Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Flood rate delay is not strong enough

Congress is poised this week to address at least part of the problem with the nation's flood insurance crisis by delaying some provisions of a 2012 law in a general spending bill. But don't be fooled. In practice, it only puts into law what was expected to happen anyway this year and won't help those homeowners who have already been hit with exponentially higher premiums. What Congress still must do is delay the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 to allow time for more reasonable reform to the National Flood Insurance Program.

The language in the appropriations bill expected to be approved by the House and Senate this week would delay for a year the elimination of one of two subsidies slated to disappear under Biggert-Waters. The first subsidy — for owners of homes built before federal flood maps were drawn in about the mid-1970s — began being phased out Oct. 1 over the next five years for existing policyholders, and immediately when a home is purchased. The change has been generating headlines ever since, particularly in Tampa Bay, as some new owners faced premiums 10 times higher than what the previous owner paid. The appropriations bill will not fix those problems.

The second subsidy, called "grandfathering," applied to properties that were drawn into riskier flood zones when a flood map was redrawn. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the program, has said it didn't expect to eliminate those subsidies until the end of 2014. The appropriations bill will ensure that by placing the time frame into law, but it really just reaffirms what FEMA already planned to do.

Nonetheless, House and Senate members anxious to appear responsive to constituents' pain trumpeted the language in the appropriations bill Tuesday. But the more important task facing Florida's congressional delegation is to persuade enough colleagues to vote to approve a four-year delay in the implementation of Biggert-Waters. That would give FEMA time to build a more rational plan for returning the flood insurance program to solvency that doesn't create a crisis for homeowners in the process. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signaled his support for that plan Tuesday. Now House leadership needs to be convinced. It's time for Congress to clean up the mess it has made, not just put into law what was going to happen anyway.

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Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18