Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

The Buzz: Crist revisits jobs creation in new 'Fair Shot Florida' plan

Charlie Crist unveiled his "Fair Shot Florida" plan to grow middle-class jobs on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, repeating his familiar criticisms of Gov. Rick Scott for rejecting billions of federal dollars for high-speed rail expansion and for the state's failure to expand Medicaid.

Expanding Medicaid "will create as many as 120,000 new high-quality jobs," he said. PolitiFact rated Crist's earlier claim that the expansion would create 63,000 jobs as Half True. The 63,000 figure comes from a White House study chastising states such as Florida for failing to expand Medicaid. The Florida Hospital Association's most recent analysis in 2013 predicts 120,000 jobs created within a decade; the association supports expansion. Meanwhile, Moody's predicted between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs.

Scott initially opposed Medicaid expansion but later said he supported but didn't advocate for it and the Legislature rejected it.

Much of Crist's plan focused on his promises to restore education cuts under Scott. Crist promised if elected he would return per pupil K-12 funding to $7,126 — the amount in 2007-08 when Crist was governor. Crist also promised to reverse Scott's cuts to Bright Futures. He wasn't specific on how he'd pay for it, but pointed to the state's almost $3 billion surplus.

Crist was asked by a reporter to respond to a comment by Scott campaign chairman Sen. John Thrasher that the state lost 832,000 jobs during Crist's tenure and unemployment tripled.

Crist said that was "trash talk" by his opponent and that he didn't cause the global economic meltdown.

PolitiFact Florida previously rated a similar statement by Scott about job losses and unemployment under Crist as Half True. Though Scott has correctly cited the numbers, economists have repeatedly said that Crist didn't cause the recession, which was largely as a result of the housing market crisis.

Crist's policy ideas also included expanding career and technical education programs at community colleges; loan forgiveness for students in high-demand fields; helping students refinance their debt; and free tuition for teachers who get master's degrees in STEM subjects.

Public input on carbon rules

A coalition of 17 owners of Florida-based companies that specialize in solar energy on Tuesday urged Scott and the Public Service Commission to extend the public comment period on how the state will comply with federal rules limiting carbon pollution from power plants. The PSC announced July 10 that the public would have until Friday to comment on the new carbon rules, but limited the distribution of the notice so few were aware of it.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 21 percent of the electricity in Florida comes from coal-fired power plants, and the state's plants emit more pollution than those of any other U.S. state, except Texas and Pennsylvania. Florida households consume 40 percent more electricity than the U.S. average. Scott, who denied the existence of human-induced climate change when he first ran in 2010, has refused to comment on the issue this election cycle.

Regulating medical marijuana

The Florida Medical Association has come out against Amendment 2, a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, taking the position that the amendment will open the door to untrained doctors prescribing marijuana for medical uses.

The FMA position, however, is silent to the fact that if the amendment passes, the Legislature and state regulators will have the power to regulate the use of cannabis. The state Department of Health is designated as the regulating body under the amendment. It is currently undergoing a rigorous rulemaking process to regulate low-THC cannabis, which the Legislature legalized in the spring.

Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.

Comments
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18