Friday, December 15, 2017
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: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t 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 Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s 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 won’t 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