Broward Schools & Property Tax Edition: Capitol to Courthouse Headliners–December 18

Dec 18, 2008


To view a complete story, click on a headline below:


SENATOR GAETZ:  Step Up For Children Scholarships Save Nearly $40 Million for Taxpayers

 A government watchdog agency reported today that a school choice initiative sponsored by Senator Don Gaetz is saving a cash-strapped state budget $38.9 million this year.


Systemic Examination of Florida’s Regulatory Structure Among Florida House Speaker’s Economic Recovery Priorities

In a December 16, 2008 letter to Florida House of Representatives Members, House Speaker Ray Sansom outlined economic recovery directives, among which include ” . . .  the streamlining of (Florida’s) overly demanding regulatory system . . . ” and a ” . . . systematic examination of Florida’s regulatory structure . . . “


Will increasing the cigarette tax put a dent on the financial crisis?

There seems to be growing momentum in the capitol for raising Florida’s 34-cent cigarette tax as one way to deal with the state’s deepening financial crisis — but a new estimate indicates smokes might not provide the budget boost once envisioned.


Florida’s economic slide to continue

Florida’s economy is going to get worse before it gets better, and lawmakers will have to deal with a $2.3 billion shortfall to balance the $66 billion budget, economists told lawmakers Wednesday. ‘The story here is what a difference a few years makes,’ Amy Baker, the Legislature’s chief economic forecaster, told grim-faced House members during a rare December floor session.


First cut won’t be deepest for state

Lawmakers are preparing for their Jan. 5 special session knowing the worst is yet to come on the state budget.


EDITORIAL:  A ‘Critical juncture’

Thirty one of the 50 fifty states have been forced to underfund public higher education. Meanwhile, tutitions and fees have tripled since 1986. Those funds, however, have “not translated into increased spending per student but rather have been used primarily to meet inflation as well as to offset decreases in state appropriations.”


Budget crisis catches up with education

State Sen. Nancy Detert, whose first elected position was to the Sarasota School Board, has made trying to improve Florida’s schools — which in some categories have long ranked among the worst in the nation — the focus of her political career.


Congresswoman:  Schools won’t have stimulus package earmarks

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday that Congress would pass a $600 billion economic stimulus package early in the new year.


Florida faces stark choice:  Taxes vs. services

Florida’s ruling Republican lawmakers, scurrying to prepare for a budget-cutting special session in two weeks, also face a grim fork in the road in the months ahead: raise new taxes or radically slash the size of government.


EDITORIAL:  A broader focus

Budget crisis demands review of foolhardy past policies

To deal responsibly with the gaping hole in the state budget, Florida leaders should admit that the problem can’t be solved by gimmicks or short-sighted fixes. And they should acknowledge that their own single-minded focus on special-interest tax cuts and free-handed spending put Florida far deeper in the hole than it would otherwise have been.


Study group:  Fla. corporate vouchers save money

The state saves millions of dollars through a program that diverts corporate income taxes to private school vouchers for low-income students, the Florida Legislature’s watchdog agency said in a report released Tuesday.


Florida Opportunity Fund seeks partners in venture-capital push

Enterprise Florida has launched the latest stage of its effort to establish a new investment pipeline for start-up companies, officials said Tuesday.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR:  Fix Florida’s broken property tax system

Regarding your editorial on Nov. 30, ‘Florida’s budget gap looks more like a canyon.’I must take exception with who is really responsible for having dealt Florida that harsher blow. I believe it was clearly ‘dealt’ by those in Florida we elect to do the right things, but are inept when it becomes necessary to fix a glaring and costly problem. It’s always about them and what it’s going to cost government and its taxing entities, but never about the effect on the population and its well being as a whole.


U.S. Sugar land deal is approved — with an escape clause

Water managers on Tuesday narrowly approved the $1.34 billion acquisition of U.S. Sugar’s sprawling fields — but added a crucial ”out” clause that buys time to see if they have enough money to complete the deal.


EDITORIAL:  Crist Puts Name On Line With Huge Deal

A decade from now Gov. Charlie Crist will be credited with either overseeing the greatest conservation achievement in Florida history or orchestrating one of biggest boondoggles ever foisted on taxpayers.


CHILES:  Children should remain priority in tough budget decisions

Ten years ago this month marks the anniversary of the death of former Florida governor, and my father, Lawton Chiles. While he will long be remembered for many things, the issue closest to his heart was the health and well-being of Florida’s children.


Miami-Dade School Board lobbies Tallahassee over spending

The School Board also wants legislative authority to take tax collections earmarked for building and maintenance and use the money on operations and administration instead.


Hearing on Miami-Dade teachers’ raises ends

The United Teachers of Dade and the Miami-Dade public school district Tuesday finished their second day of impasse hearings over employee raises.


Palm Beach County School Board plan to buy WXEL draws criticism

Palm Beach County’s teachers union leader on Wednesday blasted the School Board’s recent decision to spend $4.5 million to acquire the local public broadcasting television and radio station, WXEL-Ch. 42 and FM 90.7.


Duval schools could see $98 million shortfall next year

The district already dipped into its reserves and is trying to figure out where it can make cuts.  

Only weeks after saying next year’s proposed budget would fall short by $45 million, Duval County Public Schools is now pointing to recent decisions by the state and its own increasing costs as the reason for its new projection of a $98.4 million shortfall next school year.


To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an e-mail to