1. Opinion

Florida’s college system offers a great return on investment to taxpayers

Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor
The Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College is a partnership between the city of Seminole and SPC.
The Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College is a partnership between the city of Seminole and SPC.
Published Feb. 3

Florida colleges: a solid payback

The Florida College System

The Florida College System (FCS) comprises 28 public community colleges and state colleges located across the state. With nearly 750,000 students, the FCS is widely viewed as one of the finest in the nation. These colleges are authorized to offer certificates, associate and baccalaureate degrees. The FCS is responsible for responding to community needs for post-secondary academic education and career degree education. Floridians know the benefits and opportunities provided to students by these college’s in their community, but often fail to recognize the positive economic impacts these colleges have on their community and them as taxpayers.

On average, Florida taxpayers receive a return on investment of $10.80 to $15.42 for each dollar invested in the FCS and 10,000 new jobs as a result of higher lifetime earnings from FCS graduates. Every year FCS students join or rejoin the state workforce; in fact, approximately 95% of FCS graduates stay and work, or continue their education, in Florida. Student added skills translate to higher income and a more robust state economy. A 2013 economic analysis by EMSI, estimated over the past 30 years that the accumulated contribution of workforce productivity received by former students at the FCS annually adds some $25.2 billion in income to Florida. The FCS is a sound investment from multiple perspectives.

The return on investment for taxpayers is generated from the increased tax revenue from a robust economy and reduction in the demand for taxpayer-supported social services. Additionally, the FCS contributes to the strength of both the local and state economies. The next time you as a taxpayer see your local or state elected representative make sure they are investing your taxpayer dollars into the Florida College System, the local colleges that help your community thrive.

Dominic Calabro, Tallahassee

The writer is president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

We need a better system

The Iowa caucuses

A supporter is interviewed next to a stencil of Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a campaign office on the day of the Iowa Caucus in West Des Moines. [ANDREW HARNIK | AP]

I do not understand why Iowa goes first in our primary season. Its demographics do not reflect our country. Changing that system is just one of many things needed to ensure fair elections. For example, to hear the GOP proclaim impeaching President Donald Trump will steal the mandate of the electorate is hogwash. Hillary Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes — that was the will of the people. It is time the Electoral College go the way of the horse and buggy. Several states (through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact) do recognize the will of the people and are ready to acknowledge the popular vote. It’s time others join them. Let the people decide.

John Tischner, Dunedin

What GOP senators did

GOP holds fast for president | Feb. 2

Here are some more appropriate headlines: “GOP upholds Constitution,” “GOP refuses to do House’s job,” “GOP stands up for American voters.”

Ruth Mahoney, Riverview

A waste of time

The impeachment trial

Well that was pretty much a waste of time. The sad part is, about half of America actually wanted the president removed in an election year. He acted improperly, but that’s not impeachable.

Hal Batey, St. Petersburg

The wrong kind of credit

State of the Union

The chamber of the House of Representatives is seen at the Capitol in Washington as it is prepared for President Donald Trump to give his State of the Union address Tuesday night. [J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE | AP]

In Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, the president will take credit for what he’ll say is the best economy ever. But it’s not even close. If the economy is so good, why can’t 40 percent of Americans afford a $400 emergency? If the economy is so good, why is the national debt the highest ever? If the economy is so good, why do we have a $1 trillion budget deficit?

Terrence Callahan, Crystal Beach


  1. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  2. Our democracy is under unprecedented attack from overseas, but the federal government has been unable or unwilling to protect our campaign-finance system.
  3. Cars sit locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Hillsborough County Commission will discuss Wednesday whether to prepare a transportation tax for the November ballot now that the fate of the current tax rests with the Florida Supreme Court. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times] 
  4. In this Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, file photo, Tiffany Carr, executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, background right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, in Tallahassee, Fla. On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into a nonprofit domestic abuse agency whose CEO, Carr, had received $7.5 million in compensation over a three-year span. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
  5. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years.
  6. The United States' life expectancy has gone down four out of the last five years largely because of deaths in the 25-64 age range.
  7. Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump
  8. In this image from video, the vote total, 53-47 for not guilty, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of congress, is displayed on screen during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate.
  9. Nurse manager Amy Hunt holds the special stethoscope that allows nurses at Tampa General Hospital to record a heartbeat while they listen to it during a routine exam.
  10. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. Workers are preparing to mail 260,000 vote by mail kits for the November General Election.