Today on Context Florida: Sine Die 2014, Rick Scott, maternity leave and Key West tomatoes

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Today on Context Florida: Florida legislators, looking toward Sine Die of the 2014 session and upcoming re-election campaigns, have actually set the legislative bar so low that it is impossible for them to “fail,” writes Daniel Tilson. Success with tax cuts and education was limited to “low hanging fruit,” which looks fantastic on the campaign trail, but in reality does little to help Floridians.

States cannot tax themselves into prosperity, according to Stephen Moore and Travis H. Brown, authors of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States. Their research shows that Florida is enjoying an impressive economic growth and a relatively quick turnaround from the 2008 recession thanks largely to the smart, pro-growth tax policies of Gov. Rick Scott.

Childcare is not an option for many working parents, but a necessity, whether they can afford it, says UCF women’s studies instructor Leandra Preston-Sidleris, who has the “luxury” of working full-time from home. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate that parents of newborns get paid leave.

Linda Cunningham proved — through hard work and constant diligence — that a tomato can grow in Key West. Key West is not “Florida,” but known in gardener language as a “Zone 11,” meaning tropical, damp and fungus, blight, rot and roots that boil in the ground; not the best place to grow tomatoes.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.