Back to Tally Again

Another special session begins 9AM Wednesday, as lawmakers try to cut a billion-dollar hole in the state budget, created by Floridians like you and me spending less than expected. That’s cut into sales tax receipts.
A billion sounds like a lot, but no one here in Tallahassee seems to think it’s a big deal. Speaker Marco Rubio points out, last year’s budget was $72-billion. Lawmakers bumped it up to $74-billion, and now must cut back a billion. Bottom line, he says, is that even a trimmed-back budet represents an increase over last year.
St. Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera says– he’s heard virtually nothing from nervous constituents about imoending cuts, save for a few inquiries from senior citizens, concerned that their subsidized meal money might be cut (it won’t be, according to Lopez-Cantera).
The Miami Republican also says– his constituents aren’t weighing in on the session’s other big item— reviving no-fault insurance. Special interest groups, though, are all over this subject. Insurance companies are lobbying furiously against any revival of no-fault, saying it breeds huge fraud. Clinic owners and lawyers want no-fault to be resuscitated.
Even negotiators who crafted the compromise no-fault plan that will be considered don’t seem very confident it’ll pass. Sen. Bill Posey says– until the final vote’s taken– he won’t feel confident that whatg he calls a “completely consumer-friendly” bill wikll pass.
Most south Florida lawmakers will probably support reviving no-fault. Our part of the state has the most uninsured drivers. Without no-fault, public hospitals are likely to get hit with the costs of treating their accident-related injuries– meaning local taxpayers would pay.
One final lighter note– Florida’s Governor, having been to two Jewish services in South FL in the last few weeks, has apparently picked up some Yiddish at temple. Today, he called Broward St. Sen. Steve Geller a “mensch” (loosely, a nice guy).
While the Gov. is always quick with to stroke lawmakers, it’s the first time I’ve heard it in Yiddish.


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