Our state leadership is lacking
Three stories in the March 26 St. Petersburg Times revealed the sad state of our current leaders in Tallahassee.
First I read that the legislators are considering giving millionaires who purchase yachts for more than $300,000 a tax break. Most Floridians do not own a home that costs more than $300,000.
Then I read that the legislators are working to change the Bright Futures program, making it harder for everyday, hard-working Floridians to send their children to college.
Finally, I read that Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is hiring a Washington law firm he once lobbied for to try to prevent Floridians from benefiting from the recent passage of the health reform act. Not only does Florida have one of the highest number of citizens without health insurance, the rest of us know that we are only a pink slip, major illness, or insurance company bureaucrat's decision away from losing our coverage.
Am I the only one outraged by our current leaders in Tallahassee? Let's make some big changes this November and choose leaders who work for everyday, hard-working Floridians and not just for the rich and powerful.
Richard Feigel, St. Petersburg
Ideology is calling all shots this year March 28, story
Floridians are suffering under one-party rule
Your headline sums up our state's pitiful political situation well. That's why even moderate Republican and Democratic "good government" and pro-consumer bills are dead or don't even see the light of day in our conservative, Republican-dominated Legislature.
Florida's economy is in terrible shape, and unlike many other states even now is not showing many signs of recovery. Our state tax system is both broken and unfair, and both property insurance and education remain major problems, yet our Republican leaders spend their time crusading against federal health care reform. This in a state with 20-25 percent of its citizens uninsured!
Tea Party and state Republican leaders loudly crusade for a huge shift in Congress to end "one- party rule" in Washington.
What about Tallahassee? Haven't the Republicans dominated Florida's state governmental machinery for more than a decade? What's that achieved besides abuse of powers favoring wealthy special interests, more than a little corruption, and a seeming insensitivity to the real problems of ordinary Floridians?
One can understand the common disgust with politics as usual in Washington, but why should cries of "throw the bums out" be limited to our nation's capital?
Isn't it time to vote against those Republican incumbents who for so long have dominated Florida's politics, too?
Edward McCann, Madeira Beach
Ideology is calling all shots this year March 28, story
A questionable agenda
One party in Tallahassee is for $80 million in tax breaks for businesses, for making it tougher to prosecute public officials for taking bribes, for decreased penalties for public officials who fail to disclose financial information, for allowing legislators to vote on bills that result in personal gain for themselves, and for a union-busting plan to end teacher tenure.
This same party is passing resolutions against health care for 30 million more people who don't have it now, against the voters' class-size mandate, for disallowing any attempt to get federal dollars to pay for our children's health insurance, disallowing any attempt to get federal dollars for unemployment relief, disallowing any attempt to make the budget process more accessible to the public, or to increase public access to public records. And that party, dare we speak its name, is the Republican Party?
Question: What would possess someone to cast a vote for this party?
Robert E. McCallion, St. Petersburg
Tell us more
As important as the high home insurance rates in Florida are, why did you run Senate bill allows big insurance hikes (March 26) on an inside page? This should be front-page news, not on page 4B.
Again, the sucker population of Florida is told by its state Senate that the insurance industry needs more money — not a 5 percent raise or even 10 percent but a 33 percent hike on home insurance rates.
Your paper has done a disservice to us taxpayers by not telling more about this important bill.
F.W. Edwards, Redington Shores
Yacht buyers get break | March 26
Offensive tax break
I am shocked about the idea of giving a tax break to yacht buyers in this economy. How do you think it feels to read about this tax break when people are losing their homes, losing their jobs and trying to put food on the table?
We will see who actually voted for this break and remember them at election time. It's enough to read about all the terrible things happening to families and then see this nonsense. All I can say is that it must be nice to be able to own a yacht in these chaotic times.
Christine Robinson, Largo
It's public endangerment | March 22, letter
Enforce existing laws
A well-meaning letter writer wants the Legislature to outlaw cell phone use while driving. They already have. Florida Statutes 316.192 (reckless driving) and 316.1925 (careless driving) state that any driving that results in the endangerment of persons and/or property is illegal and punishable.
It doesn't say "cell phone use" in those statutes. It doesn't have to, any more than stating that tuning the radio or putting on make-up or eating a burger is reckless or careless. Reckless is reckless and careless is careless, regardless of the reason.
Can we just enforce existing laws before we add unnecessary and redundant ones?
Steffan F. Cress, Tampa