steve crisafulli Archives - Page 6 of 21 - SaintPetersBlog

Steve Crisafulli says Governor may get his $1billion in tax cuts

Florida House of Representatives Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Friday said lawmakers may well give Gov. Rick Scott his requested $1 billion tax cut in next year’s state budget.

Don’t expect that as the gift that keeps on giving, though.

“The reality of a billion dollars (in tax cuts) recurring is not off the table so much as it’s just not possible,” especially in the context of increased funding for education every year, Crisafulli said.

The Merritt Island Republican held a pre-legislative session media availability in the Capitol. Scott turned in a proposed $79 billion budget for 2016-17 last month.

“That would all take away from a billion dollars in recurring tax cuts,” he said. “We have to sit down and do the math on the proposed budget and find out where we’re going to land.

“We want to focus on the manufacturing tax cut, we want to focus on the commercial lease (tax cut), we want to focus on the corporate tax breaks. Those are all recurring dollars. So if we have a bunch of sale tax holidays, it doesn’t do us a lot of good.”

Scott has consistently called for tax cuts since he was first elected five years ago, but he has been blocked by a recalcitrant Legislature.

That’s because the size of Scott’s tax cuts have either required sizable spending budget cuts or been aimed at businesses instead of consumers. Earlier this year, lawmakers did agree to more than $400 million in tax cuts.

Legislators will consider Scott’s tax cut package during the regular Legislative Session that starts Jan. 12.

Crisafulli also noted that neither the governor’s budget nor lawmakers’ initial work on the 2016-17 spending plan assumes any money from Indian gambling.

Scott submitted a new agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida granting them exclusive rights to offer blackjack at their casinos in return for $3 billion over seven years.

That agreement also contains gambling expansion provisions that many legislators have trouble with, partly because they favor some counties over others.

The deal would allow slot machines at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, for instance, but not at the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Lee County – which happens to be about 35 miles from the Seminoles’ competing casino in Immokalee.

“There’s a lot of players on this issue,” Crisafulli said. “The governor signed what he obviously feels is a reasonable proposal. Now it’s up to the Legislature to sit down and see whether we think we can get somewhere.”

Crisafulli said it was “very unlikely” the Legislature would approve the new gambling agreement as is.

“There are regional interests … because you have votes that are tied up in blocs,” he said. “Fairness and equity is an important part of us looking at this.”

Information from The Associated Press was included in this post. 

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Richard Corcoran promises blue skies with Joe Negron

Richard Corcoran, who will be speaker of the Florida House of Representatives at the same time Joe Negron is Senate president, called him a “good friend” and “an intelligent and principled leader.”

Corcoran sat in the front row at Negron’s designation ceremony Wednesday. The Land O’ Lakes Republican had his own designation ceremony in September.

“I know that, together, we can bring a new spirit of partnership to the Florida Legislature,” Corcoran said in a prepared statement.

Relations between the two chambers, both controlled by Republicans, have been following a sine-wave pattern in recent years.

For example, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, in charge during 2010-12, presided over the 2011 “midnight meltdown.”

Both chambers were virtually at each other’s throats over a potpourri of priorities, such as claims bills and tax breaks. They adjourned separately in the wee hours of the morning, eschewing the traditional joint “hanky drop” that marks the end of session.

Next were Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, who, as The Tampa Tribune put it, “presented a united policy front for the two sessions over which they presided.

Lawmakers passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law overhauls of campaign finance, ethics and elections law, and expanded access to school vouchers.

“With most presidents and most speakers, when their two years are up, you’re lucky if they’re still talking to each other,” Weatherford told the Tribune. “Don Gaetz and I are better friends now than when we started two years ago.”

The pendulum swung back this past session, the first under Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

The House went home three days early after the chambers deadlocked over health care funding, forcing a special session to finish the 2015-16 state budget.

Subsequent Special Sessions for congressional and state Senate district redistricting similarly ended in failure and acrimony, with lawmakers unable to agree on remedial maps, leaving it to the courts to decide.

At one point during the congressional redistricting Session, the Senate’s lead negotiator, Bill Galvano of Bradenton, even stormed out of a public meeting with his House counterpart, Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes, saying the Senate wasn’t going to budge.

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Environmental community scores big in Florida House on Tuesday

The Everglades FoundationAudubon Florida, the Nature Conservancy, and the H2O Coalition of the Associated Industries of Florida.

What do all of these political players have in common?

They scored a massive victory Tuesday all thanks to the Florida House of Representatives.

A loud symphony of applause came in the form of a three-page news release where countless groups praised and thanked House Speaker Steve Crisafulli for his support and commitment toward dedicating funding to “Legacy Florida,” a measure that includes cleanup for the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee, CERP and other water-related initiatives.

“It’s great to see the Florida House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Crisafulli and Representative [GayleHarrell, taking initiative to support a dedicated source of funding for the Everglades. Restoring and protecting Florida’s Everglades is a top priority,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with the Legislature, including Senator Joe Negron who has championed water issues, this upcoming session to establish long-term funding for our state’s most precious natural resource.”

Crisafulli, who has been vocal about wanting to leave a lasting legacy of significant water policy, has clearly made good on his promise, with the rumor mill coming out of the Senate that it will be welcome to the concept.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also praised Crisafulli’s leadership in the Legacy Florida initiative.

“The Everglades is a nationally recognized, environmental treasure that is a source of pride for Floridians, provides a home to many unique species of wildlife and supplies water to more than 8 million people in Florida. We have the vision and science-based strategies to restore this precious ecosystem, but only with adequate funding can we achieve our goals,” Putnam said. “The leadership of the Florida House of Representatives, led by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, has demonstrated a strong commitment to Florida’s natural resources with the ‘Legacy Florida’ proposal, which will establish a dedicated source of funding to restore the Everglades.”

In addition to Crisafulli, the clear winner of the day, has anyone else seen three pages of “attaboy” quotes from environmentalists all in one release? Kudos also to Everglades Foundation board members Paul Tudor Jones and Mary Barley, both recently appearing in INFLUENCE’s list of 100 Most Influential People in Florida politics, as well as CEO Eric Eikenberg and power lobbyist Nick Iarossi.

Although it is still early, and any appropriations deal is far from cemented, if this dedicated funding for the Everglades is passed and ultimately signed by the Governor, then it will make for an extraordinary Legislative Session for environmental groups.

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Florida House: Use conservation money on Everglades

The Florida House wants to dedicate as much as $200 million a year on projects to help restore the state’s fabled Everglades.

House Republicans on Tuesday announced their “Legacy Florida” initiative. It would require that each year that the state set aside conservation money for a variety of Everglades restoration projects.

The list would include projects that lessen the level of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into nearby estuaries. In recent years federal authorities have been criticized for discharging polluted water from the lake into Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River.

The “Legacy Florida” bill is sponsored by Rep. Gayle Harrell but it has the backing of top Republicans including House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican, said in a statement that he believed “consistent funding” will help preserve and protect the Everglades.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Florida Cabinet, GOP leaders to turn out for Jeb Bush fundraiser Thursday evening

Several high-profile Florida Republicans, including all three members of the Florida Cabinet, are lending their support this week to raise money for the presidential campaign of former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have been named honorary co-chairs of a $2,700 per person fundraiser scheduled for Thursday evening. The location of the event, which is set to begin at 7:30 p.m., will be provided upon RSVP.

According to the invite, hosting the event are Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Speaker designate Richard Corcoran and state Rep. Jose Oliva. Also on the guest list are Slater Bayliss, Bush’s leading Florida bundler, top adviser Sally Bradshaw and her politico husband Paul, and lobbyist David Browning of Southern Strategy Group among others.

USA TODAY reports that Bush has taken the lead in the state money race against fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, collecting over $4.7 million in-state through Sept. 30. That’s more than twice that of the freshman senator from Miami, who has amassed nearly $2.3 million from Sunshine State donors. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, Floridians have given $14.8 million to presidential campaigns so far. Bush is currently sitting on a $10 million chest for the Republican primary, compared to $9.7 million for Rubio.

RSVP for the event is with Ann Herberger at ann@woodsherberger.com or (305) 772-4311.

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This Thanksgiving, Florida politicians have much to be grateful for

From the diners and town halls of Iowa and New Hampshire to the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee and from … to Charlie Crist’s waterfront condominium in St. Petersburg, politicians across Florida will gather at Thanksgiving dinner tables to celebrate the most American of holidays.

Before they dig into dishes of stuffed Florida zucchini and yellow squash Parmesan and Florida snap beans with caramelized onions and mushrooms, and scalloped Florida potatoes (recipes courtesy of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam), these elected officials and candidates will share with their family and friends that for which they are most grateful.

Once God, country, family, and good fortune are given their due, here’s what some of the Florida’s politicians should be thankful for:

On the presidential level, the entire Republican field should be ecstatic about the flubbed foreign policy under the Obama administration and Hillary’s email woes. Yet, they’ve managed to completely offset that advantage in the general election by doubling down on the alienation strategy of demonizing minority groups that will likely decide who becomes president.

Fundamentally, Donald Trump is the single luckiest politician this year by becoming the personification of the unfocused rage and fear of white America as they see their paychecks stagnate, their debt climb, their culture erode, and America’s power (and with it, our security) decline across the globe. Whatever happened to a world where you could take a vacation without crushing credit card debt, it didn’t cost as much as a house to send your kid to college, your house was worth more than you paid for it, and men weren’t kissing men at our church altars? Middle America is frightened and pissed. And, of course, all of this is amplified as never before by an ever-shrinking news cycle and the unchecked cacophony of social media.

Jeb Bush should be thankful that his he was able to raise money for his super PAC before officially becoming a candidate for president. Were Bush limited to just what his campaign has raised, he’d probably be out of the race by now. Instead, he still has close to $100 million behind him — enough to keep him in the game until at least January.

Marco Rubio has to still be thanking his lucky stars for whoever it was who advised Bush to attempt to directly attack him during the candidate debate in Boulder, Colorado. He’s been a month-long tear since that Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan clash and increasingly looks like the leading choice of the GOP establishment.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has to be thankful for the FedEx driver or the mailman or whoever keeps losing the letter from Barack Obama firing her for job not well done.

On the state level, Rick Scott has benefited from the dysfunction between the House and Senate because, for once, our do-nothing governor doesn’t look ineffective by comparison. Scott can traverse the state and do ribbon cuttings at WaWa stores without fear of being upstaged by his legislative counterparts.

Adam Putnam has 3 million reasons to be grateful this year. That’s how many dollars he’s already raised for his expected 2018 gubernatorial bid.

Patrick Murphy owes Jeff Atwater a thank-you note for his Hamletesque flirtation with running for the U.S. Senate. While Atwater hemmed and hawed, the four Republicans looking to replace Rubio were frozen in place, as Murphy continued to raise money and consolidate the support of moderate Republicans.

John Morgan and other medical marijuana supporters owe a debt of gratitude to Attorney General Pam Bondi for not filing an opposition to their ballot initiative and to the Florida Supreme Court for subsequently canceling oral arguments.

Allison Tant and Florida Democrats had little to be thankful for after last November’s elections, but with redrawn congressional and state Senate maps, the Dems have their first chance at electoral relevance in more than a decade. They can thank the folks who sponsored the Fair Districts amendments, as well as Barbara Pariente and the rest of the Supreme Court justices who are making sure they are implemented, for this opportunity.

It’s crazy to think that Charlie Crist, having twice this decade lost statewide race, would have a political reason to be thankful, but, after the Florida Supreme Court ordered the state’s congressional districts redrawn with a seat all but hand-carved for Crist, the former governor has reason again to be grateful.

Senate President Andy Gardiner is both thankful and relieved that the two rivals to succeed him — Joe Negron and Jack Latvala — reached a deal where Negron will take the top spot while Latvala will be in appropriations chairman. Peace in your time, Mr. Senate President.

Gardiner’s counterpart, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, remains grateful session after session that he has the 40 state Senators — or Somalian warlords as one member described them — across the hall from him, all of whom seem to want to go out of their way to make the House look like the deliberate chamber and the Senate the raucous one.

Former House Speaker Will Weatherford is perhaps the luckiest politician in Florida because he ended his term on a high note (passing in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens) and by and large avoided the protracted food fight over Medicaid expansion. Compared with the current cast of characters he looks like Winston Churchill.

For a presidential race featuring five candidates with ties to Florida, for a Legislature that would have difficulty organizing a two-car parade, and for a constant stream of zany “Florida Man” stories, count this and other political writers especially grateful. For there is no more interesting cast of characters or story lines than those found in the Sunshine State.

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Long-awaited water policy bill passes House committee

A House budget panel on agriculture and the environment passed an expansive water policy bill by Rep. Matt Caldwell Wednesday afternoon.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Committee approved HB 7005 by a vote of 11 to 1, with Democratic Rep. José Javier Rodríguez opposing.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection has signaled its approval for the bill, as did a number of business-backed groups such as Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Chamber of Commerce, while some environmentalists stay on the fence.

Stephanie Kunkel, a lobbyist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, told the panel her group was grateful for steps the bill’s sponsor had taken since the bill appeared before the Legislature this spring.

Kunkel specifically mentioned greater verification and enforcement of best management practices, known as “BMAPs” in legislative jargon.

However, Kunkel also cited lingering concerns about water conservation incentives and new, sometimes permanent, extensions for certain water-use permits, especially on areas near bodies of water with maximum nutrient levels. She also cited a general lack of vigor from the Department of Environmental Protection when it comes to oversight.

Kunkel representative also told the panel that the organization would like to see the development of nitrogen targets for Lake Okeechobee, which has been beset by problems stemming from agricultural runoff that in turn affect ecologically sensitive bodies downstream, such as the ailing Caloosahatchee River.

David Cullen spoke on behalf of the Sierra Club to express appreciation for a “very good amendment” dealing with minimum nutrient levels. However, he too criticized the bill as getting only “halfway there” to a good water policy bill.

Cullen called for more-concrete deadlines for permit holders and seekers, prohibitions against releasing nutrients around springs, and called definitional language governing springs policy “deficient.”

The Nature Conservancy testified in support, highlighting the sections of the bill that create protection for Florida’s springs and that require projects that produce water for nature and people be planned for concurrently.

Rep. Ray Pilon agreed the bill was not perfect, but called the measure “a solid foundation” for water policy going forward.

Similarly, Rep. Debbie Mayfield expressed a wish to change the Legislature’s structure for founding water projects. Mayfield wants projects to be funded more like road projects, where appropriations are granted on a five-year basis and not one year at a time.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli‘s first year at the helm, 2015, was supposed to be the “Year of Water” after  voters passed a constitutional amendment to create a permanent dedicated source of money to pay for water protection efforts.

No bill emerged from this year’s regular Session when a similar bill by Caldwell and the State Affairs Committee became one of many casualties when the House adjourned three days before the scheduled end the Session.

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Dana Young planning major re-election fundraiser December 2

House Republican Majority Leader Dana Young will raise funds for her re-election with a major event December 2 in Tampa.

Cabinet members Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi and Adam Putnam, as well as House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran headline the invitation for Young’s fundraiser at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club.

Honorary hosts include state Senators Jeff Brandes and Tom Lee, several state representatives, and Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee.

Other notables on the host committee are Louis Betz, Justin Day, Adam Goodman, restauranteur Richard Gonzmart, Mike Griffin, Todd Josko, John Kirtley, Seth McKeel, Tom Pepin, Ron Pierce, Joey Redner, Jim Shimberg, Eileen Stuart, Trey Traviesa, Nancy and Robert Watkins, and former Speaker Will Weatherford.

Young, a sixth-generation Floridian, has represented Tampa and parts of Hillsborough County since 2010. Her central focus has been keeping the state government to its core mission of  schools, public safety, infrastructure, and supporting children and seniors in need.

For more information about the event, or about Young’s campaign, visit www.votedanayoung.com.

Young’s fundraiser begins at 5:00 p.m.

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Mitch Perry Report for 10.20.15 -Friction begins immediately between House and Senate in special session

Last week in Tallahassee, we heard Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli say sort of a remarkable thing. Referring to the conflict between his House of Representatives and the Senate that has dominated Florida politics in 2015, he said it was a  “extraordinary” that anything gets passed between the two bodies.

The latest fissure between the House and Senate began immediately after the gavel dropped for the beginning of Special Session C, the third special session of the year, and this was geared exclusively towards creating new, constitutionally approved Senate Districts.

Under the Florida Constitution, senators serve staggered four-year terms, with 20 up for election in a given election cycle. In 2016, only odd-numbered districts are scheduled to be on the ballot. But in redistricting years, all senators are up for election, and any districts that are changed force the incumbent senator to run for re-election again. Although 2016 isn’t a normal redistricting year, the redrawn maps could significantly alter nearly every district throughout the state. And thus, Crisafulli said, it only makes sense that they all go up for election.

Not so fast, countered Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Bill Galvano. The Bradenton Republican says that his legal counsel says that only senators up for reelection next year should run for reelection. “It’s a supportable legal argument,” he argues.

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

Not only does the House dispute the Senate here, but so do Senate Democrats. “The law in this case is crystal clear,” said Max Steele, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party. “The Senate Republican leadership’s transparent effort to protect their incumbents and bypass the Fair District amendments will fail just like every other legal roadblock the GOP has attempted to use in the redistricting process.”

A lone Republican senator sides with the Dems and Crisafulli on this: Tom Lee from Brandon, who says the GOP needs to “get out of denial.”

Day 2 begins in a few hours.

In other news..

Charlie Crist is expected to announce his candidacy for Congress later this morning. It’s his third major announcement speech from a St. Petersburg Park, but he hopes the outcome is different than the last two occasions.

An NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll published last night shows Marco Rubio the only Republican other than front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson with double-digit support (at 13 percent). And Jeb Bush, languishing in 5th place with just 8 percent support, a considerable downfall from the same poll taken back in June.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn unveiled his selections to the much talked about citizens review board that will provide some accountability to the Tampa Police Department. Perhaps predictably, his critics (or at least one) bashed the choices.

In the wake of that Tribune report about local governments spending money on advertorials or sponsored content on the local news site 83 Degrees, HART board member Karen Jaroch questioned the effectiveness of that effort at a HART board meeting on Tuesday.

Critics wish that Nuclear Recovery Cost recovery was a thing of the past, but it ain’t, and Florida Power & Light exploited that now discredited law yesterday when they asked for and was granted $34.2 million by the Public Service Commission for their two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point plant south of Miami.

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