation by our state government, and with a little help from our friends in the business and ag industries," Whitfield said, "it has not been effective in preventing the serious demise of our water resources." Click.