Saturday, June 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Where's Rubio on flood insurance?

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had plenty of time this weekend to rail against the Affordable Care Act. But when it came to safeguarding hundreds of thousands of Floridians facing dramatically higher flood insurance rates starting today, he has been largely silent. Welcome to another sign of how dysfunctional Washington has become when millions of American households, and by extension local economies, are at risk but nothing happens.

Under the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, dramatically higher flood insurance premiums go in effect starting today for homes built before the early 1970s when federal flood maps were first adopted. For new owners of those older homes, the impact can be a fivefold increase in price overnight — a change real estate professionals say is already slowing sales in Pinellas County, where some 51,000 properties are affected. Nearly 22,000 properties are affected in Hillsborough County. And even owners who stay in their older home will face five years of double-digit rate increases until they reach a so-called "market rate."

Floridian Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, summed up the problem with Biggert-Waters last month when he told a Senate committee: "There is no provision for affordability in this law." Who can change that? Congress. But so far there's little hope the Senate will act on a plan drafted by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. And even House agreement on the issue, so far, is limited to stalling a different set of price increases planned for 2014.

In Florida, 269,000 property owners today face a far different landscape when it comes to affording their flood insurance or selling their property. Yet Rubio can't seem to find the time to care.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
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