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Florida Lawmakers Consider Dumping Property Tax and More Than Doubling Sales Tax

| October 8, 2015

If the state eliminated all property taxes, committee records indicate the state’s sales tax would have to go from 6 percent to 12.72 percent to cover existing state, local, school and special district expenses.

Flagler, Among Top 10 Counties With Most Concealed-Weapon Licenses, Will Fast-Track Permitting

| August 31, 2015

Flagler has 8.24 concealed carry permits for every 100 residents. Starting Jan. 1, the Flagler Tax Collector’s office will accept concealed-weapon permit applications for $134 and renewals for $72.

State Education Board’s “Historic” Funding Proposal Is Still $1,000 Per Student Below 2006 Level

| August 26, 2015

In inflation adjusted dollars, current spending on public education is $1,100-per-student less than it was in 2007, and would still be $1,000 less if the Legislature goes along with a state board of education proposal.

Raise the Gas Tax Already

| August 11, 2015

The federal gas tax has been stuck at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, lowest among advanced countries. Yet Congress just adopted a three-month stopgap measure, kicking the gas can down the road for the 35th time since 2009.

With 11 Jobs and Life Skills for 85 Disabled Adults at Stake, School Board Scrambles for Lost Money

| June 29, 2015

The Flagler school board lost $535,000 for two essential programs for adults with disabilities when the Legislature slashed $10 million from its budget for that program. On Tuesday, board members will look for a patch on the way to a solution to keep the program from closing.

Gov. Scott Signs $429 Million Tax-Cut Package, Saving Average Floridians a Few Dollars a Year

| June 17, 2015

The tax savings are projected at less than $2 a month for people paying $100 a month for phone or TV services. The package reduces costs on cell-phone bills, cable TV bills, gun club memberships, college textbooks and luxury boat repairs.

Despite Budget Crunch, Cable and Cell Phone Tax Cuts Still Expected in Special Session

| June 1, 2015

Floridians could still get a reduction in their cable-TV and cell-phone bills as part of a new House tax-cut package, though it’ll fall short of the nearly $700 million package projected earlier this year.

Don’t Privatize The Postal Service.
Build On It.

| March 7, 2015

Blaming deficits created by a bogus retirement-fund requirement, the USPS is closing distribution centers, cutting worker hours, eliminating delivery routes, and slashing jobs. It needn’t be that way, argues Katherine McFate.

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.



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