Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Editorials

Who will stand up for Florida consumers?

For all the focus on the federal deficit in the presidential campaigns, decisions closer to home are already taking a big bite out of Floridians' wallets. In the past year, state and local leaders, by direct action or acquiescence, have made sure the cost to live in Florida will be higher next year and beyond. It's a reminder that elections matter — and not just those races at the top of the ticket. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is Tuesday.

Insurance: State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. did not just raise general rates 10.8 percent this week. It also increased separate sinkhole rates by 25 percent in Pasco and Hernando counties and by 50 percent in Hillsborough County. That comes after Citizens forced policyholders to pay more than $100 million in additional premiums by reinspecting their homes and taking away discounts for hurricane-hardening efforts.

Then there is auto insurance. Just this week came the news that the new state law that was supposed to reduce premiums won't have that effect after all.

Property taxes: Legislative leaders forced disputed Medicaid bills onto counties, which led to a property tax increase in Pinellas County. A failure to overhaul emergency medical service in Pinellas also has led to higher property taxes for EMS to keep a system running that is high-quality but too expensive.

In St. Petersburg, while the City Council rightly rejected Mayor Bill Foster's regressive fire fee, it did not consider further spending cuts or using reserves, and approved a 15 percent increase in the property tax rate.

Electricity: Starting in January, Progress Energy customers' bill for an increasingly expensive proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County will jump nearly 20 percent, to $3.45 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage each month — for a project that may never be built. The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments this week seeking to overturn the so-called advanced nuclear recovery cost fee, but the Legislature should repeal this 2006 law. Also on the horizon for Progress customers: costs stemming from the botched repair at the Crystal River nuclear plant. So far the PSC has shown no interest in holding the company to account. And rather than change the status quo, Gov. Rick Scott last month reappointed Commissioner Lisa Edgar.

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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...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18