Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: House should back immigration reform

The voices of SOUND ECONOMICS and reason are making good use of the August congressional recess by pressing the case for comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation passed by the Senate in June would bolster Social Security, cut the federal deficit, expand the economy and provide employers the workforce they need while strengthening the border. This is why respected institutions from every corner are expressing their support and calling on House Republicans — including those from the Tampa Bay area — to act this fall.

In recent weeks, two leading groups representing seniors, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare and the AARP, teamed up to promote the financial benefits of the Senate bill. A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the Senate bill would cut nearly $1 trillion off the federal deficit by 2033. Over that same period, the expanded workforce created by the legislation would increase wages, productivity and capital spending, boosting the nation's economic output by 5 percent. An analysis by the chief actuary for Social Security estimates that by bringing illegal workers into the above-ground economy, the legislation would add $284 billion to the Social Security trust fund and extend its solvency another two years, to 2035.

This is real money. The sense of order and stability that would come from bringing 11 million illegal immigrants into the sunshine is why a range of organizations, from labor and business groups to churches and law enforcement, are spending the summer touting the Senate's comprehensive approach. The stakes for Florida's economy are enormous. The legislation, for example, promises to provide the state's agriculture industry the legal workers it needs while expanding the ranks of foreign high-tech workers. Next month, the country's Roman Catholic bishops will reach out through masses, diocesan radio and other programs to push for a comprehensive bill; the Diocese of St. Petersburg, which covers five bay area counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, will take part.

Republican Reps. C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores, Richard Nugent of Brooksville, Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor and Dennis Ross of Lakeland are not embracing the Senate bill or a viable alternative. But they are hearing from a broader range of voices across the nation, and they need to hear from their constituents. The Senate bill is imperfect, but it is a viable attempt at comprehensive reform that should be embraced by the House.

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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
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: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18