Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Addicted to Fool’s Gold

Further highlighting the current split in the Republican Party, former House Speaker (and current [fill in the blank] candidate) Marco Rubio went after Gov. Charlie Crist and the Republican-dominated Florida Senate by charging that they were trying to “[balance] the budget on the backs of the poor, elderly and the addicted to buy a false hope.”  Rubio was joined by the Christian Coalition of Florida and the Florida Baptist Convention.

Rubio said they recognized the difficult task before lawmakers but warned that by choosing to expand gambling, government becomes addicted to the losses of gambling addicts.

“There is a real moral issue with asking government to expand its operations to be increasingly dependent on an activity we should be discouraging, not encouraging,” he said.

“It’s fool’s gold,” Rubio added. “Much of this money is already being spent elsewhere in the economy.”

He argued that money used by gamblers could otherwise be spent on more productive and positive entertainment and the revenue the state depends on becomes an unstable source of funding — as the decline in state lottery revenues during the recession have shown.

By differentiating himself from others who have remained silent during the current controversy, Rubio has positioned himself to gain the support of religious conservatives who hold considerable sway in a Republican primary—whether that be the US Senate primary (provided Charlie Crist doesn’t run) or a Gubernatorial primary (provided Charlie Crist runs for the US Senate).  His chief rival, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, has remained silent on the current controversy.


Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , ,

Property Tax Cap Will Not be on 2010 Ballot

A proposal pushed by former Florida House Speaker (and likely US Senate Candidate) Marco Rubio that would put a cap on property taxes statewide is off the 2010 ballot.  From the AP:

The Florida Supreme Court has knocked a proposal for a property tax cap off the 2010 ballot.

The proposal is a citizen initiative that would cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of the highest taxable value of a home, business or other real estate, although voters could approve exceptions.

Petition sponsors Cut Property Taxes Now said tax cuts ordered by law last year and through another state constitutional amendment passed in January 2008 don’t go far enough.

The justices could only determine if the proposal covered a single subject and had a clear and accurate title and ballot summary.

In an opinion posted Friday, five justices said the proposal was exempt from the single-subject requirement, but its ballot summary was misleading.

The initiative was exempt from the single-subject requirement because it directly limits the power of government to raise revenue, the opinion said.

However, according to the opinion, the initiative’s ballot summary was misleading because it failed to point out that any property taxes approved by voters cannot extend for longer than two years. The majority also found that the summary was inconsistent with the language of the amendment.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , ,

What is Marco Rubio up to?

I mentioned here yesterday that Marco Rubio would be a front-runner for the US Senate seat being vacated by short-termer Mel Martinez. Well, it didn’t take long. Marco is up today with a new website. As FLA Politics puts it, you can:

-Watch a video of Marco, his four bored children and his bored wife.
-Learn fun facts about Marco in the “Did You Know” Section.
-Subscribe to “Marco’s View,” although there is nothing yet posted to the “news letter.”
-Send a message to the “Floridian Shout Box,” although you’ll have to go through a thorough approval process first.
-Join the team!
-Send a text message to Marco!
-Invite Marco to speak at your…whatever!
-“Connect” with Marco on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. How very Web 2.0.
-Check out the “Rubio Review,” whatever that might be, since the page is blank.
-Find interesting typos such as “Welcome to Marco Rubio website.”
-Watch several videos where Marco talks without actually saying anything.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

US Senate free-for-all in Florida

Jeb Bush’s announcement that he will not seek the seat of retiring US Senator Mel Martinez in 2010 should set the stage for a free-for-all in both parties.

Expect Alex Sink, provided she wants a DC role, to emerge as the front-runner on the Democratic side. Rep. Allen Boyd has made no secret of the fact that he would like to run and several other Democrats are likely to jump in. Sink; however, is the front-runner. And, without Jeb Bush on the other side, Sink should emerge as a strong favorite in the race.

The Republican field will most likely blow up in the next few months as various hopefuls vie for position. Attorney General Bill McCollum fancies himself a US Senator, so you should expect to see him jump in relatively soon. Never mind all that Clinton impeachment stuff and his two failed prior bids, he thinks he can win it this time. (Let’s see if he picked up any of Charlie Crist’s abilities to turn the Attorney General’s Office into a PR machine.) Former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio might have stepped aside for Jeb Bush (Bush is viewed as his mentor), but he harbors no sense of loyalty to McCollum. He has his sights set on grander things (he’d really like to challenge Crist in the Gubernatorial Primary, but doesn’t think the GOP would be keen on it, even though many view Crist as too moderate.) and would love to be Florida’s second Cuban-American Senator. US Rep. Connie Mack could make a great candidate, but he gives the impression that he entered politics because of his name, not necessarily because he has a passion for campaigning. Other Republicans to watch: washed up former CFO Tom Gallagher, former Lt. Governor Toni Jenning, US Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and yes, attention-loving Governor Charlie Crist.

We are gonna have a real race, folks. Buckle up.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alex Sink in Jax

According to the Jax Daily Record, the State Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, will be at Jacksonville University on January 15th as a guest speaker at the Davis College of Business’ “Davis Thought Leaders Speaker Series.”  This will be a great opportunity to check out Sink in person as she is still considering a run for Mel Martinez’ U.S. Senate seat.  If Sink doesn’t announce soon, look for Ron Klein, Dan Gelber, and Allen Boyd to run on the D side.

On the R side, it’s looking more and more like Jeb is seriously considering running.  But if he doesn’t run, look for Bill McCollum, Marco Rubio, and perhaps even Charlie Crist (if he doesn’t still intend to keep his sights on the 2012 Presidency race), to run.

Filed under: Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jeb Bush vs. Alex Sink

Is it a race to replace Mel Martinez?  

Jeb Bush:

A July 2008 St. Pete Times article wondered if Jeb would seek political office again.    Looks like the St. Pete Times was right on the money as Jeb has now announced he’s seriously considering a run for Martinez’ US Senate seat.  With all the talks he had been giving about the education system, the numerous non-profits he started that many felt were to keep his political base and staffers in place, and the secrecy surrounding his low-profile but extremely public entrepreneurial makeover, rumors had flown that he could be in line to be in the Presidential circle as Education Secretary if John McCain won the Presidential race.  With McCain losing, Jeb has had to set his sights just a little lower.  Now Jeb has been named to sit on the Board of Jacksonville’s Rayonier Inc. for $40,000 a year.  Quite a plum, as Rayonier is a Republican-leaning international timber, real estate, and performance fiber company.  That will certainly re-establish his NE Florida connections (recall that his son went to Bolles while Jeb was Governor) and gain him the favor of Jacksonville’s Republicans.  Connections he’ll desperately need to run for the US Senate now that Florida went blue in the last Presidential election. 

Alex Sink:

Will she or won’t she?  Seems Alex has had mixed feelings about whether or not she wanted to give up her position as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.  Quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to give up that position right now with Florida staring down the sights of a $2+ billion deficit that’s projected to balloon to somewhere around $4 billion next year?  Democrats have been pushing her to run for Governor in 2010, but again who in their right mind would want to have to stare down that huge deficit facing Florida.  Now that Martinez has seen the writing on the wall and announced he doesn’t intend to seek the seat, Alex has again been publicly expressing her interest in running for his seat.  Alex is a wildly popular Democrat – even among Republicans.  Could Alex take a race with Jeb?  She’d certainly be the Democrat candidate that could give him a run for his money.

Other candidates who have expressed an interest:

Republicans:  Bill McCollum, Allen Bense, Marco Rubio, Vern Buchanan, Connie Mack IV, and Adam Putnam.

Democrats:  Allen Boyd, Kendrick Meek, Dan Gelber, and Ron Klein.

Not a NE Floridian among them. 

Stay tuned.

Filed under: Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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