Heads Scott wins, Tails Obama loses
Jun 18, 2012
Of course last time I checked Florida was part of the United States, so the notion that you can simultaneous blame the President and credit the Governor for the same job situation is ridiculous. More... ~ 3 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
Mar 3, 2009
I've always been a big fan of optimism! I'm optimistic every time I shoot a basketball. But optimism is not a policy and it is not a cure. Optimism cannot help parents pay the mortgage, it doesn't keep your boss from letting you know you've been downsized, and it cannot fill a soon to be announced $2 billion budget hole that is not even accounted for in the Governor's budget. So while I want us to always be hopeful, optimism must be tethered to reality. More... ~ 1 Comments
Let's take the long view
Feb 18, 2009
I spent the last few weeks in depressing budget hearings, listening to state economists and experts tell us the grim news. Florida's losing jobs faster than anywhere; our mortgage crisis is equally distressing; nearly 2 million of our fellow residents are on food stamps; and all indexes suggest more bad news is on the way. The stimulus money will help some, but Florida's issues are more acute than anywhere.
It is in that backdrop that our instinct could be to simply worry about the short term.More... ~ 5 Comments
Fighting a fiscal crisis with one hand tied behind our back
Dec 31, 2008
But how much is there left to cut, and what does that say about past leadership? Are we to believe that the self—professed anti—government Governor Jeb Bush, or the Republican dominated legislatures of the last decade have left that much fat and inefficiencies such that we can get through this crisis by simply cutting services? If so, someone has a lot of explaining to do. And how smart is it to put thousands of people out of work in the middle of a recession when Florida's unemployment rate is already closing in on 8%.
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Call a Special Session.
Nov 21, 2008
This new bad news makes the case for why the Florida Legislature needs to meet in Special Session. In rough waters, we can't expect government to run on auto—pilot.More... ~ 6 Comments
Florida's freefall isn't going away.
Nov 11, 2008
To put it in more basic terms, our state's cash flow resembles a family teetering on the edge of financial chaos. A family that can no longer meet its core needs of shelter, food and basic necessities. So in order to pay for expenses, the parents are paying for their utility bills on their credit cards, spending down the kids' college funds, and not going to the dentist and doctor to take care of nagging health care issues that will only worsen. And the possibility that mom or dad may lose their job is also a reality.
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No time for champagne or hubris.
Nov 4, 2008
People don't want one side's excesses replaced with the other's. They don't want revolution, they want reform. This isn't a mandate for one party's politics as much as it is a mandate for less party politics. People don't want hubris, they want change.More... ~ 5 Comments
The Bailout and Florida's Economy
Sep 29, 2008
The "bailout" or "rescue" bill defeated by the Congress may ultimately be needed to stave off a disastrous financial collapse in our nation, but it will do very little for Florida's immediate economic challenges. While Florida may have been the origin of many of the sub—prime mortgages that became so corrosive and ruinous to Wall Street, the best we can hope for from the bailout - should it ultimately pass — is that it will not let things in Florida get much worse. Maybe.More... ~ 5 Comments
An apology would be nice.
Sep 18, 2008
In the mid 1990's I was traveling in Japan for the U.S. Senate when I came across a little article in a newspaper about a Japanese bank (or some financial institution) going out of business due to mismanagement. Most of the investors were left with a fraction of their investments. The President of the Bank apologized publicly, resigned, and liquidated all his personal holdings and assets, and gave them out, pro rata, to his former customers. The article was only a few paragraphs and barely noticeable among other news. As if it were a common thing for leaders to take responsibility for what happens on their watch, and do all that they could to right their wrong.
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National CAT Fund: Lower Rates Baby Lower Rates
Sep 9, 2008
Does anyone find it painfully ironic that McCain/Palin have their Florida Republican chorus blindly chanting their mantra to drill off of our coast knowing it won't reduce gas prices a penny; yet the same McCain/Palin ticket flatly refuses to embrace the concept of a national CAT fund which would unquestionably lower Floridian's property insurance rates dramatically. Seriously, at some point Floridians are going to wonder why McCain is hawking a non—solution to the energy crisis, while opposing an actual solution to Florida's property insurance crisis.
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Labor Day 2008: We're eating our seed corn
Sep 2, 2008
The Center for Labor Research and Studies at FIU just published their annual Labor Day report, "The State of Working Florida." It is a statistical review of the state of Florida's workforce and economy. For most Floridians, they do not need a data—laden report to tell them just how bad things are. They know first hand that our state is rapidly morphing from a mid—wage low—cost state, into a low—wage high—cost state. Still the data put together by the FIU team is instructive. It reflects that in virtually every category - wages, income, health care, pensions, work force investment - Florida is last or nearly dead last of the fifty states. And it also shows how Florida has failed to diversify its economy in ways that would make economic downturns less painful for our residents.More... ~ 4 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
No one should be surprised by Florida's economic woes.
Jul 17, 2008
No one should be surprised. While much of our woes result from larger trends in the economy, too many of them are self—inflicted.
Our failure to invest in public education - and develop a workforce that attracts more stable and better paying industries - is the reason why the national pain is felt most acutely in Florida.
And the Florida legislature has only acted to worsen these problems.
Imagine, when Floridians are desperately looking for new job opportunities, the legislature actually cut education and higher education by more than a billion dollars.More... ~ 2 Comments
Time Magazine Florida essay ... the truth can hurt.
Jul 11, 2008
Today's Time Magazine essay by Michael Grunwald (below) paints a very painful (but pretty accurate) picture of the challenges facing our state. He touches most of the major trendlines that are contributing to our decline — and takes some pretty fair shots at the groups responsible for the dysfunction.
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Happy New (Fiscal) Year
Jul 1, 2008
Unfortunately, the indexes we rely on to predict our future revenue suggests there is still more rock to dig through before we hit rock bottom. Gas prices are not coming down (and the wrongheaded offer of our coast for oil drilling won't change that one iota); the housing crisis is not going away; our workforce wages are not improving (especially considering the unwise budget cuts to education); and our hurricane insurance policy only works if we never have a hurricane.
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Energy Bill post mortem
Jun 25, 2008
Stopped by the Governor's "Serve to Preserve" summit today. It was a pretty impressive gathering of folks concerned about climate change. Years ago an event like this would have been attended by only the environmental community. The participants included nearly every sector of commerce. It's pretty evident that while government will clearly have a significant role in climate change policy, it will be the private sector that delivers the critical ingenuity to make any policy meaningful. The Governor began the day by signing the Energy Bill passed by the legislature this last session.More... ~ 2 Comments
Florida's public education
Jun 23, 2008
The greatest irony, perhaps, is that last week the nonpartisan Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank released their report comparing how well states are performing in the knowledge—based economy — Florida ranked 37th (an 8 slot drop from 2002) which strongly suggests that all the "reforms" have made things worse, and the very dumbest thing Florida should do right now is curtail investment in our public education system.More... ~ 2 Comments
More Election Year Gimmickry
Jun 18, 2008
John McCain's energy policy is bad news for Florida and the country. John McCain and the Republican Party are exploiting a real crisis to advance a priority of the oil industry. Rather than take consumer friendly approaches that examine the excess profits by the oil corporations they are presenting a faux solution that has perilous underbelly.
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"I do not support a national catastrophic insurance policy."
Jun 5, 2008
Those words, uttered by Senator John McCain earlier this year, should be of great concern to any Floridian facing steep and seemingly uncontrolled windstorm insurance bills. Whether you are paying the bills, or are worried that you will owe assessments when a hurricane does hit, you know that this is one of the great economic challenges facing Florida's families. More... ~ 3 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... ~ 3 Comments
The Distraction Agenda
Apr 17, 2008
Florida is facing soaring gas prices, horrible windstorm rates and property taxesMore... ~ 1 Comments
Today's Budget Debate
Apr 9, 2008
By Dan Gelber
For the most part, the debate went as expected, with the Republicans defending their suggested cuts to education, health care, and road construction as advantageous to forcing companies who are getting a free ride to pay their fair share——and as predicted, they used a lot of procedural maneuvers to avoid debate on our budget alternatives to their corporate pork. That being said, I want to share a few bright points.More... ~ 1 Comments
What you will hear tomorrow——and what you won't.
Apr 8, 2008
At 11:00 AM tomorrow, the full House begins debate on the state budget. Since most Floridians have far more to do than to watch seven hours of floor debate during working hours, I wanted to take a moment to share with you exactly what the Republicans will say.More... ~ 1 Comments
Another Day of Ignoring Property Taxes and Property Insurance
Apr 2, 2008
By Dan Gelber
...the decision of my Republican colleagues to once again turn the floor of the Florida House into their own personal ideological soapbox is a disservice to the people that we serve...More... ~ 11 Comments
A toll by any other name...is a tax
Mar 21, 2008
By Dan Gelber
Imagine a $7 toll over Alligator Alley or to cross the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. Well, that is exactly what the Florida Department of Transportation is moving toward thanks to a Republican measure passed last year. The (bad) idea is to lease many of Florida's toll roads to private companies and investment banks. The companies would take over the roads and raise tolls dramatically enough to allow them to make lease payments to the state and a profit to their investors.More... ~ 11 Comments
Searching for solutions to a fiscal crisis
Mar 18, 2008
By Dan Gelber
Florida is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. Due to plummeting state revenues we have been forced to cut billions from the current budget year, and have been told by state economic forecasters that we will be cutting billions from next year's budget. Although we can hope the bad times end soon, because Florida's economy is so premised on housing and construction, it is unlikely we will see the light at the end of the tunnel for at least another budget cycle. More... ~ 11 Comments
State of the State Response
Mar 6, 2008
Tuesday night I delivered the Response to the Governor's State of the State. The Governor is an optimistic person who tends to shy away from partisanship — but Florida's challenges are great — and I'm not sure I trust the Republican Legislature as much as he does.
Here is my response to the Governor:
Good Evening, I'mMore... ~ 11 Comments