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Refinancing Pushes State Debt Down to $24.1 Billion, But Rising Interest Rates Loom

| December 4, 2016

State debt has declined since reaching a peak of $28.2 billion in 2010 due to several factors. Since taking office in 2011, Scott has remained largely opposed to borrowing money or issuing bonds.

Federal Judge to Florida: Your Children Medicaid Program Is Still in the Poorhouse

| May 5, 2015

Florida Medicaid’s system delays care and outreach to Medicaid-eligible children is inadequate, the federal lawsuit claims. A judge ruled the lawsuit can continue despite a Supreme Court decision Florida cited to dismiss the case.

Seeking $500 Million Cut, Scott Asks for Lower Taxes on Cell Phone, Satellite and Cable Bills

| January 20, 2015

The governor’s office said it would save about $43 a year for a family that spends $100 a month on cell-phone and cable services, though spending on such services varies widely by household.

Bowing to Utilities, Florida Regulators Cut Energy-Efficiency Goals and Sunset Solar Incentives

| November 28, 2014

A solar rebate program will expire at the end of 2015 and the Public Service Commission accepted a controversial staff recommendation that will lessen overall energy-efficiency goals for power companies.

Times Investigation of Attorney General Pam Bondi Uncovers More Dubious Ties

| November 12, 2014

Bondi’s questionable relationship with Lori Kalani, a lobbyist and lawyer, was reported about two weeks ago as part of an investigation by the Times into Bondi’s work with the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Daytona Speedway Seeking $3 Million A Year in Tax Gifts, Jaguars Close Behind

| November 1, 2014

The Jacksonville Jaguars are following closely behind the Daytona Speedway in requests of up to $90 million in sales tax dollars over 30 years, tax revenue that would be subtracted from public needs.

Continuing Brutality in Florida Prisons: 11 Guards Arrested Following Inmate Abuse

| September 13, 2014

On Wednesday, five prison guards were arrested for allegedly stomping on a handcuffed and shackled inmate at the Northwest Florida Reception Center last month. A sixth — a captain — was also charged with taking part in the attack and lying about it.

Sunshine Lows: Cities and Counties Do a Lousy Job of Sharing Information With Citizens

| June 3, 2014

When the First Amendment Foundation publicized its transparency scorecard last month, it found that on average, cities and counties in Florida had lots of room for improvement in sharing the workings of government with the governed.

Extending Spending Spree, Scott Asks for $200 Million Increase For Roads, Bridges and Ports

| January 14, 2014

The $200 million proposed increase for infrastructure follows Friday’s request for $100 million for tourism from Scott, who entered office in 2011 slashing a state budget he said was weighted down with “short-sided, frivolous, wasteful” projects.

Specialty Tags Lose Their Gloss As Fewer People Are Willing to Pay Extra For Causes

| November 12, 2013

There’s been a noticeable decline in motorists willing to pay an extra $15 to $25 to let others know their college or sports preferences or that they support the troops, manatees or even trees, but advocates say reducing registration fees could reinvigorate the program, which helps raise $30 million a year for a wide range of causes.

State Rakes In Cash From Seminole Casinos and Rethinks Gambling Landscape

| October 23, 2013

Under the current deal with the Seminoles, which ends in 2015, the tribe makes the payments to the state in exchange for having the exclusive right to offer banked table games, such as blackjack, along with a monopoly on all slot locations outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The Seminoles agreed to pay a minimum of $150 million in each of the first two years, $233 million in the third and fourth years and $234 million in 2015.

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.

“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.

Florida’s Political Scientist:
Five Questions for Susan McManus

| July 2, 2013

Susan MacManus is probably Florida’s most-quoted political scientist. A distinguished professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Government and International Affairs, she’s also a featured columnist on the Sayfie Review website and a political analyst for Tampa’s WFLA Channel 8.

Troopergate: Florida Highway Patrol Was Wrong to Fire Charles Swindle Over Bogus Ticket

| June 10, 2013

The Florida Highway Patrol shouldn’t have fired trooper Charles Swindle, who followed “the agency’s unwritten policy of professional courtesy” toward state legislators, a hearing officer ruled Monday. But that doesn’t mean the ex-trooper was right when issuing less expensive tickets last November to the lawmakers.

FHP Director Julie Jones Is Shocked, Shocked to Hear of Troopers Issuing Fake Tickets

| June 4, 2013

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones said she expects the agency will look into allegations of bogus tickets, described last week by a handful of former and current troopers during an administrative hearing on the firing of former FHP Trooper Charles Swindle.

Florida Government’s DCF Looks to Religious Organizations to Recruit Foster Parents

| June 3, 2013

Looking for foster parents, DCF Director of Faith Based Development Erik Braun told child welfare professionals at a conference that Florida has 12 million residents affiliated with a Catholic or Protestant church, 1 million Jews and 400,000 to 600,000 Muslims.

Florida’s Surplus Adds Dollars to Services From Mental Health to Rape Crisis Centers

| May 23, 2013

People with disabilities, domestic and sexual violence programs, mental health and substance abuse programs, juvenile justice and children’s services all got bigger budgets for the first time since the recession began.

Citing “Mismanagement and Inaction,” Nelson Blames Scott for Ongoing Mortgage Mess

| March 27, 2013

Nelson said during a stop in Tallahassee that he has written the inspector general of the federal Troubled Assets Relief Fund, or TARP, to look into what he called “mismanagement and inaction by Florida officials” in administering a program called “Hardest Hit,” which was supposed to take federal money and help struggling homeowners.

From Red Lights to School Buses: Florida Looks For Traffic Spy Cameras’ Next Perch

| September 27, 2012

Despite having by far the safest record of any mode of transportation, including in Flagler, Florida school officials are looking to add spy-and-snap cameras on school buses similar to red-light cameras at Palm Coast and other cities’ intersections. School districts would reap most of the cash benefits from fines.

Florida Is the Most Corrupt State in the Union, According to a Federal Tally of Convictions

| June 6, 2012

Based on U.S. Department of Justice data, Florida led the nation in the number of convictions between 2000 and 2010, according to data compiled by Integrity Florida, a non-profit research group founded earlier this year by former Florida Chamber spokesman Dan Krasner and former Common Cause Florida executive director Ben Wilcox.

Largest Employer in Most Florida Counties, Flagler Included: Government

| May 16, 2012

A government entity is the largest employer in 51 of the state’s 67 counties, including in Flagler, where the school board 1,700 employees, and in every county in Florida government at least one of the top five largest employers.

Rick Scott’s Obsession With Other People’s Urine

| May 3, 2012

Anyone other than my doctor who’d ask me to pee in a cup isn’t just out of line. He’d be out of his mind. Yet an entire industry thrives on such cup-holders, Gov. Rick Scott among them, and millions of Americans are not only complying with the docility of circus animals. They’re encouraging the indignity and asking for more.

A Quarter of Gov. Scott’s Vetoes Slash Health Spending, Research and Education

| April 18, 2012

A sampling of vetoes included money for such things as meningitis immunizations for children, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Broward County, a fetal-alcohol clinic in Sarasota and a mobile-health unit in rural Gadsden County.

Profits of Buying Florida’s Government: Lobbyists Earn $52 Million in 2nd Quarter

| August 18, 2011

Florida is hurting. Lobbyists aren’t: they increased their take from April to June to $52 million, up from $49.3 million in the same period last year.

Florida Medicaid Audit Reveals Shockingly Poor Oversight

| May 18, 2010

Lax state oversight of Medicaid is fueling runaway costs in the health program covering 2.7 million poor and elderly Floridians.

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