State budget not worthy of celebrating
May 27, 2009
I don't think Governor Crist should have a bill signing "ceremony" today when he signs the state's budget. Bill signing ceremonies are usually reserved for events where we celebrate an accomplishment. I don't believe there is anything in the budget to celebrate, unless we are celebrating the triumph of short-sightedness. More...
Budget fails to meet the needs of our citizens
May 8, 2009
I don't blame my colleagues in the Senate. President Atwater earnestly made sure we looked at most of the reforms I have advanced for years. But ultimately the House Republicans refused to even consider them based, I believe, on an unthinking allegiance to tired old right-wing orthodoxies.More... ~ 6 Comments
Short term gain, long term regret
Apr 22, 2009
While many of these measures may provide some short term ability to navigate our budget crisis, we need to be mindful not to create longer term problems from which we can't recede. You can't tear down oil rigs and you pay for a cheap education forever. More... ~ 5 Comments
The specter of a regressive budget
Apr 21, 2009
It would be awful if the Florida Legislature decided to pass a budget that included huge increases in fees, tuition increases in our colleges and universities, and gambling expansions and tobacco taxes - but refused to include any significant revenue from closing tax loopholes and unwise sales tax exemptions. More... ~ 1 Comments
Short Update on the Legislative Session
Apr 8, 2009
The legislative session has reached its mid-point and the dominating issue continues to be the economy and its impact on Florida's budget. There seems to be general agreement - after an initial phase of chest thumping - that the federal stimulus money will be embraced and not rejected. (In fact, the chant quickly went from "we don't want your money" to we "want more of your money.")More... ~ 9 Comments
Holding education harmless: getting past semantics to a real definition
Mar 24, 2009
But the promises to hold education harmless have become about as reliable as Octo-mom's assurance she isn't just looking for a book or movie deal. More... ~ 2 Comments
Tell me your school budget cut story!
Oct 10, 2008
Last week my web site opened up a portal to receive and post stories about how school budget cuts are impacting public education in Florida. The promise by Republican elected officials to "hold education harmless" has become a cruel joke (sort of like "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.").More... ~ 11 Comments
Optimism is not an economic policy.
Aug 15, 2008
Florida's economy is in freefall. This last year the legislature cut $6 billion due to declining economic activity, fuel costs, home sales and a variety of other factors. Today the Revenue Estimating Conference of the State reported that an additional $1.8 billion will have to be cut from the current budget. Nearly $8 billion in two years!More... ~ 1 Comments
Forecast: Darker skies ahead.
Aug 13, 2008
This Friday, Florida's Revenue Estimating Conference will convene to present their official budget forecast for the upcoming year and beyond. Prior to Friday they believed Florida's declining revenue might show a slight uptick. Prepare yourselves for more bad news as conditions have only worsened and their forecast is likely to reflect darker skies. More... ~ 1 Comments
2-5-7-9 these are the measures to decline.
Jul 22, 2008
In November you will have nine (9) amendments on the ballot. One was placed on the ballot by the Legislature, another measure through the citizen initiative process, and the remaining seven (7) by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (on which I was a nonvoting member). Here is my primer to all the amendments, along with recommendations and a little attitude.More... ~ 2 Comments
Florida's budget is nothing to celebrate
Jun 11, 2008
Today, Governor Crist signs Florida's $66 billion budget without any of the fanfare or pomp that often accompanies the event. It's a good thing, as this is not a budget that warrants celebration.More... ~ 2 Comments
Taxation Commission violated fundamental fairness of voting franchise
Jun 3, 2008
The TBRC leadership will argue that they had the power to combine measures. While I disagree, it's a sorry defense that doesn't make it right. While I recognize that Governor Bush (the invisible hand responsible for the measure) and others may be honestly passionate about school—vouchers, it is less than honest and unbecoming for those given power and a public trust to intentionally try to trick voters. If former Governor Bush believes he is right on the merits and on principle, than he should support putting the measure up for a fair debate and an up or down vote, rather than resorting to chicanery to prevail. More... ~ 1 Comments
Blame the Republican Legislature (especially in November) - Part I (Education)
May 15, 2008
My favorite is "we are just making the tough choices that any family would make in hard times." Yeah, right. I can just imagine my wife's reaction if I told her that I wanted to cut the kids' education to make sure I didn't have to turn in my Miami Heat tickets. That would go over well.More... ~ 1 Comments
More Pain than Gain
May 5, 2008
Well, you can let the kids out of the cellar, the 2008 legislative session is over. Though my colleagues did somehow find the time to debate whether truck ornaments should be regulated or evolution was reliable enough for Florida's science classes. Florida's budget crisis dominated the 60 days as we tried to navigate what to do with a nearly $6 billion cut from last year. While the air was rich with metaphors ("we have to tighten our belts"), they ultimately did find the courage you might have expected: they forced bedridden seniors, the developmentally disabled and public schoolchildren to bear the brunt of the cuts.More... ~ 1 Comments
The Distraction Agenda
Apr 17, 2008
Florida is facing soaring gas prices, horrible windstorm rates and property taxesMore... ~ 1 Comments
Lock the women and children in steerage; don't scuff the wingtips!
Apr 11, 2008
By Dan Gelber
Yesterday the House sent its budget over to the Senate. The debate went as predicted (see "Budget Debate" post from 4/9), the vote was party line, and the cuts reflected what any good captain of a sinking ship might do (lock the women, children and seniors in steerage; put the corporate bigwigs on the lifeboats without scuffing their wing tipped shoes). The Republicans directed billions in cuts mostly from services provided children, sick children, infants, sick infants, school children, abused children, seniors, sick seniors, and dying seniors.More... ~ 1 Comments