Sitting on the governor's desk is a measure that will relax property insurance laws and raise rates. Unfortunately, we fell two votes short in the Senate of removing an onerous rate increase from the bill, which is why the governor needs to veto this rate increase.
Senate Bill 408 virtually guarantees a 15 percent premium "reinsurance" increase for Florida policyholders who have no choice but to buy property insurance on their homes if they have an outstanding mortgage. This is a back door tax and fee increase that will hurt most homeowners, consumers and small business owners at a time with very high foreclosure and unemployment rates, and a fragile economic recovery under way.
For people who pay for replacement cost insurance, in cases of hurricane repairs, homeowners will have to pay for some repairs in advance and hope to be reimbursed by the insurance companies. Many families simply can't afford this.
The bill also reduces the time period to file a claim from five years to three, even though some damage, such as water or mold damage, isn't always detected in the first few years after the storm. Worse yet, this bill allows insurance companies to provide "additional or supplementary" information to the state in rate-setting cases without requiring the top officers at the insurance company to certify that the data backing up their claims for rate increases is truthful.
Quite simply, the bill on Gov. Rick Scott's desk will not benefit Floridians.
It will increase rates and increase insurance company profits.
State Sen. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey
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A vote against the voter - May 7 editorial
Punish those who don't vote
Perhaps we should have to walk, "two and three hundred miles" to vote as state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, suggested people do in Africa.
I would go a step further.
I would punish those who did not go those extra couple of hundred miles. And not with something as easy as paying a fine for not voting. No, I would take away the privileges of citizenship. Skip a vote in a local election, for example, and you would be unable to license your pet or business. Miss a state election, and you lose the right to register your vehicle or obtain a new driver's license. Deciding not to vote in a national election would cost you your passport or pilot's license. After all, it is only fair.
Sen. Bennett and I plan to walk that 200 miles to vote. Those of you who cannot make the trek, sorry.
Martin Daugherty, St. Petersburg
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Florida's rail money doled out - May 10
Throwing our future away
How wonderful of Florida to give 15 states lots of money to improve their standard of living. How generous of Florida to provide a means of improving these states' method of transportation for the future.
Transportation experts are saying that in 10 years, 80 percent of our country will be well on its way to providing major alternative transportation options for their citizens and tourists. These same experts are also saying that the states that refuse to accept the future now will pay dearly when it's time to consider funding these high-speed rails.
I can just imagine Gov. Rick Scott or the great Republican Legislature going to the federal government with their tail between their legs and begging for help. I can just imagine a second-term President Barack Obama looking them straight in their eyes and just saying, "You had your chance, we tried to help you - but your governor just threw my proposal for Florida's future back at my face."
Roy G. Valdes, Tampa
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Way to go, Gov. Scott
Gov. Rick Scott, this is a thank-you note for the job you are doing for the state of Florida.
Thank you for recognizing that the money for the funding of the high-speed rail was not unencumbered. It was not Florida's money to spend but borrowed money that Florida did not have the population density to repay.
Thank you for not adding another $2.4 billion burden to the national debt and holding to the principles upon which you campaigned.
Thank you for not joining the states that took what is in truth a loan from China thinly veiled in paper printed by the federal government.
Thank you for signing the recent legislation regarding abortions, teacher tenure and teachers contributing to their pension funds.
I entreat the Florida voters to scrutinize government officials such as Vice President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and state Sen. Thad Altman as they cast their votes in the next election. These are officials who endorsed the popular high-speed rail as a re-election bid, not because it was the intelligent course to take.
As a grateful Floridian, I encourage you in your continued adherence to the principles for which you stood during your campaign.
John Howie, Tampa
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Make public photographs of bin Laden May 6
Photos too inflammatory
I can't describe how disappointed I am with your editorial about releasing Osama bin Laden's death photos. It would be too inflammatory, period.
Polls show two-thirds of us agree with the president. It isn't what we are about. We operate on a higher moral code.
Marjorie Williams-Super, South Pasadena
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FSU advisory board not hurting academic freedom - May 13
FSU needs to say 'no'
The following is a letter I sent to Eric Barron at FSU:
Mr. Barron, I read your column and can only express my dismay with, "What were you thinking?" You have watched what the Koch brothers have done with their money.
The song and dance in your column surely appeals to the idea of academic freedom. But in truth, it is the foot in the door that leads to the closed-mindedness produced by Jerry Falwell at Liberty University.
If you can demonstrate one idea from the Koch Foundation that is progressive or pro tax or beneficial to the little guy, then I should probably apologize for taking you to task. Of course you cannot provide one piece of data showing that the Koch brothers have anything but their self interest at heart.
Surely FSU can survive without this money and the influence it is meant to create.
Robert M. Lloyd, Ruskin