Friday, May 25, 2018
Editorials

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. floats a terrible pricing idea

The discriminating pricing scheme being considered by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. with the encouragement of Gov. Rick Scott would not be tolerated from private insurers. Yet the state-run insurer's bad idea to jack up the price of policies for new customers by up to 30 percent will get another hearing today by a Citizens Board of Governors committee. That should be its last stop. Such a scheme has no place in a government-backed insurer either.

First floated last year — but never brought before the Legislature for approval — this bad idea turns on Citizens' self-serving claim that a 2009 law capping its rate increases at 10 percent annually was only meant to apply to renewal policies. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who was Senate president when the legislation passed, has already rejected that interpretation, with little heed.

Scott has encouraged this end run around the Legislature. Convinced that the state's exposure to paying Citizens claims after a major hurricane is too great, the governor has challenged Citizens officials to find new ways to add revenue or reduce liabilities. Nevermind that it's state law, not executive fiat, that has set Citizens' parameters.

Nor does it seem to matter that this will be a double whammy for some Citizens customers who under state law can see their Citizens policy canceled if they live in sinkhole-prone areas. If they pass an inspection they could once again become a customer — but at a higher rate.

The same reasons the Legislature passed that rate increase cap still apply in a state where Scott is supposed to be looking out for average Floridians. Homeowners still need a glide path to higher rates, and unpredictable insurance prices would further stall the state's real estate recovery. Scott should be balancing those real-world consequences with his concern that Citizens has grown too large. The state-run insurer also should be mindful of the state law that caps rates and not circumvent its intent to gouge new customers.

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NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18