My personal voting guide — and you too if you wish to follow along

The following is my personal opinion and not that of any organization in which I may have an affiliation.

Being a Libertarian in Palm Beach County affords me the ability to not be pressured by conservatives or liberals / Republicans or Democrats to vote a certain way. In other words, I feel zero obligation to simply go down my ballot and vote for all the Republicans or all the Democrats. And, sadly, this election season, there are no Libertarians for whom to vote. I vote for maximum freedom of the individual regardless of political party, which makes this year one of the hardest since 1983 when I first had the ability to vote, as the bulk of the candidates are anti-freedom — no matter their rhetoric.

So, we’ll start off with some links to a few orgs I tend to like with their voter guides though I do not agree with each and every assessment. It should also be noted, some of the amendments on the ballot should NOT be in the Florida Constitution but should be in Florida Statute. Similarly, this bundling of different issues within one amendment is tragic and should never happen again.

Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County

Libertarian Party of Florida

James Madison Institute

Countywide School Question: I will be voting NO on this effort to quadruple the school tax on Palm Beach County property owners and indirectly to renters. The reason is basic, the school board does not need the money. It has $3 billion at its disposal already and can easily reduce some of its administrative costs to afford the $150 million they say they need. It is awful that teachers are not paid more and students in our county do not feel safe while on school property because of the mismanagement of the school district.

Amendment 1: I will be voting YES even though I struggled with this one because, like the Libertarians have said, it does not address the core problem with property taxes. The only reason I am voting YES is to help reign in government spending which continues to be bloated. If passed, this amendment will save the average Florida homeowner $240 per year on their property taxes.

Amendment 2: Similar in scope is Amendment 2 which I will be voting YES. The reservations I have about it are similar to those of Amendment 1, but it will help property owners who are not protected by the “Save Our Homes” law and will limit the property tax increases for non-homesteaded properties to no more than 10%.

Amendment 3: This may seem counterintuitive for a Libertarian to vote NO on a question of gambling; however, I am voting NO. This amendment is a protectionist sham. While I am in favor of casino gambling and the Florida government has done a miserable job from a free market perspective, any expansion of gambling would require a 60 percent approval from the voters—a difficult threshold to overcome. This is not the answer to an already broken system and would not likely result in an expansion gambling put would likely protect those already in the business from encountering additional competition.

Amendment 4: I have been a long-time supporter of restoring one’s rights after they have served their time. I will be voting YES to automatically restore the rights of those who have completed their obligations to society after committing a criminal offense. I would suggest this amendment does not go far enough; however, it is better than what we have today. The process a felon needs to go through to restore their rights in Florida is horrible and must be corrected or, as with Amendment 4, improved.

Amendment 5: I will absolutely positively be voting YES on this amendment! It is telling how Governor Rick Scott, when he was running for governor stated repeatedly how bloated the state government budget was at the time. Now that he’s been governor it has the largest budget ever! So no matter who is in charge, Democrat or Republican we never have reduced government spending. We need the financial constraints Amendment 5 offers to control government spending. We have plenty of reserves and backup resources so that if something truly disastrous happened, we could weather the storm and the amendment still affords a vote of 2/3 of the legislature to handle extraordinary events.

Amendment 6: This is one of those HORRIBLE bundled amendments where a voter will be strongly in support of one aspect, yet is strongly against another aspect. This amendment bundles three different issues! I will be voting NO even though I agree with part of the amendment, the rest of the amendment, not so much.

Amendment 7: Like Amendment 6, this is a bundled amendment and I will be voting NO. My NO vote is not a vote against first responders!!

Amendment 8: This amendment was removed from the ballot.

Amendment 9: I will be voting NO. Again, this is another bundled amendment, this time dealing with offshore drilling and vaping inside businesses which have nothing to do with one another. I will be voting NO because businesses have a right to decide whether or not to allow vaping (it is none of the government’s business) and we already have laws heavily regulating natural gas production and offshore drilling in the state.

Amendment 10: Yet another bundled amendment which is highly unfortunate as I am forced to vote NO. If enacted, this amendment would cause duplication of bureaucracies between state and federal government agencies which is not needed. The amendment would also eliminate a county’s ability to abolish constitutional offices and make them permanent. This amendment could have easily been four separate amendments, debated on their own criterium.

Amendment 11: I will be voting YES as this amendment removes obsolete language while enabling foreign-born non-citizens to own real estate in Florida. Basically, this will right some wrongs and, hopefully, offer better property rights to Floridians.

Amendment 12: I will be voting NO on this issue even though I have some strong reservations in doing so. While lobbying is rife with abuse in the Florida legislature (and that alone would lead me to a YES vote) it does not trump one’s right to free speech and their ability to earn a living. I do not have the full answer to solving the lobbying problem in Tallahassee and even here in Palm Beach County, I just know Amendment 12 is not the answer.

Amendment 13: I will be voting YES to ban gambling on the racing of dogs. As with a few of the other amendments, I have serious problems with such a thing being in our Florida Constitution, but sadly, this is one of those few moments I could be somewhat accused of being hypocritical. Just like with the “pregnant pigs” amendment and medical marijuana, it is sad we are here putting something like this in our constitution (if it passes). While I am on the side of gamblers and para-mutuals, when it comes to animals, especially when I personally have seen the abuse some of these animals have had to endure, you get little sympathy from me. Gamble on anything you want so long as it is voluntary in nature; I can guarantee you that the bulk of these dogs are not doing it voluntarily.

As for the Justices and Judges, I have no opinion to offer.

Florida Representative District 89: I do not like either of them. Neither is closer than the other to being considered a “freedom-based” candidate. Worst case scenario, I’d go with the underdog Bonfiglio as it is clear to me Caruso will win by a landslide. And who knows, there’s still quite some time between now and election day, perhaps things could turn around.

Florida Representative District 87: I have met both and though I like both candidates, I cannot recommend one over the other. If pushed into a corner, I guess I’d go with LeBeu, the underdog third party candidate as we do agree on a few issues.

Florida Representative District 86: Oh my, just NO on both. If you live in this district, my sympathies are with you. Again, if pushed into a corner, I guess you could with Willhite, who is a good guy, but there is little to like from a Florida legislature standpoint.

Florida Representative District 85: Rick Roth is the clear choice for freedom-loving voters. He’s not perfect, but he is far better than his opponent.

Florida Representative District 82: MaryLynn Magar is the clear choice for North County voters.

Florida State Senator District 30: This is another pointless exercise as Powell will win, but I would be writing in Josh Santos.

Florida State Senator District 25: While not on board 100% with Gayle Harrell, she would have a strong lead in my book over her opponent.

Commissioner of Agriculture: Skip this race, they are both terrible. Actually, that may be an overstatement, but I would not vote for either as their negatives outweigh any positives they have. And they both have positives, it’s just a shame we can’t mesh them both into one candidate.

Chief Financial Officer: Undecided. For me, it’s a tossup between Ring, Petronis and writing in Dembinsky. I likely will not decide until I am in the voting booth, quite frankly.

Florida Attorney General: I will be voting for Jeff Siskind. Moody and Shaw seem to be the opposite of freedom lovers while Siskind is — at least as best one can be as attorney general.

Florida Governor: Another tough race for a Libertarian to decide for whom to vote. Ultimately, I would go with Darcy Richardson. Like most candidates this year, he is not perfect from a Libertarian standpoint but seems to be the closest in the race.

U.S. Congress District 22: Tough choice and this would be another I would have to bow out. I can’t agree with either candidate on the bulk of the issues and certainly would never label either as a freedom-lover, unfortunately. While I have a deep respect for Deutch and he’s a good guy, he’s a no-vote. I could be wrong, but unlike Deutch, Kimaz’s campaign seems to be ego-driven rather than issue driven.

U.S. Congress District 20: Well, this is a no-brainer. First, whether you like him or not, Hastings will win. And for that reason alone, I would write-in Jay Alan Bonner.

U.S. Congress District 18: Brian Mast and Lauren Baer, what an awesome race. It is a shame neither is about freedom. They both want to take away your AR-15 while espousing all other types of government force onto our lives. No thank you, skip it!

U.S. Senator from Florida: Again, similar to above, neither the Republican or the Democrat are very good choices. It pains me to say that I am not able to vote for either the Republican or the Democrat and may have to sit this one out. Scott supports gun control while picking winners and losers with the unprovable strategy of corporate welfare, while Nelson is an empty suit, only showing up around election time. Nelson is another picker of winners and losers. He supports exempting my much-loved premium cigars from federal regulation which I appreciate, but he does so not out of principle which is rather pathetic. This is a link to all the candidates for U.S. Senate in Florida, pick a write-in candidate that seems the least crazy and write their name in correctly on the ballot so it gets counted or sit this one out. This is a sad election season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will pay for Gillum’s 41% corporate tax increase proposal?

Andrew Gillum, a candidate seeking to be Florida’s next governor, is proposing to raise the state’s corporate tax rate from 5.5% up to 7.75% (a 40.9% increase) in order to pay for giving teachers a $50,000 per year salary, “raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, and enacting a Medicare for All policy.” For many, this sounds like a great idea to hit those greedy corporations where it hurts — in their bank accounts. That is until you get into the details of such a proposal in action.

First, and foremost, the proposal, if it ever saw the light of day, would supposedly bring in just over an additional billion dollars to the state coffers. Currently, it brings in around $2.5 billion and theoretically it would bring in $3.52 billion. Many have questioned if an extra billion dollars would pay for all of what Gillum is claiming.  More importantly, if Gillum made it into the Governor’s Mansion, such a proposal would have to be passed by the Florida Legislature for him to sign and that would be quite the feat.

Who would pay this 41% increase in corporate taxes?

Gillum and spinmasters would have you believe those greedy capitalistic corporations would be paying; however, the reality is Floridians will be hit with the tax increase. Corporate taxes are simply a conduit for which consumers pay. If a corporation pays 5% or 50% of their profits in corporate taxes to any government entity, that tax is ultimately paid by their customers a/k/a us as part of every transaction.

Will it raise the $1 billion it says?

Not likely. Many corporations will strategize to reduce their tax exposure so they can remain competitive and keep their prices low for their customers. There are no concrete figures but many believe it will likely bring in an additional $500-600 million. No matter the figure, it is far short of what Gillum is selling or able to deliver.

Unintended consequences…

Although I say “unintended” anyone with even a rudimentary study of economics or having been in business for any length of time, will know the following are what will happen under such a proposal. The proposal would hurt most those who it is intended to help. It would hurt those seeking employment as employers will not hire as many workers, businesses will be forced to let some workers go — finding more efficient and less expensive means of production, and prices of goods & services across Florida would rise. So, in a nutshell, if the proposal was ever enacted it would hamper the economic growth in Florida.

While some will vote for Gillum thinking they are helping the poor, helping teachers, and helping those with serious medical conditions; they are actually doing the complete opposite. And yet others are considering voting for Gillum in order to create a blockage from any legislation from getting through considering we have a Republican-controlled state legislature. There are some of Gillum’s platform to be supportive of; however, his corporate tax plan is not one of them.

If Andrew Gillum truly believes in his tagline #BringItHome he would eliminate the state corporate tax and allow Floridians to keep more of what they earn rather than feed it to those “greedy corporations” and the even greedier state government.

It is everyone’s responsibility to research the candidates running to be Florida’s next governor and spend some time to research whether their platform will have the intended consequences if enacted. Go beyond the rhetoric and the shiny headlines and see if it actually makes sense in the long run.

Some links for your perusal:

The effects of minimum wage

Why Gillum should do the opposite and decrease or eliminate the state’s corporate tax

Gubernatorial candidates whose name will appear on the November ballot:

Ron DeSantis

Ryan Foley (no website found)

Kyle Gibson

Andrew Gillum

Darcy Richardson

Bruce Stanley

NOTE: Bruce Nathan is expected in court later today to argue his case to be included on the November ballot for governor.

Florida is the 8th most diverse state in the nation

With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing and the leadership in Fortune 500 companies still dominated by Caucasian males, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2018’s Most & Least Diverse States in America.

To determine where the most idea and identity exchanges have occurred at the highest level in the U.S. — and where the population is relatively more homogeneous — WalletHub compared the 50 states across six key categories: socio-economic, cultural, economic, household, religious and political diversity.

Diversity in Florida (1=Most Diverse, 25=Avg.):

  • 22nd – Educational-Attainment Diversity
  • 9th – Racial & Ethnic Diversity
  • 7th – Linguistic Diversity
  • 2nd – Birthplace Diversity
  • 16th – Industry Diversity*
  • 3rd – Marital-Status Diversity
  • 1st – Generational Diversity
  • 12th – Household-Type Diversity

*Includes civilian employed population aged 16 and older

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-diverse-states-in-america/38262/

Some state bureaucrats are pushing a bill to guide you into having a “healthy marriage”

The absurdity of elected officials in Tallahassee trying to educate Floridians in what is a healthy marriage is rich with fodder. Florida State Senators and Representatives have had to resign due to the wild and crazy culture in the Florida legislature and they want to put out a “Healthy Marriage Guide.” Uhm, NO!

First off, should our state government get involved? NO! Second, should a band of philandering public officials guide us on what will result in a healthy marriage? No!

SB 1580 and H 1323 should die before hitting the floor. It is not the business of theWedding_rings_photo_by_Litho_Printers Florida legislature to involve itself in the private marriage of Floridians. The bills would force those seeking permission from the State of Florida to marry to affirm they have viewed the guide or have similar information.

This is going in the wrong direction by getting the State more involved in the personal lives of Florida citizens. Instead, the State should work to be less involved and give them more freedom, not less.

Let’s ban red light cameras by contacting your Florida State Senator today!

#REDLIGHTCAMERAS

 

Get your Florida State Senator to move forward and help pass one of these redlightcameraanalysis2016 pdf.pngtwo important bills to eliminate red light cameras in the State of Florida. The bill has passed in the Florida House and now needs to move through the Florida Senate.
SB 176 and SB 548 both ban the red light cameras in the state and are very similar, only that they have different effective dates.

Here is a link to the Florida Highway & Safety report: http://www.flhsmv.gov/…/cabi…/redlightcameraanalysis2016.pdf

Here is a link to find who your Florida State Senator is: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

Although I currently do not have a State Senator, here is a sample letter you can send or better yet, call your State Senator (more effective):

Dear Senator <Name>,

It is imperative that you support getting either SB 548 or SB 176 passed to ban red light cameras in Florida as it will help save lives in our district.

Here is a link to the Florida Highway & Safety report: http://www.flhsmv.gov/…/cabi…/redlightcameraanalysis2016.pdf

The cameras have proven themselves to cause more deaths than before they were put up. This is an undisputable fact born out by data from the Florida Division of Highway Safety.

Thank you,
<Your Name>
<Address>
<Phone>

New Study Explores Crony Capitalism in Florida

The DeVoe L. Moore Center Blog

A new study published by The James Madison Institute by DeVoe L. Moore Center Policy Analyst Matthew Kelly and Center Director Samuel Staley explores two examples of crony capitalism in Florida’s government policy: sports stadium subsidies and film tax incentives. The authors urge Floridians to remain vigilant over the spending of their tax dollars by government officials and prevent the enrichment of special interests at the public’s expense.

Cronyism-Backgrounder-First-Page-2

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Make your voice heard in the upcoming hearings in Florida regarding medical marijuana regulation

The Department of Health has proposed rules for Amendment 2

Here is an article about the proposed Department of Health Hearings.

February 6-9, 2017 staff members from the DOH Office of Compassionate Use are visiting five Florida cities. The tour is an effort by the Department to fulfill the public comment requirements.  

Anyone can make a comment about the implementation of Amendment 2 through the Departments’ online form found here. 

If you are passionate about ensuring patients have safe, legal access to cannabis, consider attending and speaking at a meeting near you.

Items to speak out about!

  • Changing the definition of caregiver – Any close blood relative should be allowed to act as a caregiver without a background check. A level 1 background check won’t exclude a con artist or swindler from becoming a caregiver and extorting a patient, unless the rules exempt people convicted of fraud or elder abuse. 
  • Don’t ask Doctors to order specific quantities of cannabis. The proposed rules require doctors to “order” specific quantities of cannabis, which is too much like an unlawful prescription and puts doctors at risk under federal law. If doctors don’t participate, patients won’t be able to enroll.
  • Let the doctor make the decision if cannabis is right for the patient. The proposed rules give the Florida Board of Medicine — not the patient’s doctor — the ability to determine whether the patient’s condition is “substantially similar” to those listed in the amendment.
  • Ensure doctors can re-authorize our recommendation every 45-days without a subsequent visit! Patients can’t afford to pay a doctor, often out of pocket, every 45-days just to stay on the registry.

When preparing to speak, here are some things to consider. 

  • Know what you’re talking about. Read the proposed rules carefully and look up the references. 
  • The DOH can only implement the laws as written in the Constitution or written in Florida Statute. Make sure you understand the difference and speak to what DOH can actually do. Here is the full statute as it exists.
  • Don’t try to cover more than one or two items when you speak. Pick your point, have your facts on hand and make it relevant.
  • There will be forms available before the meeting, get there early and fill one out. Your statement becomes part of the official record and the information you provide is public.
  • Your time will be limited to three minutes or less. If enough people ask to speak you could get one minute. Get to your point quickly.
  • Don’t waste time introducing yourself. They have your form. Get to your point quickly.

Here are the times and locations of the public hearings. You don’t have to attend to be heard.


Remember, everyone can comment through
this online form.

Feb 62:00 pm Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Duval County Health Department, 900 University Blvd. North in Jacksonville

Feb 710:00 am – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Broward County Health Department, 780 SW 24th Street in Fort Lauderdale

Feb 89:00 am – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory, 3602 Spectrum Blvd.

Feb 86:00 pm – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Orange County Health Department, 6102 Lake Ellenor Drive in Orlando

Feb 94:00 pm – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148 in Tallahassee.

marijuana-leaf

Big Sugar’s strong appetite for corporate welfare

sugar-spoon

Algae blooms are impacting Florida’s Treasure Coast just in time to ruin the Fourth of July holiday weekends of visitors.  A state of emergency has been declared. If the bloom doesn’t clear, summer vacations will be canceled; those who make their living in resort areas have already been impacted.

Is this merely the vagaries of Mother Nature? It is not. Instead, this is a case of government-subsidized destruction that is supported by both political parties. Government subsidies for the domestic sugar industry have helped to create the algae blooms. The blooms have been going on for years and have killed wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and pelicans, as well as causing beach closings.

On top of price supports, the government enforces a system of tariffs and quotas on imported sugar.

One source of the algae is Lake Okeechobee, the second biggest freshwater lake in America. The fertile earth surrounding the lake has supported Florida’s sugarcane industry.  Sugar plantations then send their farm contaminants into the lake. When water levels in the lake get high, the Army Corps of Engineers releases algae contaminated water into the St. Lucie River, a seven-mile estuary connected to the coast.

Runoff from the plantations adds about 15 billion gallons of contaminated water a year to the lake. This contaminated water is low in oxygen and high in nitrogen and phosphorus, conditions which help breed algae.

Cause-and-effect in complex eco-systems is hard to trace. What percentage of the algae growing is due to sugar plantations? We don’t know for sure. What we do know is this, sugar plantations are contaminating the water. In the absence of government subsidies, sugar plantations in Florida might not even exist.

Government Sweethearts

World prices sugar are lower and sometimes considerably lower than the domestic price of sugar. The Manhattan Institute’s Jared Meyer and Preston Cooper explain how government subsidizes the sugar industry:

“The program that supports the American sugar industry has many facets. Most infamous is a subsidy program in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture gives loans to sugar farmers and allows them to repay those loans with raw sugar if sugar prices fall below 20.9 cents per pound. This program functions as an effective mass purchase of sugar, which drives up prices for consumers and thus doubly subsidizes the industry…

The government also enforces a system of tariffs and quotas on imported sugar, limiting the supply of cheaper sugar that can be imported from abroad. This results in wide spreads between global and domestic sugar prices.”

The cost of all this? Economist Mark Perry explains the cost of the sugar subsidy in 2012:

“By forcing Americans to pay an average of 43.4 cents per pound in 2012 for inefficiently produced domestic beet sugar instead of 26.5 cents per pound for more efficiently produced world sugar, US sugar policy forced Americans to pay a “premium” of almost 17 cents per pound for the roughly 17 billion pounds of American sugar produced last year.  In total, that 17 cent per pound “premium” translates to almost $2.9 billion in artificially inflated costs for the domestic sugar purchased by American consumers and businesses in 2012.”

The high-fructose corn syrup industry did not exist prior to the sugar price support program.

From Big Sugar to Big Corn

One intervention leads to another. The Department of Agriculture sells the purchased sugar at a discounted price to ethanol producers. Ethanol production is another industry which arguably would not exist without government subsidies. Subsidized ethanol production further damages the environment.

Not only is the sugar subsidy costing billions of dollars, but it is also shifting the jobs of confectioners overseas to take advantage of the lower world sugar price.  Trump has proclaimed he will never eat Oreos again because the cookie manufacturer is shifting production to Mexico. Manufacturers in Mexico can purchase sugar at the world’s price; no doubt that influences their purchase decisions.

As importantly, sugar subsidies are helping to destroy our health as Michael Wohlgenant explains:

“The high-fructose corn syrup industry did not exist prior to the early 1970s, when the current sugar price support program was implemented. The industry came into existence only because of the high sugar prices created by the program. Now, however, the high-fructose corn syrup industry accounts for about half of all sugar consumed in the U.S., much of which is used by the soft drink industry. Increasingly, questions have been raised about the possible health effects of high-fructose corn syrup, including its relationship to obesity, diabetes and liver damage. If the program were eliminated, sugar prices would fall and the proportion of high-fructose corn syrup in our diets would decline significantly.”

Subsidizing sugar plantations in Florida makes no more sense than subsidizing pineapple plantations. Theoretically, pineapples could grow commercially in Florida; but Florida pineapples would cost more than those grown in other locations. Thus, the free market utilizes land that could be growing pineapples for more efficient uses. In the same way, if sugar subsidies were ended, land currently utilized for growing sugar cane would revert to high valued uses.

Allowing contaminated discharges into Lake Okeechobee is another form of subsidy. The cost of this subsidy is paid by homeowners whose property values are affected and by the tourism industry whose visitors stay away when impacted beaches are closed or contaminated.  

Walt Disney World resort is a mere hundred miles from Lake Okeechobee. They are known for keeping their property pristinely clean. Why? The ability of Disney to charge premium prices is directly impacted by the quality of the consumer experience. On the other hand, Lake Okeechobee is an unowned resource; and through political contributions, the sugar lobby known as Big Sugar has obtained considerable bipartisan political clout.

Bernie’s Sugar Daddy

For example, in 2014 American Crystal Sugar Company donated to 221 members of Congress, 109 Democrats and 92 Republicans. How about Bernie Sanders? After all he has railed against corporate corruption and many see him as a critic of corporate greed. Sanders supporters take note; he too takes Big Sugar’s money.

Sugar subsidies are an example of the well-known principle that government grows when a program has benefits that are concentrated and costs that are diluted. The sugar industry has a much stronger interest in promoting subsidies then we as individuals have in opposing them. Big Sugar’s millions of dollars of campaign contributions are a small price for them to pay to ensure that their interest comes before the interests of taxpayers, property owners, consumers, and the environment.

When we subsidize something we get more of it. Government subsidy of Big Sugar means we get more sugar, along with greater destruction of the environment.  Environmentalists who favor a larger role for government might want to take note.

Barry Brownstein


Barry Brownstein

Barry Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership. He blogs at BarryBrownstein.com, Giving up Control, and America’s Highest Purpose.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Artie Lurie out with endorsement of Five for Florida

Libertarian Party of Florida candidate for Florida House District 90, Artie Lurie, came out this morning, July 1, 2016, with an endorsement of Americans for Prosperity of artie-lurieFlorida’s “Five for Florida” plan. Lurie is in a head-to-head competition with Democratic Party incumbent, Lori Berman.

American for Prosperity Florida’s (AFP) “Five for Florida” is a five point plan:

  1. Make taxes fair and end political favoritism through crony capitalism and corporate welfare
  2. Don’t make financial promises taxpayers can’t keep
  3. Be stewards of good, transparent government
  4. Empower students with the best education
  5. Free entrepreneurs to pursue the American Dream

Lurie stated in his official endorsement this morning of AFP’s Five for Florida, “As the Libertarian candidate running for Florida State house of representatives in district 90, I am the only candidate that is running on a platform of liberty and small government, and it is with great enthusiasm that I endorse your Five for Florida plan! It is without question, the only way we can greatly reduce the size and scope of our state government. It is imperative that we point out how big our state government is and how much money it is wasting to our taxpayers every year. There is no doubt that our state government doesn’t work. It can’t educate our children properly, it can’t keep our streets safe, it can’t keep our environment clean, it can’t do anything well except recklessly spending our tax dollars. We must get our state government out of all of these areas immediately! Once we get government out of the way, we can repeal the state sales tax and cut property taxes in half, a savings of at least $5000 to the average family. The end result will place much more control over our own lives. Services like health care and education will improve dramatically, and will be much more affordable than it is now.”

Americans have long tired of the favoritism shown through crony capitalism and corporate welfare to billionaires by their elected officials. The Federalist used a Common Dreams article as the basis for calculating the real cost of corporate welfare to the average American citizen and it isn’t pretty. It is a practice that both Republicans and Democrats regularly participate in the supposed promotion of “economic development” which rarely offers a net positive return to taxpayers. Rather than allow the free market to thrive in Florida, bureaucrats from Tallahassee all the way down to the local level interfere by creating unfair competition among businesses, essentially picking winners and losers. Democrats and Republicans alike seem addicted to this unethical method of “economic development” even when shown how it actually costs taxpayers in the end.

 

Special Districts in Florida — The DeVoe L. Moore Center Blog

By: Matt Kelly and Tyler Worthington Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neil once said, “all politics is local,” meaning that politicians must appeal to local constituents to succeed. Yet political economy is arguably most opaque and complex at local levels. Local governments have grown as numerous as they are multifaceted. Over […]

via Special Districts in Florida — The DeVoe L. Moore Center Blog

Florida Senator Jeff Brandes offers bill to reform driver license suspension rules

s22_5095

Yesterday, January 6, 2016, Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) announced SPB 7046, related to penalties and fees, has been filed. The proposed legislation will dramatically reform the driver license suspension and revocation process in Florida, and follows a series of hearings by Senator Brandes in the Transportation Committee on the topic.

“Losing a driver license is a devastating penalty which most heavily impacts those with the least ability to afford it. For years the state has piled on driver license suspensions as an additional sanction for various non-driving related activity,” stated Senator Brandes. “This legislation will help thousands of Floridians who are caught in a relentless cycle of debt within the legal system. This bill will reduce a major burden on our courts from license suspensions, and it will give many Floridians a means to get back to work.”

The proposal follows media reports last year detailing the substantial number of driver license suspensions occurring annually in Florida. Following those reports, Senator Brandes and the Transportation Committee held several hearings and heard testimony by the State Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, elected Public Defenders, and various Clerks of Court. This proposal is a result of those hearings, and it is designed to radically reduce the number of suspended and revoked driver licenses. The bill establishes an alternative system for sanctions for the more than 1.2 million driver license suspensions annually.

SPB 7046 removes suspension and revocation penalties for certain non-driving-related offenses. Individuals who would have their licenses suspended today for many financial related issues will instead be issued a hardship license. The reform package also reforms a controversial surcharge in law for fines or fees which are sent to collections, and clearly establishes the right of a defendant in financial hardship to enter into community service as an alternative method of payment. Finally, the bill eliminates the felony criminal charge for a third or subsequent driving while license is suspended or revoked resulting from a defendant’s inability to pay a fine or fee.

Initiative underway to legalize marijuana in Florida, petition signatures have begun

Yesterday, August 26, 2015, Regulate Florida received the go-ahead to begin collecting signatures for a landmark petition to change in how Florida deals with marijuana (cannabis). The proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution will regulate the commerce of cannabis with age restrictions and guidelines for licensing as well as the rights for adults over 21 to possess and cultivate the plant at home.

If passed by over 60 percent of Floridians, the initiative will have the effect of dramatically reducing the taxpayer expense of housing Floridians in state prisons while generating a large amount of tax revenue for the state. According to the nation’s most authoritative survey, a majority of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana. The measure comes at a time when Americans and Floridians are more willing to acknowledge the reality that the War on Drugs has been an abject failure and marijuana is mostly seen as less harmful than other products legally or illegally. The Regulate Florida’s aim is to have a marijuana industry flourish in the state, generating revenue and reducing crime.

The initiative was crafted by 2014 Florida Attorney General candidate Bill Wohslifer, Esq. and Michael Minardi, Esq. Through their teamwork, as well as some dedicated volunteers, the Florida government has given its approval for them to begin collecting signatures in an effort to get the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

Wohslifer stated yesterday in an email, “Sensible Florida, Inc. was not the first team to ask me to draft a regulation ballot initiative for the 2016 general election. I declined earlier opportunities because of limitations on my volunteer time. But when Karen Goldstein introduced me to the team she was developing this initiative with, I could not say no. I worked with Karen in the past on the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act. I trust her judgment and insight.”

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Real ID and your drivers license in Florida

real-id-drivers-license

Today, August 17, 2015, I ended my 3 1/2 year “protest” of RealID compliance with state issued drivers licenses. I had let my drivers license expire over three years ago and purposefully did not renew it as I feel the state is complicit with the federal government in violating our U.S. Constitution. This morning I begrudgingly gave up my 4th and 5th Amendment rights in exchange for the government not locking me up in a cage for years so I could travel on the roadways in America. Doing so was not an endorsement, but an act of choosing one’s battles. Although there are many intricate arguments one can make regarding the differences between traveling and driving, I will leave that to others. I have always been somewhat willing to have a driver’s license; however, like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I have not complied with Real ID until today. I do feel the process of driver’s licensing and vehicle registration could be managed much more efficiently.

While many states continue the fight, Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature folded years ago, immediately in complying with the federal law. The compliance deadline continues to be extended which is now at the year 2020 as other state governments valiantly continue their non-compliance. Are you Real ID’d? Like the Jewish population in Nazi Germany, your license is Real ID compliant if it has a gold star in the upper right corner.

For those unaware, Real ID is a federal law that, under the guise of fighting terrorism and illegal immigration, came about in 2005 where biometric and other data would be collected and stored. The cameras now used in Florida drivers license bureaus are highly technical facial recognition cameras which are as accurate as a fingerprint.

Some states have instituted a fairer program that allows their citizens to have a Real ID compliant driver’s license or one that is not Real ID compliant. For example, Nevada does it right, allowing its citizens to choose whether to get Real ID compliant license or a standard license. Floridians should have that same option. Four states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York) as well as American Samoa are, so far, not complying with Real ID. Most, if not all Libertarians would agree that states should reject Real ID compliance.

If by 2020, one does not have Real ID compliant identification (passport or drivers license), then that individual will not be able to board an FAA controlled flight (commercial air travel) or enter a U.S. federal building. Though I think the federal government may make an exception if you are forced to testify via supoena or are forced to stand trial in a federal case.

On the positive side, they didn’t charge me a late fee and the lady that helped me was incredibly nice.

From the Libertarian Party of Florida: Incoming LPF Chair Wyllie outlines bold mission statement

adrianwyllie

I’d like to thank the LPF delegates for electing me chairman, and I congratulate all of the newly-elected EC members. We had the largest delegation in my memory at least, and perhaps the largest delegation in LPF history.

It was an extremely successful meeting, with a renewed spirit of unity and commitment. Petty differences between members were put aside, and we came together to do the business that needed to be done. Now, we must harness that spirit, so that it motivates us through the 2016 election cycle.

Though the convention adjourned only a few hours ago, our work is already underway. For the next two years, I resolve to keep the party laser focused on two components of our core mission:

1. To elect candidates to office in 2016 who will implement the LPF platform, and,

2. To recruit registered LPF voters in Florida, en route to our long-term goal of achieving major party status.

In recent years, the LPF has made the transition from political obscurity to emerging power in Florida. We’ve made a small dent in the two-party machine’s armor. It’s clearly evident each time I walk the halls of the state capitol. We’ve got their attention, and they’re more than a little concerned.

We should take pride in what we’ve accomplished. But, we must also recognize that we have much more work to do. Now is the time to step up our game.

With a renewed commitment to the cause, 2016 could be the election cycle where we change Florida politics forever. I’m ready and willing to do what it takes to take the LPF to the big leagues. I believe that you are, too.

In the coming days, I will be making appointments to various committee positions in the LPF. We have many slots that need to be filled by hardworking and dedicated members, who are willing to do the heavy lifting.

I’m asking you to volunteer for a committee position. I’m asking you to do a challenging and sometimes thankless job, simply because it needs to be done.

I will be demanding of your time, talents, and money. I will ask you to commit your blood, sweat and tears to the party. I will ask you to give more than you’ve given in the past.

There will be no “placeholder” positions in the LPF. Each committee will have clear objectives and deadlines that they will be expected to meet. If you fail to meet them, I will ask you to step aside to make room for members who will.

In return, I expect you to demand the same performance from me. I have made a commitment to you, and I expect you to hold me fully accountable. If I fail to advance our objectives to the best of my ability, then you must demand my resignation.

If we all make this commitment to one another, and we each accept the responsibility that comes with it, then we can shatter the Libertarian glass ceiling. Together, we are the hammer.

Are you up for the challenge?

Adrian Wyllie

Chairman

Libertarian Party of Florida

chair@lpf.org

Palm Beach County government proposes outrageously large budget that would be the biggest county government spending budget EVER

Graphic Credit: Palm Beach County Taxpayer Action Board
Graphic Credit: Palm Beach County Taxpayer Action Board

The Palm Beach County Commission will meet Tuesday, May 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. for their first budget workshop of the year. Local residents can watch the workshop via Channel 20. Under their proposal, the public may think county commissioners are returning to the heydays of the real estate bubble because they plan to spend $57.5 million more in the coming fiscal year. Will the public put a stop to it and demand the commission lower the millage rate to keep taxpayer spending in check? The county commission wants to spend an estimated $725 million of taxpayer money in the next fiscal year.

The $57.5 million increase is largely due to another increase to the bloated Palm Beach County Sheriff Department. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is requesting an increase of $24 million to his budget, so his slice of the $725 million total taxpayer payout would be an eye-popping $553.7 million.

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