RICK SCOTT: GOODBYE TEA PARTY, HELLO SOCIALISM?
For a Governor who campaigned on less government and more freedom, Scott's plan to raise tuition rates on certain degrees directly thwarts the free market and puts the state in the business of picking winners and loser. Goodbye Tea Party, hello Socialism?
AND SPEAKING OF SCOTT AND THE TEA PARTY…
What's It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge? Just Ask Florida! [Mother Jones] "In just one year, Scott and his conservative allies slashed state spending by $4 billion even as they cut corporate taxes. They've rejected billions in federal funds in one of the states hardest hit by the recession. They've axed everything from health care and public transportation initiatives to mosquito control and water supply programs. 'Florida is where the rhetoric becomes the reality. It's kind of the tea party on steroids,' says state Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat."
Rick Scott, Tax-and-Spend Tea Partier? [Mother Jones] "Two years and many millions in cuts later, Scott is one of the country’s most unpopular governors. And now that Scott is facing reelection next year, he’s changing his tune about government spending. The budget he presented to the state legislature this month was nearly $10 billion larger than the one he unveiled (at a tea party rally) in 2011, and the largest ever proposed in Florida history."
Airline Hailed As Job Creator By Rick Scott Charged With Theft [Tampa Bay Times] "It was one of the first big job announcements of Gov. Rick Scott's administration: Vision Airlines was bringing a hub to the Panhandle, promising 4,200 'direct and indirect' jobs to the region…It didn't quite work out that way. The airline abandoned its flights to Fort Walton Beach in less than two years. It also, local officials say, abandoned its contractual obligations to the area. In December, county commissioners sued the company for nearly $150,000 in unpaid airline fees. And on Monday, State Attorney Bill Eddins charged Vision Airlines with grand theft.”
Dems Complaint of Scott’s Budget: Too Much To Be True [Saint PetersBlog] "Several Senate Democrats complained Tuesday that Governor Rick Scott’s proposed $74 billion budget includes money the state may not have and said it was a feel-good, but unrealistic suggestion. Things in his proposed spending plan 'smack of politics and it’s likely we won’t even be able to do them,' lamented Sen. Darren Soto during a caucus meeting. 'It’s a set-up. There’s funny money in this current budget.' Soto said revenue estimates project no more than $71 billion being available."
Medicaid: Is Rick Scott the Heart of the Problem? [DailyKos] "It seems that Gov. Rick Scott is more interested in building a history as a true conservative than a legacy of building a true bridge between private health care and public responsibility!...The goal seems to be to have a government for the people, by the people and without the people...I just hope the State of Florida can soon have a government without Rick Scott!"
GOP STAND IN THE WAY OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS
Senate Panel Tables Domestic Partnership Vote [Sun Sentinel] "The measure attempts to create a statewide domestic partnership law, which would extend some of the rights of married couples such as inheritance and hospital visitation to unmarried couples…Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, the sponsor of the legislation, SB 196, said the bill was not about offering a pathway to gay marriage given that the proposal would also benefit unmarried heterosexual couples."
Domestic Partnership Bill Back To Drawing Board [Tampa Bay Times] "Vowing not to give up, Democratic state Sen. Eleanor Sobel delayed a committee vote of a domestic partnership bill that looked unlikely to pass and still faces long odds…'This is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of Floridians,' said Nadine Smith of Tampa, who is the executive director of the advocacy group Equality Florida. 'Those of us who are in committed relationships are treated as legal strangers at the moment the people who love us need us the most, when tragedy strikes,' Smith told lawmakers.
Rubio Is Trying To Have It Both Ways On Immigration. More from Think Progress here.
FL DEMS FIGHTING FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS
Affordable Care Act Has Positive Effects For Students [Central Florida Future] "For College Students across the nation, the Affordable Care Act will change the way they pay for their health care…Currently, the state legislature is working on whether or not to enact the Medicaid Expansion statute of ACA. This part was left to the states to decide their own course of action. State Rep. Joe Saunders said this Medicaid expansion would positively impact UCF students. 'I think one of the most critical things the state legislature can do this year is take action to expand Medicaid in the state.’”
Frankel To IRS: Stop Tax-refund Fraud [Sun Sentinel] "Alarmed by fresh evidence of tax-refund scams in South Florida, Congresswoman Lois Frankel on Tuesday demanded answers from the IRS about attempts to stop crooks from stealing Social Security numbers to file false tax returns. In a letter to the IRS, the Democratic freshman from West Palm Beach cited an estimate from the National Taxpayer Advocate that refund fraud cases have increased by about 650 percent since 2008.”
Senators Take Field Trip To Voting Equipment Center [Tampa Bay Times] "State senators went on an unusual two-hour field trip Tuesday to check out the internal workings of a voting equipment center in Tallahassee where ballots are cast, counted and in some cases, rejected. The site visit by members of the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee was hosted by Ion Sancho, the long-time Leon County elections supervisor who has been an outspoken critic of Republican-backed changes to state voting laws. . . Sancho runs a highly professional operation and has held office since 1989."
Bill Nelson Visits Tallahassee to Talk Elder Issues [WCTV] "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson begins his chairmanship of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging not only with a promise to fight for economic security for elderly Americans, but with a fact-finding tour to hear from some of his state’s best scientists, doctors and policy-makers on a wide-array of issues affecting the elderly."
Aging Committee Chair, Sen. Bill Nelson, On Fla. Listening Tour [WFSU] "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) was in Tallahassee on Tuesday for a fact-finding mission about aging. This week, Nelson is meeting with Florida doctors and policy-makers to discuss things like Medicare and assisted living facilities. Nelson is the new chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging. He was in Gainesville on Monday, and on Tuesday, he was at Florida State University, discussing issues that affect the elderly."
Front & Center: Protecting Florida's Waterways [Orlando Sentinel] "Bob Graham has worn many hats in a long, distinguished public-service career. Florida state legislator. Florida's 38th governor. U.S. senator. Now, he's donning the white hat — charging to the rescue of Florida's ailing waterways. On Saturday, Graham headlined the Speak Up Wekiva rally, concerned with finding solutions to save the badly polluted Wekiwa Springs."