Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: From 'jobs governor,' a job-killing move

When does Florida's self-proclaimed "jobs governor" say no to potentially thousands of new jobs? When those jobs run headlong into a misguided tax stance that discriminates against Florida businesses and workers but helps carpetbaggers.

The defense that Gov. Rick Scott's office provided last week for why the state would not strike a deal with Amazon.com to build a warehouse in Florida is tortured, and underscores once again how Republican leaders' continued refusal to support efforts to modernize sales tax laws to encompass out-of-state Internet retailers is hurting Floridians and their communities.

Spokeswoman Melissa Sellers told the Associated Press that the governor's office declined to strike a deal with Amazon, which wanted to operate at least one warehouse in Florida, because under state law it would have required the company to begin collecting sales taxes from Florida customers. The company sought an agreement to start the collections in February or whenever the facility opened. Just how many jobs the governor left on the table is unknown, but a year ago Amazon pitched a plan to build two warehouses that would employ 2,500 Floridians.

Sellers repeated the frequent Tallahassee mantra as to why: The governor did not want to raise taxes on Floridians.

Never mind that state law technically requires Floridians to pay sales taxes on all purchases, even those online, but doesn't have a mechanism for collecting them due to an outdated loophole in federal law. And by failing to support congressional efforts to change the law, Scott ensures that every Florida retailer is at competitive disadvantage to out-of-state, online-only retailers like Amazon. It also means that Floridians who actually shop Florida retailers while their neighbors shop online are paying a disproportionate share of what it takes to fund everything from public schools to police officers.

Even Amazon is backing efforts for a congressional fix such as the one the U.S. Senate approved earlier this month on a bipartisan vote. But Scott and Florida's other Republican leaders, including House Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate President Don Gaetz and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio? They're fine with continuing to give the carpetbaggers a break.

Comments
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17