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The Florida Legislature, in the midst of a fiscal crisis occasioned by the economic meltdown, is evaluating a proposal to cut the salaries of state workers by 5 percent. Although a decision has not yet been made, already there is outrage in view of the tax cuts that the wealthiest Floridians received over the past 10 years.
Governor Crist underscored the vital role that a free press plays in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy. He stressed the importance of journalists holding politicians and government officials accountable.
With some 800,000 Floridians out of work, Senate Democratic leader Al Lawson of Tallahassee said Crist should be more aggressive in getting the federal funds distributed, noting the state has yet to create federally required Web sites to inform the public about the spending. Some 29 other states have established the sites.
Lawmakers got the bad financial news most were expecting Friday when state economists said they now expect general revenues to be down about $1 billion in the current budget year and nearly $2.4 billion in the next one compared to estimates made just four months ago.
Tianna Brown was 14 when she and a then-17-year-old friend rented a room at the Dutch Inn on Apalachee Parkway with two men and then robbed them, prosecutors say.
Florida has about 50,000 homeless children, one of the highest rates in the country, according to a new study from the National Center on Family Homelessness.
Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said Tuesday the state has already recorded twice the wildfire activity of a year ago.
Gov. Charlie Crist says Florida is applying for its first installment of federal Medicaid stimulus money.
State officials said the jobless rate jumped a full percentage point in January from the month before to 8.6 percent, with 800,000 workers out of a job, state officials said Friday.
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he will nominate Craig Fugate, head of Florida's disaster response operation, to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FSU officials expect to learn during the current legislative session how much less in state aid the university will receive for the coming school year. FSU has reduced its budget by $21 million since June 2007, and university officials are making plans to cut the budget by as much as $38 million more.
For the nearly 20 million people who choose to call Florida home, to not just raise their children and build their businesses, but to truly live out their dreams; the future is now. The strength of our state and national economies are being tested in ways not seen in decades: unemployment is at a 16-year high. Our people are struggling, as a state and as a nation. And like never before, we have an obligation to serve them well.
State economists say Florida's economic outlook is getting worse due to the "double-whammy" of the national recession on top of the state's housing slump.
Mayor Dean Grose of Los Alamitos, California has announced he will resign at Monday's City Council meeting. He drew fire for an email he sent to a constituent showing a picture of the White House lawn superimposed with a watermelon patch. The email had the subject "No Easter Egg hunt this year."
The jackpot in the Florida Lotto game has grown to $22 million after no one matched the six winning numbers in the latest drawing, lottery officials said Sunday.
Gov. Charlie Crist suspended Okaloosa County Sheriff Charles Morris on Friday, hours before the sheriff was to make an initial appearance in federal court in Las Vegas on corruption charges. Authorities said Morris, 59, will be returned to Florida where he faces similar charges along with his office manager, Teresa Adams, 50. Adams was expected to make her first appearance Friday before a U.S. magistrate in Pensacola, according to officials.
An angry voter who thinks top elected officials develop ethical blind spots about their own powers filed an Ethics Commission complaint Tuesday over Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's travel expenses. The lieutenant governor reimbursed the Department of Management Services $6,600 for travel by his wife and son on state planes.
The higher rate went into effect Sunday under an agreement that Gov. Charlie Crist signed with the U.S. Department of Labor. Some of Crist's fellow Republican governors say they may turn down the unemployment cash because they they'd have to raise state taxes to pay for the new benefit when the federal money runs out.
Leaning heavily on federal stimulus money, Gov. Charlie Crist today proposed a $66.5 billion state budget that includes no tax increases and calls for no layoffs of state employees. Unlike California and some other states, which have made massive budget cuts, laid off employees and put some state workers on furloughs, Florida will avoid major personnel pain.
A statewide poll released Wednesday indicates that Gov. Charlie Crist can pretty much have his choice of jobs — four more years in the Governor's Mansion or six in the U.S. Senate — in next year's elections. The Quinnipiac University Poll said Florida voters would prefer that he run for governor. The Quinnipiac University Poll said Florida voters would prefer that he run for governor.
In addition to the 2009-10 budget he will announce late this week, Crist is working on possibly four proposals to hold down property taxes. They would limit city and county tax collections to the rate of inflation plus population growth, limit assessments on business and other non-homestead properties to 5 percent a year, give first-time homebuyers a 50-percent exemption up to $500,000 and forbid increases in home assessments when a home's value declines.
The University of Florida, Florida State and Florida A&M universities and Tallahassee Community College are out about $64 million dollars because the state's lawmakers have put a hold on matching grants for the 2008-09 school year. It's a move that puts administrators in a bind.

Conflicted Lt. Gov. Pays Up

A check signed by Kottkamp and made out for $6,600.59 arrived at the department's Tallahassee headquarters on Wednesday. Dated Feb. 7, the check has the words "Cyndie/Jackson Air Travel," in the memo line, a reference to Kottkamp's wife and young son.
Florida lawmakers are angry that an agency in charge of tourism hired a call center in Missouri to promote Florida as a vacation destination.
Tallahassee was able to accomplish the move from silver designation to gold in under a year.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said he would reimburse the state $12,974 for flights his wife and son took aboard state planes after a newspaper investigated their travel. Florida law previously barred public officials from using state airplanes for commuting, but lawmakers quietly inserted language into a massive budget bill in July to permit the practice.
With the state staring at a third straight year of dwindling revenues, lawmakers will consider a temporary one cent sales tax increase. Lawmakers are also looking at a higher cigarette tax.
Car sales in Florida are down 50 percent since this summer; bad news for the 76,000 Floridians who work in dealerships. It’s also bad news for the state.
Seminole gambling continues in legal limbo after Florida’s highest court said lawmakers have to approve. With that backdrop, the Seminole Tribe came to the Capitol making promises: 288 million in cash now, and up to 45 thousand jobs.
Ray Sansom spent 2 months in virtual silence over allegations he steered state money to a hometown college, took a six-figure job from the school, and helped arrange a meeting out of the sunshine.