Rick Scott Archives - Page 6 of 158 - SaintPetersBlog

Rick Scott announces eight state board appointments

On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott announced eight appointments and reappointments to a variety of Florida state boards and commissions.

Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, Inc.

Scott began by reappointing Luke Buzard to the Early Learning Coalition Hillsborough County, Inc., which collaborates with agencies throughout the community to offer a range of early learning services.

Buzard, 37, of Wesley Chapel, is the pipeline safety director at TECO Energy. He previously served as chair of both the Accounting Circle at University of South Florida and the West Central Region for Connect Florida. Buzard is reappointed for a term ending April 30, 2020.

Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority

Scott named Kristin Incrocci to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority, the public agency which operates and manages the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

Incrocci, 51, of Sarasota, is the owner and pilot of SRQ Aviation. She fills a vacant seat for a term ending Nov. 17, 2018.

St. Johns River Water Management District

Scott then made an appointment and one reappointment to the Governing Board of the St. Johns River Water Management District, which protects water resources for northeast and east-central Florida.

Susan Dolan, 51, of Longwood, is the director of community affairs for Waste Pro of Florida, Inc. She succeeds Maryam Ghyabi for a term ending March 1, 2021.

Douglas Burnett, 72, of St. Augustine, is the president of Doug Burnett and Associates, LLC. He is reappointed for a term ending March 1, 2021.

Apalachee Regional Planning Council

The governor next announced the appointment of J.C. Stoutamire to the Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Region Two, which serves Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Leon and Wakulla counties and associated municipalities.

Stoutamire, 81, of Hosford, is a former papermaker for St. Joe Paper Co. Additionally, he served on the Liberty County Board of County Commissioners for eight years. Stoutamire fills a vacant seat for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Stoutamire’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Suwannee River Water Management District

Scott also reappointed Virginia Sanchez to the Governing Board of the Suwannee River Water Management District, which manages water and related natural resources in north-central Florida. In terms of geographic area, Suwannee is the smallest of the state’s water management districts.

Sanchez, 54, of Old Town, is a co-owner of Sanchez Farms, LLC. She is reappointed for a term ending March 1, 2021.

The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation

Scott also appointed Martha Lanahan to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, an organization that provides a range of affordable housing opportunities for Florida residents.

Lanahan, 52, of Tampa, is the executive vice president of Regions Bank. She succeeds Brian Katz for a term ending Nov. 13, 2020.

Lahan’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Florida Defense Support Task Force

Finally, Scott announced the appointment of Amy Gowder to the Florida Defense Support Task Force, which, as part of Enterprise Florida, is designed to preserve, protect and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations.

Gowder, 41, of Orlando, is the aerospace and defense executive for Lockheed Martin. She fills a vacant seat for a term ending July 1, 2019.

Gov. Scott appoints Tampa’s Martha Lanahan to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation

Governor Rick Scott has appointed Martha Lanahan to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Lanahan, 52, of Tampa, is the executive vice president of Regions Bank. She succeeds Brian Katz and is appointed for a term beginning March 31, 2017, and ending November 13, 2020.

This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Kristin Incroci appointed to Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority

Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Kristin Incrocci to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority on Friday.

Incrocci, 51, of Sarasota, is the owner and pilot of SRQ Aviation.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach.

Incrocci fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 31, 2017, and ending November 17, 2018.

Luke Buzzard re-appointed to Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County

Luke Buzard has been re-appointed to the Early Learning Coalition Hillsborough County by Governor Rick Scott.

The 37-year-old Wesley Chapel resident is the pipeline safety director at TECO Energy. He previously served as chair of both the Accounting Circle at University of South Florida and the West Central Region for Connect Florida.

Buzard received his bachelor’s degree from USF. His term will run through April 30, 2020.

The Early Learning Coalition is considered the leading agency in Hillsborough’s early childhood care and education arena.

Florida voters would like to see increase in Medicaid funding, new poll shows

A new survey from the Florida Hospital Association shows strong support among Florida voters to keep — or in many increase — state funding for Medicaid programs.

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies from March 1 through March 5, found Floridians have the most favorable opinion of Medicaid that the association has recorded in six years. The poll of 600 registered voters found 56 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Medicaid, up from 47 percent in a November 2011 survey.

The results of the survey come as state lawmakers began releasing their initial budget recommendations, which included taking away as much as $621.8 million from hospitals in the coming year.

The House proposal cuts the state’s share of Medicaid by $238.6 million, or a total of $621.8 million once federal dollars are factored in. The Senate has recommended cutting $99.3 million, or a $258.6 million total cut.

But the Florida Hospital Association found that while the state is slashing budgets, many Floridians would actually like to see lawmakers keep funding as is, if not give the programs funding boost.

According to the survey, 45 percent of Floridians said they would like to see Medicaid funding increased, while 29 percent said they believe state funding should stay the same. Just 8 percent said funding for the programs should be decreased.

Six years ago, 47 percent of Floridians supported keeping the funding the same, while 39 percent wanted to see more money put into the program. Back in November 2011, 11 percent of Floridians supported decreasing funding for Medicaid programs.

When respondents were asked about a few specific areas the Legislature will be spending money on this year, 61 percent of Floridians said the state should increase funding for Medicaid, which provides health care to lower-income children, the disabled elderly, and pregnant women.

Voters also supported increasing funding for water quality problems (67%); the state’s colleges and universities (52%); tax cuts to help business to expand or relocate to Florida (31%); and tourism promotion (23%).

Yet when asked whether they would support redirecting money from Medicaid to help pay for increased funding for colleges and universities, tax cuts for businesses, and tourism promotion, 75 percent of voters said they would advise their legislator to keep the money in Medicaid programs.

There appeared to be broad support to keep money in Medicaid programs, with 68 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats, and 73 percent of independents saying they would advise their legislator to keep funding Medicaid.

That feeling was echoed throughout the state, with a solid majority of voters in each media market saying the Legislature keep money for Medicaid.

The highest support for keeping the cash for Medicaid came from the Jacksonville area, where 80 percent of respondents said they wanted legislators to keep money for Medicaid programs.

The Fort Myers media market — which includes Gov. Rick Scott’s hometown of Naples — had the highest percentage of people saying they should shift the funds, with 20 percent of respondents saying they would tell their lawmaker to use it for something else.

Joe Henderson: Psst … Tallahassee, you might want to actually listen to the people on this one

While the business of governing requires tough choices and choosing between priorities that can be conflicting, sometimes it’s best to do what the people want. After all, it’s their money that is being spent.

So, listen up, Tallahassee.

On the subject of state Medicaid funding, the people — your bosses — appear to have spoken loudly, clearly and with a you-better-not-mess-with-this message. They want it funded, and they’re not kidding.

According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted for the Florida Hospital Association and shared with FloridaPolitics.comabout three-quarters of the 600 registered voters surveyed like their Medicare and Medicaid. They strongly reject shifting funds from those programs to other spending projects.

And this is most telling — of those voters who accept the state might have a budget crisis, 66 percent say Medicare and Medicaid shouldn’t be cut.

This comes as budget proposals in the House and Senate call for steep cuts in those programs.

Well, well, well!

Budget hawks in the Legislature have grumped for years about the expense of these programs, but they’re missing the point. As this poll appears to show, the people are telling legislators that this point is nonnegotiable.

Lawmakers can get away with a lot of things because voters are consumed by the act of living day to day. Most voters don’t tune into all the nuance and back-and-forth that goes on in the Legislative Session, but they’ll damn sure pay attention if their Medicaid is threatened.

While the moves by House Speaker Richard Corcoran to tighten lobbying rules and eliminate Gov. Rick Scott’s business incentives were politically shrewd and had the added benefit of being the right thing to do, I doubt voters in the Villages or anywhere else in the state discussed it at happy hour.

Health care coverage is so complicated, though, that can’t be solved with barroom chat or by taking a meat cleaver to vital programs. Sometimes, leaders just have to do what the people want.

This also isn’t something where politicians can reasonably expect people to do more with less. If lawmakers don’t yet know that, let ‘em whack the Medicaid budget. Watch what happens when their constituents can’t afford or, in some cases, even get services they were used to.

That’s what this survey was telling state leaders as they grapple with how to set and pass a budget. They better be listening.

Mark Wilson, Dominic Calabro: Strangling Enterprise Florida, VISIT FLORIDA costly to Sunshine State future

Right now, jobs and the future of Florida’s economy are in jeopardy. That’s because some politicians in Tallahassee want to eliminate Florida’s economic development programs and slash the state’s tourism marketing efforts.

Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA, Florida’s economic development and tourism marketing programs, are essential to the economic well-being of our state. Eliminating Florida’s targeted and proven economic development programs is not the way forward, and will slam the brakes on the amazing job creation success Florida has seen since the end of the Great Recession.

While incentives paid for by hardworking taxpayers are rarely if ever used and are almost always inappropriate, Enterprise Florida has safeguards in place to ensure taxpayer dollars are not used as corporate welfare to skimp on contractual obligations. As Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida TaxWatch, have often said, programs offered by Enterprise Florida are not paid until the business achieves what is outlined in the contract.

If the Florida House has its way, VISIT FLORIDA will see its budget slashed by $50 million — a move that would cut two-thirds funding. Tourism is still one of Florida’s top industries for jobs and economic growth, despite Florida having a more diverse economic portfolio than at any other time in state history.

Florida has advantages, but the Sunshine State also has a major lawsuit abuse problem, we’re the only state that taxes small business rent, and our unfunded pensions cost eight times what we invest in economic development. The point is that until the Florida Legislature puts jobs and families first, now is the worst possible time to make Florida less competitive.

Taking economic development strategies that work off the table is short sighted, and without question, harms Florida’s ability to continue to lead the nation in job creation. Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA are important pieces to Florida’s economic puzzle and strangling their resources will hurt our state, our taxpayers, job creators and 20-plus million residents for years to come.

___

Mark Wilson is the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Dominic Calabro is the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

 

Joe Henderson: Concern for the environment really depends on which party is in charge

The words “green space” can have a different meaning depending on the person involved.

Democrats generally believe green space to mean protected grasslands, pristine parks, waterways, and regulations to keep companies from belching pollutants into the atmosphere.

Republicans generally appear to believe green space is a metaphor for money that can be made by paving over any empty spot of land they see.

I know that’s a generalization. There are plenty of conservatives who will argue strongly for environmental protection. I put my old friend and former Tampa Tribune editorial chief Joe Guidry at the top of that list.

It is true, though, that Republican administrations often roll back environmental regulations in the name of cutting red tape that they say strangles business.

We saw it in Florida when Gov. Rick Scott gutted many environmental protections (remember the Great Algae Bloom of 2016). The GOP-controlled Legislature scoffed when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 requiring the state set aside millions of acres for conservation.

We’re seeing it again in what Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor from Tampa called “President Trump’s attack on the environment and U.S. economy through his executive order” that eliminated many of the Obama-era environment rules.

“By signing the latest in a line of dangerous executive orders, Trump is trying to dismantle America’s commitment to avert climate catastrophe and to stifle America’s clean energy future,” Castor said in a statement.

Trump’s executive order will cost Floridians a lot.  Unless we can slow the damage caused by climate change, Floridians will pay more for property insurance, flood insurance, beach re-nourishment and local taxes as the costs of water infrastructure and coastal resource protection rise.”

Castor, in her sixth term in Congress, is the vice ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She has a long track record of supporting environmental causes, including the introduction of the Florida Coastal Protection Act that established a 235-mile drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s west coast.

So yeah, this is personal.

It’s also expected.

You don’t hear many Democrats scoff about the science of climate change. And you haven’t heard many Republicans question Trump’s attempt to jump-start coal mining in the name of job creation.

The problem it, all someone needs is a long memory or access to a computer to see what environmental disregard can do to cities in this country. Have we really forgotten what happened in Cleveland when the Cuyahoga River caught fire from all the pollution?

Have we forgotten how urban smog was threatening the nation’s health? It’s still not great, but it’s better than it was.

When I was a kid growing up in southern Ohio, I remember the Armco steel mill in Middletown turning the night sky orange when workers fired up the coke plant.

We were breathing that stuff. Residents there used to apologize for the foul-tasting sulfur water that smelled like rotten eggs. These things changed because Congress decided things had to change or we were all going down the tubes.

Those laws aren’t designed to strangle business. They’re designed to protect us. People like Kathy Castor still believe that. President Trump apparently does not.

Joe Henderson: Richard Corcoran’s moves show that real power is taken, every bit of it

On the old TV show Dallas, family patriarch Jock Ewing once memorably screamed at his son Bobby: “So I gave you power, huh? Well, let me tell you something, boy. If I did give you power, you got nothing! Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!”

The 2017 version of that story is playing out now in real life, with Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran in the starring role. He is taking every chance to show who has the power. It’s his way, or no way, and that’s not likely to change.

His latest joust is with the mayors and leaders of cities and counties throughout the state. He is pushing measures through the House that basically would let all those leaders know who is in charge. Hint: it ain’t them.

There was a telling quote from Corcoran in Steve Bousquet’s story on this subject in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times.

“Our founders got it right. When they set up a Constitution, they basically said that the federal government exists with these enumerated powers,” Corcoran told the newspaper. “What’s not enumerated, all of it, belongs to the states. Every bit of it.”

Repeat that last sentence: Every bit of it.

The contradiction, of course, is that Corcoran and fellow Republicans routinely rail against mandates coming from the federal government or court rulings. But they apparently have no problem turning Tallahassee into a Mini-Me of sorts that bosses cities and local municipalities around and doesn’t care how they feel about that.

That includes prohibiting them from raising taxes without satisfying Tallahassee’s demands. They want to restrict the right of cities to pass laws that could affect businesses. One bill would prevent cities from regulating the rentals of private homes.

That’s specifically aimed protecting companies like Airbnb in case cities decide to act on local complaints about quiet neighborhoods that can be disrupted by tourist churn. Tallahassee is in charge now. Local zoning ordinances? Ptooey!

This is the natural progression of the tone Corcoran has brought to the Speaker’s chair. His fights with Gov. Rick Scott have been in the headlines for months. He took a no-prisoners approach with lobbying and legislative reforms. He is even trying to reshape how the state Supreme Court is run.

Don’t act surprised. He has vowed to reshape Tallahassee, and that requires equal parts of determination and power. No one doubts that he has plenty of determination.

And power?

He seems to be taking it.

Every bit of it.

Family affair: Chris Hart, family open home decor and design firm

Chris Hart

Chris Hart is getting back to business, and this time it’s a family affair.

Hart, the former president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, and his wife, Amy, recently opened The Hare & The Hart, a home décor and design firm in Tallahassee.

The family-owned company specializes in toile with a hometown twist.

“As a tribute to the town I’ve called home for a good part of three decades, I have designed a toile that shows some of its iconic sites and scenes,” wrote Amy Hart on the company’s website. “Depicting venues running the gamut from the new amphitheater at Cascades Park to the 1600’s-era Mission San Luis, I’ve brought my sketches together in a design that tells the love story of a town full of history, canopy roads, magnolias, rolling hills, beautiful architecture, gardens, and hip new hangouts.”

The Hare & The Hart debuted its toiles during the spring edition of French Country Flea Market. During an interview on ABC 27 earlier this month, Amy Hart said the toile was designed to “celebrate our town.”

While toile is traditionally a fabric, The Hare & The Hart has several options for people looking to get their hands on the scenes, including wallpaper and mugs. The company also has a Woodland Creature series, designed by the Harts’ daughter Maddie.

“At The Hare & The Hart, we live a life that is English at heart with a Southern soul (and a French twist!), and we are thrilled to debut or toiles and other lines that embody all three,” wrote Amy Hart on the company’s site.

A former state legislator, Chris Hart took over the helm at Enterprise Florida in January. Two months later, he announced his resignation, citing ongoing differences with Gov. Rick Scott over the future of the agency.

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