Round-up of Sunday editorials from Florida's leading newspapers

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A compilation of Sunday editorials from some of Florida’s leading newspapers

Tampa Bay TimesMomentum for marriage equality 

“Mirroring the rest of the nation, businesses and high-profile Republicans are moving toward wider acceptance of same-sex marriage, just as President Barack Obama has done. When two landmark cases are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court later this month, powerful conservative and establishment voices will be lining up in support of marriage equality alongside the White House. All in all, most promising signs.

There is a business case to be made for striking down the federal law that bars federal benefits to same-sex couples who have been legally married. It has been laid out in an amicus brief joined by more than 200 companies, including major corporations such as Apple, Citigroup, Nike, Alcoa and Google. Corporate America has weighed into the case that challenges the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the statute is an unjustified business expense and burden.” 

Bradenton HeraldJobs still best as Manatee Countys legisltiv priority 

“When Florida’s Legislature convenes on Tuesday morning for the 2013 regular session, Manatee County’s delegation figures to be front and center on a variety of major state issues while also advancing various Manatee County interests. From the county commission and school board to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and State College of Florida, legislators are well stocked with lists of local priorities and agendas.

Statewide, job creation and economic development remain top priorities alongside education and health care. Manatee County interests target these issues with specific recommendations, many focused directly or indirectly on jobs. All of the following earn our full support as a way to continue the county’s rebound from the Great Recession” 

Daytona Beach News JournalThe privatized Martian honeymoon of a lifetime 

“In the 1990 movie ‘Total Recall,’ vacations to Mars were commonplace in the future.

Truth may be stranger than fiction, as they say. A very rich man named Dennis Tito, an investment consultant, wants to launch a married couple into space for about 16 months so they can circle Mars, the great red planet, and then come back to terra firma.

None of the costs would be borne by NASA or the federal government. Taxpayers may not be involved at all in the $1 billion project. It may all be privately funded.

It sounds like a bad way to test a marriage. But it also sounds like an innovative way for the private sector, which is growing by leaps and bounds in the space industry, to beat NASA, the Russians and the Chinese to Mars. 

The Lakeland LedgerCombee Gun Defense Bill Shoot Just A Warning 

“Bullets would fly with abandon. No problem, the shooter would have nothing to fear from law-enforcement officers or prosecutors over warning shots if he had worried that a violent crime might be committed.

More bullets would fly. No concern, the shooter would have nothing to fear if he had worried that a person might do him harm.

A bullet would pierce the body of a person, killing him. No strife, justice would have been served if the shooter had worried that the person now dead was getting ready to steal a car.” 

The Miami Herald Time for legislature to invest in Florida 

“When legislators convene in Tallahassee on Tuesday, they’ll face the unusual challenge of dealing with a projected surplus in revenue, according to Gov. Rick Scott, instead of another one of the annual deficits that have wreaked havoc on education, environmental protection and a broad array of services in Florida.

That’s good news for the state’s residents. The bad news is that some legislative leaders aren’t buying the governor’s rosy projections, at least not yet.

“Right now, our budget shows that we don’t have $1.2 billion in surplus,” House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said after reviewing the governor’s plan to boost education spending by that amount.”

 Orlando SentinelTo balance budget and limit cuts, fix tax policy

“Job No. 1 for the Florida Legislature every year is to pass a balanced state budget. Unlike their counterparts in Washington, lawmakers in Tallahassee can’t run a deficit. Thank goodness.

For the annual two-month session that convenes Monday in the state Capitol, Gov. Rick Scott has presented lawmakers with a proposal to raise spending by $4.2 billion next year. His plan envisions more money for education, health care and environmental protection — areas that saw deep cuts in recent years.

But whether Florida can afford to spend at the level the governor has proposed and avoid further cuts comes down to the decisions lawmakers will reach on taxes: how much to collect, and how much to give away.”

Tampa TribuneCause for optimism in Tallahassee

“It never pays to be optimistic about the Florida Legislature. You can count on a cagy lobbyist or conniving lawmaker to always be plotting some mischief — or worse.

In recent years legislators nearly slipped through a scheme to permit oil drilling immediately off Florida beaches without scrutiny. They dismantled the planning laws that protected taxpayers from costly haphazard development. Last year, they slashed higher education funding and then created a new university without an iota of evidence it was needed.

Yet, despite such episodes, there is some cause for hope as the session begins Tuesday.

House Speaker Will Weatherford of Pasco County and Senate President Don Gaetz of the Panhandle are able leaders, respectful of opposing views but capable of keeping proceedings on track.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.