Sunday, January 07, 2007

Florida Preview - Things to look for this week

Gov. Crist is considering the recall of some Bush appointees:

Florida Times-Union - Crist wants change from utilities group

"That commission has been kind of an industry lapdog," Crist said. "It's supposed to be the Public Service Commission, not the phone or power service commission. ... I'm reviewing the options. Appointments are where I have the most impact."

It looks like the two commissioners that may be on the chopping block - Ken Littlefield and Isilio Arriaga - are both Bush appointees. This will, of course, be played in the MSM as Crist moving away from Bush.
St. Pete Times - Crist may boot some tapped by Bush

By the middle of next week, Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to dismantle a small part of the Bush legacy when he cancels some of Bush's late-term appointments.

Mark it down as the start of cutting the umbilical cord.

Crist won't say exactly how many Bush picks are in peril. "There's quite a number, I think," he said. "We're not sure yet. I have to make that decision over the weekend."

Why the Bush recalls? St. Pete Times' Steve Bousquet asked the same question:

What does Crist have against Bush appointees? The answer is nothing, in most cases. But Crist wants appointees loyal to him, not to the old boss.

He also does not want his administration to look like a warmed-over third Jeb term. People perceived as Jeb Kool-Aid drinkers are particularly vulnerable to being recalled.

See also: The Buzz - Jeb's endangered appointees
Is Crist's property tax plan in jeopardy?

It is being reported that Gov. Crist may have trouble getting his way on property tax cuts. Some are worried that deep cuts - or any cuts for that matter - would gut local and county budgets. Property tax revenue is used by local governments for services such as education, police, and fire safety. This is what the papers are saying:
St. Pete Times - Rumble below Crist: Critics of his tax pledge

Crist wants the Legislature to amend the state Constitution to allow each county to double the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.

But for Crist, this promise will be difficult to keep. In the first week of his term, he already faces strong opposition on a signature issue of his campaign.

Resistance is mounting among counties, cities, school boards, taxing authorities and business groups. Their unified opposition could be formidable in the Legislature.

Counties say doubling the homestead exemption would so sharply cut the flow of revenue that programs would have to be cut. Rural counties are most anxious because many of them already collect property taxes at the highest rate allowed by law.

Businesses say a tax break for homeowners would worsen the inequities built into a property tax system that heavily favors residential property by capping the yearly growth of tax bills at 3 percent for homesteaded properties.

Taken together, the critics of Crist's plan say doubling the homestead exemption would not solve the tax problem but would shift more of the tax burden to renters, snowbirds who own vacation homes and to businesses.

We will keep an eye on this as the week progresses, but we are inclined to side with Crist here. Local governments should be forced to evaluate spending and efficiency.
What will Carole Jean do?

As reported here on Friday, there is some question about what current state GOP Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan will do vis-a-vis Crist nominee for the post. Though Jordan has said that she would not accept the nomination if it comes, she has yet to endorse Crist nominee Jim Greer.

The Tallahassee Sentinel has joined other Republicans in calling on Jordan to throw her support behind Greer. After speaking with a source from within the Party, I've learned that a rift has developed between those that believe it is the prerogative of Crist to choose the party leader - this has traditionally been the case - and those that prefer an open race for the #1 spot.
St. Pete Times - Outgoing GOP chief is leaving, right?

There's Buzz in Republican circles that state Republican Party chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan wants another term as GOP head despite Gov. Charlie Crist tapping a little-known pal, Jim Greer of the Orlando area, as his preferred choice.

Is Carole Jean ready to flip-flop on a run for the top post?

"I'm not," she said on a special inauguration episode of Political Connections airing on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. today. "It's always exciting to listen to the rumor mill, isn't it."

We'll see. With the race for 2008 already gearing-up, we've got a message for the chairwoman: Stop playing games and get on board!

1 comment:

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