Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

Little guy is big loser

Once again consumers are the losers in Tallahassee. The Public Service Commission was unwilling or unable to say no to Florida Power & Light, approving a $350 million rate increase that will benefit FPL's biggest corporate clients. In making the decision, the PSC failed to protect all of FPL's 4 million customers.

To win over more prominent corporate critics of its proposed rate increase, FPL agreed to offer millions of dollars in credits to major customers such as Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association. The ploy worked. The largess could be worth as much as $50 million in credits to just one-half of 1 percent of FPL's customer base. Apparently there was no need to strike a deal for everybody else. The state public counsel, J.R. Kelly, who represents all consumers before the PSC, said he was cut out of the latter stages of the negotiation process.

At $94.62 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, FPL touts the fact that its customers pay the lowest rate among the state's three biggest investor-owned utilities. But Kelly rightly argues an increase in natural gas prices, combined with FPL's $350 million rate hike, could quickly cause a spike in customer bills.

Kelly tried to get relief from the courts to block the PSC's action, but was denied. The result: Once again in Tallahassee the only interests that seem to interest the PSC are those of power companies and their biggest clients. If the regulatory agency is going to continue to be a virtual rubber stamp for utility company demands, there is little rationale to justify the need for the PSC — or the public counsel it chooses to ignore.

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Editorial: It’s up to Florida’s voters to restore felons’ civil rights now

The disappointing ruling Wednesday by a federal appeals court should erase any doubt that the decision on restoring voting rights for felons rests solely on the conscience of Florida voters. A tortured ruling by the minimum majority of a three-judge ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Published: 04/25/18
Updated: 04/26/18

‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Published: 04/25/18
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18