To spur innovation, cut stifling regulation | March 25, commentary
Start by ending energy monopoly
Sen. Marco Rubio's article stating how antiquated regulations hurt startup businesses and stifle innovation, while protecting the existing monopolies, rings no truer than in his home state of Florida. Here, power company monopolies like Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light use their campaign contribution stranglehold on the Republican-controlled Legislature to prevent passage of commonsense laws to encourage solar power development and allow smaller, independent startup companies to sell solar power directly to consumers.
Although allowing Florida to become the leader in the country using solar power would be a financial and environmental blessing for customers by giving them a choice of energy suppliers, the existing power company monopolies would consider this unwelcome competition a threat to their soaring profit margins and an end to the power they wield over our spineless lawmakers.
Rubio said: "We can't allow outdated, anticompetitive regulations … to stand in the way of progress and opportunities for our people. We should be doing everything we can to encourage innovation, not suffocate it."
What better way to start than to get Florida House and Senate leaders to see that solar power development in the Sunshine State would give customers more choices, stimulate competition and provide more opportunities for independent companies to provide clean, reliable alternatives to costly, polluting coal and natural gas plants.
Maybe we can finally break the stranglehold that Duke energy and FPL hold on our lawmakers and put an end to corporate welfare programs like the advanced nuclear recovery fee fiasco that served no purpose other than to give Duke Energy billions in taxpayer money for absolutely nothing in return. Let's end these "sweetheart deals" and get some competition back in the energy market.
Mike Quartucci, Zephyrhills
To spur innovation, cut stifling regulation March 25, commentary
Tax code is top offender
Sen. Marco Rubio correctly pointed out the serious problems caused by stifling laws and regulations, but his article does not mention probably the worst of these, the U.S. tax code. Under present tax regulations, American companies are able to deduct costs of sending jobs overseas and can defer taxes indefinitely. So the job drain continues.
Perhaps the senator could explain why his own party in recent years has repeatedly filibustered and defeated bills designed to change the tax code so as to encourage U.S. manufacturing.
To decrease chronic unemployment, and for our country's security, we need massive efforts to bring back manufacturing.
Bob Anderson, St. Petersburg
This time, no excuses | March 26, commentary
Find source of the problem
Leonard Pitts talks about asking smart, compassionate questions. However, in his haste to make a racial bias argument, he fails to ask the obvious question:
Do African-American and Hispanic preschool teachers and administrators suspend fewer African-American children than do white preschool teachers and administrators? A yes implies a racial bias, but a no would indicate a different problem.
Ray MacGrogan, Tampa
Signup concerns linger | March 27
Health care complications
Lost in all of the rhetoric about Obamacare is an extremely important fact: For the first time, many Americans are realizing how incredibly complex, confusing and downright ridiculous our health care system is.
Talk shows and Tampa Bay Times Q&A columns are full of people struggling with concepts like co-pays, deductibles, drug formularies, etc. American citizens and companies waste vast sums of money on paperwork related to all of these each year.
But not 1 cent of those expenditures goes to providing medical care or improving the health of the American population.
When the dust settles over current enrollment, I hope our elected representatives finally create a fix for the crazy system we call health care in the United States. It doesn't have to be this way.
Richard R. Cavanagh, Holiday
GOP won't touch Medicaid | March 25
800,000 are watching
How could the Florida House reject $51 billion in federal Medicaid funding? The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would allow the use of federal expansion dollars to buy private insurance policies for poor Floridians. Other influential groups are in favor of Medicaid expansion.
How can Rep. Richard Corcoran live with his conscience knowing 800,000 people in the state are being denied Medicaid? Shame on you.
Sheila Schwartzman, Hudson
Bill shielding HCA, capping fees okayed March 26
Medical alert card needed
In light of the fact that our bought-and-paid-for legislators in Tallahassee are currently passing SB 1276, which will enable every trauma center in Florida (except HCA) to increase their admission fees to $15,000, I suggest Florida residents consider printing out and carrying a card in their wallets/handbags that states:
"In the event of suffering trauma, please do not take me to a trauma center, where the resultant charges will bankrupt me. Instead, please take me to the steps of the Governor's Mansion and leave me there, so that Rick Scott may see just what the result of his hospitals-for-profit policy has achieved."
John Starkey, South Pasadena
First lady exercises free speech, too, in China March 26
How nice it much be to take an all-expense-paid vacation (and a very expensive one at that) under the guise of "educational/cultural exchange" to a country many can only imagine ever seeing. Michelle Obama had the gall to take along her two daughters, who are also allowed to live it up at taxpayer expense.
I'd like to know what the bill adds up to after the charges for her entourage, transportation, the Secret Service and all the hoopla are sent to us. This is outrageous at a time when so many people are worried about just saving for retirement.
Anne Kitko, Seffner