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Posts tagged as: small government

Florida TaxWatch Urges Gov. Scott to Veto $120 Million in Budget “Turkeys”; Flagler Is Spared

| May 23, 2014

A dog park in Jacksonville, a fountain in Palm Beach and money to help people get to the planned 1,000-foot-tall SkyRise Miami were among $121 million in budget projects that Florida TaxWatch says Gov. Rick Scott needs to strike with his line-item veto.

Florida Prisons Want To Slash Kosher Offerings; Justice Department Says It Would Be Illegal

| May 22, 2014

In a brief filed Monday, lawyers for the Department of Corrections argued that the law allows Florida to scrap the kosher meals because of the financial burden placed on the “cash-strapped agency.” The state has spent more than $200,000 on the lawsuit so far.

Moral Monday Comes to Florida as NAACP Leads Capitol Protest, and Right-Wingers Respond

| March 3, 2014

“Moral Monday” included an array of left-leaning groups calling for lawmakers to expand Medicaid, stop the state’s voter purge and roll back the “stand your ground” self-defense law, while a right-wing group later held its own event to oppose expanding Medicaid and support overhauling the state’s pension system, cut taxes and expand school vouchers.

Flagler-Based Family Life Center Will Provide Rape-Exam Services, Ending Year of Failures Under Children’s Advocacy Center

| March 3, 2014

The Children’s Advocacy Center failures came to light last spring when it failed to provide a certified nurse following a rape, forcing the victim to wait for hours. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will administer the contract, awarded to Palm Coast and Bunnell-based Family Life Center. which says it has Flagler-based nurses to provide exams when needed.

Memo to Florida Legislature: Quit Bashing Public-Employee Pensions

| February 20, 2014

A determined cohort of elected officials in our Legislature is trying to turn working and retired people against each other, to better the odds of a dangerous bill becoming destructive law. If ever there were a legislative wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing of “fiscal responsibility,” this would be that perpetually hungry beast, argues Daniel Tilson.

Another Tax Cut for Business: Putnam Proposes Reducing Electricity Sales Levy By Half

| February 13, 2014

By phasing in the reduction from 7 percent to 3.5 percent, the impact to state revenue should be a reduction of about $85 million the first year, and an additional $70 million in each of the two following years. Residential customers would see no tax cut.

State Employees Would Be Shifted to 401(k)-Like Plans, Ending Florida Retirement System for Almost All

| February 12, 2014

The Senate proposal dramatically overhauling the pension plans for many future public employees sets off a highly anticipated election-year fight between unions and Republican legislative leaders. Only firefighters and cops would be allowed to stay in FRS.

GOP Lawmaker Calls State’s Surplus Land Sale Program a “Disaster”

| January 13, 2014

The Department of Environmental Protection effort was created with the intent of generating $50 million and replace the defunct and once-popular Florida Forever program, but so far no money has been raised and what has become a shortened list continues to draw criticism for sites remaining under consideration.

Again Breaking a Pledge, Children’s Advocacy Center Sets Ultimatum On Rape-Crisis Intervention as Top Cops Scramble

| January 9, 2014

The Children Advocacy Center’s promise in July to provide rape-crisis exams to adults in Flagler and Volusia counties turned out to be relatively hollow, and was followed by an ultimatum that the CAC would get out of the business altogether by June, triggering a furiously critical response from State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Sheriff Manfre and other local top cops.

Your Ad Here: State Negotiating For Advertising Along Florida’s Prime Nature Trails

| December 30, 2013

New York-based Bikepath Country has offered to give the state 30 percent of any revenue over 15 years in exchange for making signs and seeking corporate sponsors for the controversial program, which went into effect more than a year ago.

Deloitte Defends Work on Florida’s System for Unemployed as It Faces $15,000-a-Day Fine

| December 23, 2013

The $62.8 million Connect system went live on Oct. 15 and continues to pose problems for many users and headaches for Florida officials. Deloitte Consulting contends its contract “has surpassed the performance of the unsustainable systems it replaced.”

Extra State Revenue Could Top $1 Billion As Legislature Approaches Spring Session

| December 8, 2013

State economic forecasters added $324.3 million to expected tax revenues during the current budget year, which ends June 30, and the fiscal year that begins the next day. Because lawmakers have already passed a budget covering this year, all of the new money should be available for the spending plan that starts in July.

A Little Less Stingy, a Lot More Conditional: Palm Coast Approves $25,000 in Culture Grants

| November 6, 2013

Eleven cultural organizations applied and all 11 got cultural grants from Palm Coast government, but with many strings attached even though none of the grants exceeds $2,370, and the total awarded is still a far cry from the $40,000 budget of six years ago.

Pantry Alert: Cuts in Food Stamps Benefits Will Affect 3.6 Million Floridians Staring Nov. 1

| October 26, 2013

Florida’s food hardship rate is more than 21 percent, meaning that one in five Florida households reported that in the past year they struggled to buy enough food for the family. The state is one of the hardest-hit for food security.

Florida Prisoners Will Wash Dishes and Sew Their Own Clothes in Bid to Save Money

| September 26, 2013

Florida’s prisons have a $45.5 million deficit despite shuttering 10 prisons in recent years, so department head Mike Crews is finding new ways to save money, including refusing to replace broken dishwashers and making inmates do the work instead.

Sen. Dorothy Hukill Proposes Cutting Sales Tax on Commercial Rental Property to 5%

| September 19, 2013

Senate Finance and Tax Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange’s proposal could cut $250 million a year from state revenue. Business leaders want the tax, currently at 6%, eliminated altogether as Gov. Rick Scott travels the state on a tax-cutting tour.

Flagler Health Department Chief Defends Ban on Navigators, Citing Privacy and Logistics

| September 16, 2013

Flagler County Health Department Director Patrick Johnson defended the state’s controversial ban from DOH property against outreach workers called Navigators, who help uninsured people sign up for subsidized health coverage under Obamacare–a law Florida officials have actively and chronically obstructed.

“Anybody But DCF”: Judge Wants Failing Agency Off Child Investigations After 5th Death

| July 23, 2013

On Monday, the department released information about the weekend death of a Homestead child who had earlier come to the attention of child-welfare officials. The death was the fifth such case since May 16 and followed the resignation last week of DCF Secretary David Wilkins, who left amid controversy about his approach to child safety.

Rape Crisis Failure:
How the Children’s Advocacy Center Betrayed a Victim at Her Most Vulnerable

| July 1, 2013

After a Flagler Beach woman was allegedly raped on June 14, the Children’s Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach was responsible for providing a certified nurse to conduct an exam and gather evidence in a private setting. It failed on all counts. A FlaglerLive investigation reveals the extent of a failure that local police have been contending with since the center opted to cut its ties with the provider who’d ensured a functioning system for many years.

Flagler Middle & High School Principals Plead With Voters: Give Us Back Those 45 Minutes

| June 3, 2013

Flagler County’s four secondary-school principals say restoring 45 minutes to the school day, or the equivalent of a month’s worth education, is indispensable if the district’s students are to excel consistently.

Flagler Tea Party Spreads False and Misleading Claims as It Declares Against School Tax

| May 31, 2013

The Tea Party’s opposition to the referendum is based on flawed, misleading or outright false information, which the school district has been at pains to counter or correct. The fate of the June 7 referendum may hinge on the district’s success—or failure—in that counter-offensive.

The IRS’ Nonprofit Dysfunctions: A Problem Deeper Than Conservative Targeting

| May 19, 2013

The IRS division responsible for flagging Tea Party groups has long been an agency afterthought, beset by mismanagement, financial constraints and an unwillingness to spell out just what it expects from social welfare nonprofits, former officials and experts say.

Juvenile Detention Cost-Shifting Arguments in Appeals Court, With Implications for Counties

| May 15, 2013

Counties argue they currently pick up 75 percent of some juvenile detention costs, but should be paying less. The state claims in in court filings that the Legislature actually intended for the counties to cover 89 percent of the costs.Either way, local governments are groaning under the burden.

Judge Rejects Teachers’ Challenge to Law Tying Pay and Evaluations to Student Performance

| May 3, 2013

A group of teachers, backed by the Florida Education Association, contended in the challenge that the law violated constitutionally guaranteed collective-bargaining rights and that lawmakers had given too much decision-making authority to the state Board of Education.

Lawmakers Seal $74 Billion Budget Deal, With Merit Teacher Pay and Medicaid Patch

| April 29, 2013

Under the deal on teacher pay raises, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top two priorities, teachers rated as “effective” would receive a raise of at least $2,500, while those rated “highly effective” would get $3,500. The raises wouldn’t be paid out, though, until June 2014.

Merit Pay Only as Lawmakers Knock Out $2,500 Across-the-Board Raise for Teachers

| April 22, 2013

While granting Gov. Rick Scott $480 million he requested for education, lawmakers rejected a $2,500 across-the-board pay for teachers, tying any raises to merit pay only. The methodology for such increases has itself been controversial.

Florida’s Early Learning, Once a Strength, Being Revamped to Look More Like Day Care

| April 6, 2013

Specific benchmarks, along with language expressing the importance of readiness programs, are removed from a proposed committee bill that emerged Thursday in Tallahassee, removing an emphasis on learning and readiness for school.

For Florida’s Poorest 600,000, a Stingy Health Care Proposal that Cuts to the Bone

| April 1, 2013

The latest proposal to provide health care to Florida’s poorest snubs federal money while creating limited health accounts the poor may tap, but for limited services, and with burdensome conditions of employment–and premiums that most may not be able to afford.

Snubbing Scott and Billions in Federal Aid, Florida House GOP Reject Medicaid Expansion

| March 4, 2013

Only a few hours after Florida’s chief economist said the state can’t afford to leave billions of federal dollars sitting on the table, the House committee on the Affordable Care Act voted to do exactly that.

Give the Post Office a Break

| March 3, 2013

If the Postal Service were run like Congress, postal workers would only show up on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays — except when they were on vacation, which would be a lot, argues Donald Kaul.

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