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13 posts from January 30, 2013

January 30, 2013

Sen. Chris Smith: Gov. Rick Scott playing politics with teacher pay

Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith mostly focused on pushing the Democratic agenda during his 30-minute talk at the annual AP forum, but he didn’t hold back when asked about the 2014 governor’s race.

The Fort Lauderdale resident said just about anybody from his party, including Charlie Crist, would be better that Gov. Rick Scott winning re-election.

“Gov. Scott has shown an inability to really bring the state together and to run the state well,” Smith said. “And so I think any gubernatorial candidate from the Democratic side will have a good shot at the next election.”

Smith describe the governor as a flip-flopper who is altering his policy stance in order to cull favor with voters. He used Scott’s proposal to giveteachers across-the-board pay raises as a prime example.

“You look at the 3 percent we’ve taken the last two years, so when you get at this $2,500 dollars it’s not a net gain for teachers because of what he’s done in the past, Smith said. “To have this sudden epiphany to me reeks of election year is coming."

Here are some other other highlights from Smith’s speech and the question-and-answer session that followed:

Continue reading "Sen. Chris Smith: Gov. Rick Scott playing politics with teacher pay" »

Gov. Scott will seek $1.2 billion more for schools

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday he will ask the Legislature to increase funding for public schools by $1.2 billion next year. But a third of that money would pay for an across-the-board teacher pay hike and nearly $300 million more would pay down part of the unfinded liability in the state pension system.

Speaking to the annual AP news forum in Tallahassee, Scott presented a case that Florida's economy has steadily improved under his direction and that now is the time to "strategically invest" in public education.

Scott will make his full budget recommendations to the Legislature at the state Capitol Thursday.

Speaking from a prepared text, Scott defended his proposal to give all public school teachers a $2,500 across-the-board raise, which has come under fire from legislative leaders who say it should be tied to classroom performance.

"I have never met an educator who wants bad teachers to be rewarded," Scott said. "The educators that I know support accountability."

Scott also listed as a top priority the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturers' equipment purchases, which he said would save businesses $144 million in taxes.

-- Steve Bousquet

FBI strings crime-scene tape, hauls off suitcases and boxes from office of eye doc tied to Sen. Menendez

NBC's West Palm Beach affiliate has been outside the West Palm Beach office of Dr. Salomon Melgen ever since we reported last night that the FBI raided his medical offices.

Agents hauled off boxes, suitcases and strung up crime scene tape.

The investigation is believed to be focusing on Melgen’s finances and the allegations about Sen. Bob Menendez’s trips and contact with prostitutes. A spokesman for Menendez could not be reached for comment, nor could Melgen.

Here's our story

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/01/fbi-agent-raids-office-of-eye-doc-tied-to-gift-prostitution-controversy-with-sen-bob-menendez.html#storylink=cpy