Daytona Beach News Journal – Felons on hold – Recent headlines have made much of an audit finding that civil rights were restored to 13 people convicted of serious violent felonies — and benefited two people who were still behind bars. It’s an embarrassing error, and one state officials should hasten to correct. They should also be alarmed at a finding that nearly 28,000 applications for restoration of civil rights — including requests from people who were never incarcerated — have been ignored. Together, the error rate and the backlog suggest that the Florida Parole Commission, which handles rights-restoration cases, is severely underfunded and overburdened with rules.
Lakeland Ledger – Hurricanes, Property Insurance: Financial Disaster Awaits – The hurricane season of 2004 saw three major storms rip and roar across Polk County – and a fourth across Florida, leaving some $30 billion damage in their wake. It was a collective catastrophe of historic proportions. Now, five years later, the state is looking at a financial catastrophe if it endures another storm season like 2004, or, for that matter, only one Andrew-strength – or Katrina-size – hurricane.
Orlando Sentinel – Wrong Rx for growth woes – We’re as angry and exasperated as anyone when it comes to how readily officials throughout Florida trample local growth plans. The plans are supposed to reflect a community’s vision of how — or even whether — it wishes to grow. But at the behest of developers, and frequently against residents’ wishes, they’re stomped on by city and county commissioners as many as 12,000 times a year.
Tallahassee Democrat – Libraries help feed our democracy – The Leon County Public Library lends more than 2 million books and other materials each year, but as an important part of its mission, it also helps bridge the “digital divide.” That is, it supplies computers and Internet access to those who might not be able to afford a home computer.
Tampa Tribune – Richer retirement poor excuse for deficit – Social Security, the nation’s retirement program, is running a deficit seven years earlier than expected. Payroll taxes collected this year won’t be enough to cover the promised level of payments. Something has to give. Possible solutions include a higher tax on high-paid workers or a higher tax on the Social Security benefits of affluent retirees. Neither option is good, but enacting some version of both would be a better solution than continuing to pretend that future taxpayers will be prosperous enough to easily pay off the nation’s increasing debt.