The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about pending budget cuts in court clerks' offices statewide. Clerks are blaming the Legislature for failing to make up a deficit in the state trust fund that feeds their budgets.
The executive committee of the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation, the clerks' statewide budgeting arm, is expected to make official the across-the-board cut during a conference call at 4 p.m. Monday....
The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about the fate of one St. Petersburg project -- a top priority of the bay area delegation -- which was left high and dry after a veto by Gov. Rick Scott.
Read more here
In the books it will go down as the board of Citizens Property Insurance unanimously agreeing to seek a 3.2 percent average rate increase for policyholders statewide.
However, as Citizens chief risk officer John Rollins emphasized to board members for the state-run insurer in his rates presentation Wednesday morning, "nobody pays the average."
In fact for most of the state, including Tampa Bay, homeowners will enjoy rate decreases. Throughout the bay area, depending on the county, average rates could fall anywhere from 3.1 percent to 8 percent. ...
Gov. Rick Scott's budget signing ceremony in his office at 8:30 this morning was a quiet affair. The reaction afterward has been anything but.
Here's an afternoon update on how lawmakers and others viewed Scott's $461 million worth of vetoes:
Senate President Andy Gardiner said some Florida families "have had their dreams shattered."...
06/19/15 Working Life
Florida's ongoing economic recovery has hit a spring swoon.
The state's unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent in May, rising from 5.6 percent a month earlier and widening the gap with the national jobless rate of 5.5 percent. The state added a relatively meager 17,100 jobs, bringing its total number of jobs up by 268,500 compared with a year ago.
Florida's sub 1 percent job growth over the month failed to keep up with a surge of new residents. In fact, Florida's population of 16-and-up residents swelled by 21,000 in May, even as the size of its workforce shrunk by 27,000. Economists say some of the disconnect is likely tied to retiring baby boomers....
Tampa Bay Times columnist William March reports that Tampa area Republicans are anticipating big bucks by having Jeb Bush as their Lincoln Day dinner speaker Friday, four days after his presidential announcement.
The gross will be more than $170,000, said party Chairman Deborah Tamargo.
That's good, but not a record, said former Chairman Debbie Cox-Roush, who said one such event she chaired with Mitt Romney drew more than $200,000....
Following Jeb Bush's jump into the presidential race on Monday, another high-profile candidate with strong Florida ties may be poised to enter the race.
Developer/showman Donald Trump, who routinely toys with a presidential run about this time in the political cycle, is set to announce his intentions today.
Here's an Associated Press take on his pending decision:
WASHINGTON (AP) - With a presidential field approaching 20 high-profile Republicans, the GOP's 2016 class offers voters a little bit of everything....
06/10/15 Working Life
Florida's economy bounced back in May, adding 19,000 private-sector jobs, second only to longtime jobs king California, according to the latest monthly snapshot released Wednesday by payroll-processing firm ADP.
Though it marks one of the best performances of the year, Florida still lags behind 2014 when it boasted several months of 20,000-plus jobs created. Florida's pace of job creation is currently behind Idaho, Utah, Nevada and the state of Washington....
From the Tampa Bay Times' Gradebook:
Pinellas County Schools superintendent Mike Grego reported to School Board members this morning that the Florida House and Senate are just 34 cents apart as negotiations continue over the state education budget. The Senate is pushing to spend $7,097.49 per student this coming year while the House is at $7,097.15 per student, Grego said.
He said the information came from the district's Tallahassee lobbyist, Steve Swartzel. Based on the closeness of the numbers, Grego predicted the two sides would have an agreement by lunch time....
UPDATE: A Scott spokeswoman said Monday afternoon whether or not the governor will travel to Paris will be a "game time decision" depending on what is happening in Tallahassee. Budget talks between the Senate and House broke off abruptly Monday following a dispute over spending for Scott's job incentives program.
In Tampa on Monday morning, Gov. Rick Scott defended spending time away from the Capitol during the special session and said he still intends to go to Paris for the air show later this week....
As the first week of the Florida Legislature's special session winds to a close, Tampa Bay Times columnist Sue Carlton poses a Carmen Sandiego-type question: Where in the world is House Majority Leader Dana Young, R.-Tampa? After all, she was part of the House leadership walkout that triggered the special session.
Read her column here.
Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano says it's too bad words of wisdom from a recent commencement speaker weren't heard by the Florida Legislature
First thought on a recent elementary school graduation ceremony and commencement speech:
Where the heck did this idea come from? Not to sound old and cranky, but a friend pointed out that all he got on his way to middle school was a pack of Lucky Strikes from his dad....
From Times Correspondent William March --
The long-simmering allegations of a "seat swap" between Hillsborough County commissioners Ken Hagan and Victor Crist can be put to rest, Crist says.
The alleged deal: Crist and Hagan both face term-limits in 2018. But Crist would leave his district seat vacant in 2016 to run for Clerk of Court, or something, and Hagan would leave his countywide seat two years early to run to replace Crist....
ICYMI over the holiday weekend: Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano suggests a way to give folks outside Tallahassee more power.
People occasionally say the political process in Florida is broken.
Not to sound disagreeable, but that's a wimpy euphemism. As if we accidentally dropped Tallahassee on its head.
The problems of this state were not born of fluke or chance. The corruption of Florida was planned. Carefully. Deliberately. Cynically....
Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March takes on the Kevin Beckner/Pat Frank primary and efforts to rejuvenate Tampa's Tiger Bay Club, among other topics, in his latest column:
Frank folks fling flack over Beckner funder
The Kevin Beckner vs Pat Frank Democratic primary for Frank's clerk of court seat, likely to be the most interesting race on the local scene in 2016, already is heating up....