Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Editorials

Pasco should put lobbying money to better use

A county government proposing substantial property and gasoline tax increases needs to assure the public it has exhausted every opportunity for cost savings elsewhere. Pasco County hasn't done that yet, but commissioners can start when considering their annual contract with a Tallahassee lobbyist.

Pasco County's open request for proposals from firms seeking the county's lobbying work is scheduled to close Tuesday. Commissioners should kill the process entirely and save the money for more imperative needs.

There simply is no reason for Pasco to spend $65,000 a year, plus $5,000 for expenses, to retain an out-of-town firm to lobby the Florida speaker of the House who lives in Wesley Chapel. Nor will there be a reason in the near future with Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, scheduled to become speaker in three years.

"I think it's ludicrous,'' Corcoran said. "Given who we have in the delegation, there is absolutely no need for a lobbyist. I'd rather they spent that money on a firefighter or a police officer than on a lobbyist.''

Corcoran's blunt assessment is welcome. Too frequently, Pasco's legislative delegation has acquiesced to the county's unnecessary spending on lobbying.

The commission originally retained Slater Bayliss of the Advocacy Group at Tew Cardenas LLC for $40,000 in 2005 to lobby for transportation dollars even though then-Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, chaired the Senate committee overseeing transportation appropriations. The dubious spending never ceased and, instead, expanded five years later to cover nontransportation issues when the county's other lobbyist retired.

With little or no discussion, commissioners routinely renewed the publicly financed lobbying contract. That changed in March when Commissioner Henry Wilson persuaded the rest of the board to offer Bayliss just a three-month extension through the 2013 legislative session and then to find out if other firms wanted to bid for the county lobbying contract.

Wilson got it half right. The commission should bag its lobbyist entirely and put the money toward programs closer to home such as code enforcement or road maintenance. And in the near future, if commissioners feel the need to lobby the state's most powerful legislators, they know where to find them. Their offices are in central Pasco.

Comments
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18