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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 25, 2013

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THOSE WHO KNOW RUBIO BEST, LIKE HIM LEAST

Poll Shows Rubio Lagging in Popularity Around State [Tampa Bay Times] "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's high-profile positioning for a presidential run in 2016 appears to be doing him no favors back home. Only 41 percent of Floridians have a favorable view of Florida's junior senator and 34 percent have an unfavorable view, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week."

 

Poll: Rubio’s Standing Takes Hit At Home, Fla. Voters Opposed To 2016 Bid [Talking Points Memo] "At a time when Sen. Marco Rubio's national profile continues to grow, a poll released Thursday found the Florida Republican's standing at home has slipped in recent months. The poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Rubio with an approval rating that's barely above water. Forty-four percent of Florida voters approve of the job their junior senator and potential 2016 contender is doing, while 43 percent disapprove. It marks a notable drop from Rubio in the Sunshine State since PPP's previous survey there in January. At that time, Rubio boasted a strong approval rating: 49 percent of Florida voters approved, while 36 percent said they disapproved."

 

MORE WRONG PRIORITIES: RICK SCOTT PROTECTING BIG CORPORATIONS

In Push to Close State Tax Loopholes, Gov. Rick Scott the Obstacle [Florida Center for Investigative Reporting] "Plans to close tax loopholes in the state might not come to fruition, because a bill that would close those loopholes doesn’t have the expressed support  of Gov. Rick Scott...According to the Sentinel, at least 100 Florida companies are dodging the state’s corporate income tax by creating a subsidiary in a state such as Delaware — which has no corporate income tax — and then paying that subsidiary for the right to use some company resources...During Scott’s term in office, he has slashed the corporate income tax, benefitting large companies while shrinking revenue for state-run programs. Last year, the corporate income tax brought in less than $2 billion for the state. While the GOP-controlled Legislature has resisted seeking out more tax revenue from big companies, state Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, chairman of the House Finance & Tax Subcommittee, says he is committed to closing loopholes that allow companies to dodge Florida’s corporate income tax. But Workman’s biggest hurdle will be Scott, a wealthy former hospital CEO who has always disliked the tax."

 

WEATHERFORD FL POLITICS LOSER OF THE WEEK

Loser of the Week: Will Weatherford [Tampa Bay Times] "The 33-year-old Wesley Chapel Republican could never live up to the extraordinary bipartisan optimism and enthusiasm for his speakership. But Weatherford has managed to scrape off the sheen awfully fast, starting with painfully misleading personal anecdotes about why he opposes Medicaid expansion in Florida. Weatherford also flies in style aboard a lobbyist's plane, and between his preening before right-wing party activists in Washington last weekend and his approach on overhauling Florida pensions, he's in danger of looking more like an ideologue than a leader."

 

FL HOUSE PASSES INCUMBENT PROTECTION PLAN AS 'ELECTIONS REFORM'

Florida House Passes Major Campaign-finance Re-write [Orlando Sentinel] "The Florida House voted Friday to open the doors to more money flowing directly into the coffers of state candidates as part of a sweeping campaign-finance reform that also shines more light on givers and bans some types of fundraising through slush funds...But critics noted the CCE ban would just re-shuffle where the money winds up, not reduce its influence...In particular, Democrats objected to a provision allowing candidates to transfer unspent cash into their next campaign – a $50,000 “rollover” allowance Republicans reduced to $20,000 in an amendment Friday. Critics said that would still prohibit challengers from competing against incumbents. Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, called it a “brazen incumbent protection plan.”

 

FL GOP STILL ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY ON LGBT RIGHTS

Rapid Change in Public Opinion of Gay Marriage Challenges GOP [Tampa Bay Times] "Public opinion in America has undergone such a rapid sea change that opponents of same-sex marriage increasingly look as if they soon will hold the fringe position. A growing chorus of conservatives argue that what only a few years ago was a fundamental plank of the GOP platform — opposing gay marriage — has now became a major liability...Barely four years ago, nearly 62 percent of Florida voters approved a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. This week a poll released by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found just 23 percent of Florida voters oppose legal recognition of both gay marriages and civil unions, and 75 percent support either gay marriage or civil unions. Among Republicans, 53 percent support civil unions, and 21 percent support legal same-sex marriage."

 

Editorial: Embrace Marriage Equality [Tampa Bay Times] "When President Barack Obama became the first president to endorse same-sex marriage, he was reflecting evolving American attitudes on the issue. As with other historic civil rights gains for racial minorities and women, Americans eventually embrace fairness. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two landmark same-sex marriage cases. The justices should declare that the U.S. Constitution's equal protection guarantees extend to the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. That would be a just conclusion and reflect where the nation is headed...There is momentum on the side of expanding marriage rights. An array of mainstream interests from major corporations to high-profile Republicans have weighed in on behalf of same-sex couples. In the end, only nine justices' opinions will matter. They should embrace equality and fairness."

 

TO BE FILED UNDER 'ARTICLES THAT SHOULD MAKE RICK SCOTT SWEAT'

Charlie Crist: The Luckiest Pol in America [Politico] "Crist has the admiration – and appreciation – of a White House that considered his 2012 endorsement key. And if party-jumping often leads to political oblivion, Crist is proving that timing is everything; not only does he seem to be cruising to the nomination, he would face an increasingly beleaguered incumbent, Gov. Rick Scott, who suddenly seems eminently beatable."