Mark the words of leaders who would chill news reporting | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a roundtable on media libel laws on Feb. 7.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a roundtable on media libel laws on Feb. 7. [ Gov. Ron DeSantis ]
Published Feb. 9

Watch what he says

DeSantis: Suing media should be easier | Feb. 8

Even though freedom of the press is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, politicians often dislike the light of unfettered truth. From tariffs on Canadian paper, which is used by print media, to weakening libel law protections, anti-democratic political figures will try many things to weaken the Fourth Estate. Authoritarian leaders dislike a free press and government in the sunshine. So, pay attention to the rhetoric of any politician who wants to weaken or chill news reporting. Countless lawsuits and litigation will make all Americans less able to gain access to information needed to maintain a free society. And remember, lawsuits work both ways. You can bet hard right wing media will dislike weakened libel laws at least as much as any other group.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

An easier way

Tax refund is proposed | Feb. 7

Here is a really simple way to return the funds of the voided Hillsborough County transportation sales tax to the taxpayers. Suspend sales tax collection in Hillsborough County. Each month, remit the amount of taxes that would have been collected from the escrow account holding the illegally collected taxes. When the escrow account is empty, start collecting sales taxes again.

LeRoy Dennison, Riverview

There is work right here

Lawmakers quickly move forward bill to expand DeSantis’ migrant flights program | Feb. 7

I wondered why our governor wants more money to send immigrants to and from other states. Florida has an estimated 775,000 undocumented immigrants. He says he’s concerned about them taking jobs from Floridians. But how many Floridians will spend eight hours a day removing and replacing roofing shingles? Or how many are in line to pick strawberries or tomatoes? Best of all, I’m sure there’s a line to scrub toilets. The “Big Three” Florida businesses — agriculture, construction and hospitality — have their needs, and I’m sure our governor is aware of that.

Robert Spencer, Dunedin

It’s the red nose

US downs Chinese balloon over ocean | Feb. 5

So NORAD can track Santa but can’t track a balloon meandering into U.S. air space?

Jeff Boyle, St. Petersburg

A working government

Disney’s Reedy Creek to be renamed, get DeSantis-picked board | Feb. 7

Of course, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to end Disney World’s self-control. It’s the only decent government in the state.

Joseph Crites, Clearwater