Today's news -- December 19, 2017



Playing politics with our schools

One of the less understood, yet more important, fights lining up for the 2018 Legislative session in January will revolve around the definition of a tax increase. That will directly affect public schools funding. We feel the need to emphasize “public” school funding these days as opposed to “school funding” because private charter schools are getting more and more taxpayer dollars with each session. The tax squabble will ensue between the House and Senate. The issue will become the question “what is a tax increase?” School funding can be complicated. But, generally speaking, there are two tax sources that educate our kids — state funds and those delivered by individual counties. Gov. Rick Scott is “pro-pretty-much-everything” these days, as he ramps up for a run for the Senate. He’s called for a $770 million increase in school funding next year. He won’t get it. But on the campaign trail all that matters is that he “fought hard for our kids’ education” with the “largest increase in school spending” to date. The reason he’s not likely to make good on his plan is House Speaker Richard Corcoran. He’s vowed the House will pass no tax increase. He was right last year and is likely to be right again this year. The bulk of the money Scott’s eyeing for education will come from county taxes — nearly 70 percent of the funding. That’s based on a 6.15 percent increase in the state’s taxable real estate value. Scott and the Senate plan to keep the millage rate level and ride the crest of land and home values to the Promised Land. Corcoran has vowed to stop cold what he calls a tax increase. He wants to roll back the millage rate so schools get about the same amount of money to spend as last year.

Corcoran is expected to jump into the governor’s race at any time. Adam Putnam leads the Republican polling by a large margin, but Corcoran quietly raised $4 million during the summer. Corcoran is polling in double digits without announcing, which is significant. If things pan out, he could be in a two-way race with Putnam. He has the edge in experience and probably clout. And he’ll run on his “no new tax” platform — and can prove he means it by his leadership record in the House.

Schools are among the only taxing entities whose local millage rate is set by the state, not internally — the school board. So Corcoran’s definition of a tax increase leaves our schools with an ever-decreasing millage rate with which to fund the ever-increasing costs of education — books, electricity, real estate, infrastructure, lunches, teacher pay, security and more. Corcoran’s take on tax hikes is squeezing school funding. The issue of what a tax hike is — an increase in millage rate versus an increase in taxable value — will play a major role in the 2018 session. Scott and the Senate can’t keep their education promises with another millage rollback. Corcoran can’t keep his campaign promise without it.


DOE posts proposed Schools of Hope rules


Lawmaker wants school board term limits on 2018 ballot


Don’t be hoaxed by bad education policies based on junk science


This is what happens when university matching gifts aren’t matched


Grad students escaped tax increases, but still feel a target on their backs


Legislative economist again tosses cold water on Scott's rosy narrative


Steaks, planes and campaign cash reveal Corcoran’s hypocrisy


State workshops sexual harassment


Disney union members practice convincing others to vote no on proposed contract


Climate change “fingerprints” could bring another record warm year to state


Citrus storm relief among Scott talks with Ryan


Push for nursing home generators after hurricane stalls


Puerto Rico orders review and recount of hurricane deaths


Recovering what was lost in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one boat at a time


Gaming ruling could put big legal expenses on state


Republicans’ tax bill is limping across the finish line


Protesters storm Congress to fight tax bill, as cameras point elsewhere


The Republican tax bill codifies a new Gilded Age


The most infuriating falsehoods about the tax bill and those who told them


Corker's suspicious yes on the tax bill


Republican senators will save millions with special real-estate tax break


Tax bill lets Trump and Republicans feather their own nests


Passing through to corruption


Our terribly distorted tax debate


New report shows just how much the Republican tax plan benefits the richest


The tax code isn’t a real emergency


Without the insurance mandate, health care’s future may be in doubt


Republicans already say they’ll need another bill to fix their tax mistakes


Protest planned in Tampa after Rubio decides to support proposed tax bill


Puerto Rico governor vows to make Florida Republicans pay for supporting tax bill


Trump team’s meeting with Mueller’s office poised to ratchet up tensions


Yet another baseless attack on Mueller’s team


The plot against Mueller


Trump lawyer says he did not confront Mueller before complaining to Congress


Former Trump adviser defends attacks on Mueller probe: “We’re in the game”


In battle with Mueller, Trump has a big advantage that Nixon did not


FBI warned Trump in 2016 Russians would try to infiltrate his campaign


How Putin's proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns


Clapper: Putin is handling Trump like a Russian “asset”


What (if anything) does Page know?


Trump predicts exoneration in Russia investigation as allies fear a “meltdown”


Senate intel committee investigating Stein campaign for collusion with the Russians


Florida congressmen on front lines of battle over Mueller investigation


The Trump administration’s Orwellian plan to gut Roe v. Wade


Trump judicial pick withdraws after viral hearing video


Poor vetting sinks Trump’s nominees for federal judge


Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination


Judge clears abortions for two immigrant teens in U.S. custody


Seven dirty words, according to the Trump administration


Trump’s ticket to survival: Ban all the words


Debate erupts within HHS about “words to avoid”


HHS defends withholding comments critical of abortion, transgender policy


Thought control, Trump-style


In America and beyond, the spirit behind public lands is at risk


EPA chief Pruitt had office swept for surveillance bugs


Export-Import Bank nominee faces critical vote


Trump delivers a mixed message on his national security approach


Trump inaccurately claims “firsts” in defense speech


Trump’s national security strategy is a farce


U.S. could broaden use of nuclear weapons, Trump administration signals


Murphy decries “disconnect” between Trump’s foreign policy statement, actions


When does political discord escalate to incitement? Ask Trump


Welcome to the Trump family swamp


Ground zero for flooding: Washington’s Trump International Hotel


Kushners’ New York City buildings are mostly owned by others


Why Trump takes legal advice from Fox’s conspiracy-stoking “Judge Jeanine”


“Fox News ruined people’s lives”: Sexual assault victim speaks out


Reckoning with a culture of male resentment


Weather forecasting faces a new world of challenges ahead



 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet