Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Chasing money in Tallahassee

Money and elections always have been bedfellows in political life. But a scolding email from the next Florida House speaker castigating fellow Republicans for their lackluster fundraising efforts underscores that more is never enough. The recent missive by Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, makes raising money a higher priority than passing legislation, and it exposes the charade of holding committee meetings in Tallahassee to create more opportunities for campaign fundraisers.

It's not as if Republicans are in dire financial straits. As the Tampa Bay Times' Michael Van Sickler reported, between July 1 and Sept. 30 Republican House members hauled in $1.5 million, or $188,000 more than two years ago, a healthy 14 percent increase. But it was not healthy enough for Crisafulli, who is slated to become speaker for the 2015-16 legislative sessions. On average each House member raked in $24,434. What raised Crisafulli's ire was a surge in fundraising among the 38 Democratic House members seeking re-election, going from an average of $4,133 per member two years ago to $9,666, a 134 percent jump. Still, Crisafulli pushed House Republicans to pick up the pace of strong-arming donors and was kind enough to attach a spreadsheet ranking the Republicans by how much money they had raised in the third quarter.

The timing of the unsubtle reminder was not left to chance. It came before a week of committee meetings, when more than a dozen fundraisers were scheduled in Tallahassee. And campaign contribution limits for legislators increased from $500 to $1,000 on Monday, so last week's fundraisers were doubly productive. The Legislature has always been for sale. The price tag has only gotten higher.

There is ample time and opportunity for Florida lawmakers to raise money. Legislators are barred from raising campaign money during the Florida Legislature's regular session that begins in March. The same prohibition should be in force during committee weeks. Taxpayers should not be paying for lawmakers to have an excuse to go to Tallahassee to shake down the lobbyists. And if there were no fundraisers, it's a safe bet there would be fewer committee weeks.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

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Published: 04/22/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

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Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

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Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

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Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18