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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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