Posts tagged ‘Florida’

October 18, 2010

Truth in Talk Radio

On Monday 10/18 I listened to Bob Haa’s local radio broadcast, whose guest speaker was Mr. Robert Schenck (R) State Representative for District 44. Mr. Schenck’s opening statement was about how he reduced the state budget. I wonder if Florida’s balanced budget amendment had anything to do with it.

 

Based on the content of the questions of the 6 callers five were Republican callers with questions relating to new legislature on mandatory septic tank inspections, installation of water meters on private ground wells and red light cameras laws. Mr. Schenck calls all of these proposed laws socialism. When asked why he voted to increase License and Car Registration Fees, he admitted he made a mistake. When asked about originally voting for the now named Taj Mahal Courthouse and an additional $7.7 million dollars increase to the project costs which was attached to a bill which came out of the Transportation Committee which he sat on, he said it wasn’t his fault but a procedural problem at the state level. Then he said he tried to repeal the Car and License fee increases this year and voted against the bond funding for the Taj Mahal.

 

If this sounds familiar it’s because some politicians are for some things and then against them in an election year. If Mr. Schenck was against them he should have voted no originally. That’s called doing your homework. Some of the issues he had no response and said he would have to look up when he got back to the office to refresh his memory.

 

Knowing the political bias of Mr. Haa’s broadcasts I was surprised when he let one get by him, he some how allowed one caller of the opposite political party through to ask questions of Mr. Schenck.

 

The caller asked Mr. Schenck a question concerning his campaign rhetoric calling his opponent a tax and spend Democrat. Mr. Schenck cites that Diane Rowden voted no on a .5 mil rate reduction for the general fund in the 2008 budget year when he was no longer on the County Commission. The caller than indicated that over the eight years Diane Rowden served on the County Commission she voted yes to lower property millage rates resulting in lower property taxes of over $35 Million while Robert Schenck in his less than four years served lowered property taxes only $2 Million. His response indicated that he was not aware of the numbers.

 

Some times its good to listen to talk radio and sometimes it isn’t. I prescribe to reading about the issues in the St. Petersburg Times where the facts are printed.

 

 

 

April 1, 2010

Voter rights jeopardized

In early April Commissioner Adkins will be proposing to the County Commissioners the creation of a Study Commission for a Charter Government.  Once he gets 2 more votes for the Study to be conducted by 2 other commissioners, Charter government will have to be considered on the ballot in an election for the public to decide at their expense if that is what they want and how they want the Charter to be written by a Study Commission.

It is obvious to me the origin of this thought process by Mr. Adkins is not from his creativity but possibly originates from the Hernando County Republican Party or a committee of the party. If you recall Mr. Adkins proposed an economic stimulus package in 2009 which he enlisted the help of local homebuilder Blaise Ingoglia to craft a three-pronged Comprehensive Plan for Recovery. This plan was defeated overwhelmingly by the county commission because of its ineffectiveness. 

We now have Adkins et al proposing a takeover of our local government. Charter Governments strip away voter checks and balances against political manipulation of taxing and spending. It takes away Hernando County voter rights to decide who will be our Tax Collector, our Clerk of the Circuit Court our Property Appraiser, our Supervisor of Elections and finally our Sheriff.  All of these constitutional offices should be independent of a County Commission or Administrators Control. 

Charter Governments are typically forms of government for City’s not Counties. When Charters are written many powers can be taken away from the voters and placed in the hands of the County Commissioners, Appointees or their Committees. One of these powers could include land development. Remember that Amendment 4 Hometown Democracy strips away control of land development from county commissioners and puts it in the hands of the voter, you the people. It seems that the current attempt to reduce voter powers is an attempt to destroy Hometown Democracy in Hernando County and many other voter rights.

February 28, 2010

Political Performances Locally

Over 9,300 unemployed in Hernando County and Mr. McHugh has the audacity to brag about jobs created and retained 300. It’s a good thing he isn’t paid on job creation percentages. Although Mr. McHugh has made the papers quite a bit in the last year he has worked as the County Director of Business Development for over eight years. Who does his performance reviews?    

Another public figure we haven’t heard from is Mr. Schenck our supposed State Representative for District 44, after two years since his reelection he now makes the papers with a nice photo. Mr. Robert Schenck recently proposed a bill to eliminate the eye in the ski red light cameras. His reason is that the red light cameras are a form of tax imposed to generate revenue for local governments, and he feels the public safety concerns for citizens is being used as a guise just to increase revenues. It is my opinion that those who violate the law should be penalized for their infraction. Technology is an aid to law enforcement and much less costly than hiring patrolmen to monitor traffic intersections. It also frees patrolmen up to respond to other calls assisting our public therefore increasing public safety. Mr. Schenck should learn about cost controls and efficiencies, but than again it is an election year.

Yet, this shouldn’t surprise us, Mr. Schenck’s priorities are misdirected, here are other bills he co sponsored or voted for; he sponsored HB 73 to expedite the Permitting Process for Economic Development Projects specifically Home Building Developments.

He voted No on Amendment 337171 to Extend Unemployment Benefits to Part Time workers who probably represent many unemployed persons in Hernando County.

He voted yes on Growth Management Deregulation SB 360.

He voted yes on HN1219 Permitting Offshore Drilling.

Mr. Schenck, who do you represent?

November 1, 2009

County Commission favor Builders over Taxpayers

Four months ago the Republican leadership on the County Commission proposed a 25% reduction of impact fees for 18 months recommended by their economic committee which was dropped because of budget considerations. Now we have a Commission proposing a 50% cut in impact fees back to 2001 levels for a 12 month period. Same package different wrapping.

Here is a little history. Impact fees are the same as they were in 2005. The difference is that prior to 2005 builders were allowed to prepay impact fees and possibly avoid increases. This was taken away with Ordinance 2005-16 signed by the County Commissioner’s at which time there was a Democratic Majority. It gave builders 3 years to apply for building permits or their money could be refunded, after June 2, 2008 no interest would be paid on deposits. These changes in 2005 were to assist the county administrator in balancing his budget.

The new County Commission with a Republican Majority are now trying to reverse these positive steps by allowing builders and developers to prepay their impact fees at half the price adding to budget deficits in both the Hernando County School Board and Hernando County Government and are transferring the cost onto the Taxpayers of Hernando County, the employees of Hernando County and School system through future layoffs and budget shortfalls.

Let us not forget why our local economy has the highest unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area. Let us not forget the same people who accused the County Government of spending wildly are the same people who are looking for an impact fee cut. Let us not forget that it is the same people who want an impact fee cut who support the majority of the County Commissioners. Does this smell like special interest favoritism by our County Commissioners? Keep all of this in mind next year in November.

August 9, 2009

Healthcare and Capitalism

The debate over a Public Option for healthcare centers on the premise that Government’s entrance into the Capitalist System of providing healthcare insurance options will decrease the overall services they will be attempting enhance. The extreme rhetoric by the opposition centers on dollars and cents rather than providing services. An example of this is the rhetoric that anyone over 70 years of age needing a procedure will have to wait and possible die because of the wait, today procedures in most hospitals outside of emergencies take from diagnosis to procedure a minimum of two weeks and even more.

I remember after two unsuccessful operations in 2004 locally being told that I would have to wait three months to see a Specialist in Tampa for a relatively common problem. I chose not to wait and had the procedure performed by a good doctor in a neighboring county. Needless to say the procedure performed by this good doctor didn’t work. I finally waited for the specialist and the last two out of five operations were successful. The point being made by opposition to the public option is that waits will be longer. It took 5 operations and 3 years to correct my problem and this was under the current system. In my opinion there is only room for improvement.

 The second argument currently being expressed through fear tactics is that employers will decide to drop their current plans so employees will be forced to take the public option. What hasn’t been discussed is that employers are currently being forced today to cut benefits and raise premiums paid by employees. Employers are also raising the number of hours needed to be worked to qualify for employer provided benefits. All of these cost saving methods continue to increase the number of uninsured in the United States. The reason for all of these actions taken by employers is a result of the cost of healthcare has doubled over the last 10 years. The question is why? Have healthcare employees salaries doubled, have provider fees doubled? The answer to both questions is no. But, Healthcare Insurance provider profits have.

 The final argument being waged by the opposition is that Government intervention into a free capitalistic system only creates inefficiencies and waste. It was Government intervention that helped bring our country out of the depression of 1929. It was Government intervention in the 1940’s that provided Social Security to millions of Americans who would have starved to death. It was Government intervention in the 1960’s that provided Healthcare to millions of retirees who could not provide for themselves. . It was the lack of Government over site that almost brought the entire world into the greatest depression man kind has ever seen in 2008. The problem with Government is the Capitalist Intervention into Government through our elected Representatives.      

 Human services must be provided for those who are less fortunate. We Americans have always provided support to those who have been persecuted. We have provided support to those who have been starved. We are a nation of people who are Humanitarians. If we continue to ignore our own citizens who will come to help us?

October 20, 2008

Insurance, a tool for risk management

Re: If you can’t take the risk, get out of the market- 10/17/2006

 

When I first read the heading I presumed the opinion was concerning the Stock Market. After reading it I realized that Ms. B was speaking to Real Estate Investment. I also realized that Ms. B doesn’t know the first thing about the functionality and concept of insurance and its purpose in society. Insurance was designed to assist individuals or companies in case of catastrophic events. The premiums paid for this guarantee were to be invested and held in reserves to pay claims if such events did occur. These premiums were calculated by actuarial therefore to protect the insurance companies from excessive claims. They did this by spreading the risk over the population of all policyholders nationally. So if a flood devastated a resident in New Jersey our premiums would help them, or if and earthquake in California devastated a resident in San Francisco our premiums would help them. One event occurred which upset the Insurance Industry in Florida. Homestead, they found that the claims for this catastrophic event were cutting into their profits and their reserves. The shareholders were going to possibly loose dividends and the value of their shares would drop especially if the company showed a loss. So to avoid such a catastrophe at company headquarters, Florida State lawmakers were lobbied to change the laws governing Insurance Companies. Our State Representatives including our Attorney General and Governor at the time turned the other way and let the insurance companies form separate corporate entities in Florida. This change in law reduced the number of policies funding reserves to cover catastrophic events in Florida. This change would limit the risk of the insurance companies and preserve their profitability.

Premiums were not artificially low for decades they were low because the risk was spread nationally. They are currently high because the lobbies transferred the cost of providing insurance to the people and the State of Florida, Citizens Insurance. You shouldn’t be condemning the hard working residents of this state you should be condemning your representatives who caved into the Insurance Companies lobbyists.  

%d bloggers like this: