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Does Fiscal Cliff Pose Economic Danger for Florida?

A University of Florida economist warns of massive job loss if a deal is not struck in Washington, D.C.

FISCAL CLIFF POSES DANGERS FOR FLORIDA by William Gibson of the Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel reported on the economic risks in the Sunshine State, if the budget is not cobbled out in Congress...

"Without a deal, the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts would reduce Florida's economic output by $16 billion by the fourth quarter of 2013 and lead to a loss of 130,000 to 140,000 jobs, according to a University of Florida economist.

"That's enough to set off a mild recession and an uptick in the state's unemployment rate, said UF's David Denslow, who made the projections after reviewing a Congressional Budget Office assessment of the nationwide impact and applying it to Florida.

"On the other hand, he said, averting the cliff could have a rallying effect.

'The signal will be an increase in the stock market, giving people a little bit of a wealth effect,' Denslow said. 'In Florida, the big problem is going to remain the housing market, which is stabilizing and improving to be sure, but as a [big] foreclosure state we've got a long pipeline to be worked out.' "

GOVERNOR, PANEL CALL FOR INSURANCE REFORMS, News Service of Florida

"Several Florida lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott said Friday they will push to 'educate' Floridians on the hidden costs associated with property insurance and a 'house of cards' that will blow down, if a major storm hits.

"Speaking at the Florida Chamber of Commerce insurance summit at Disney, Scott said a concerted effort needs to be made to inform insurance policyholders that state efforts to shore up the market in some of the most hurricane prone regions of the state, will likely trigger across-the-board assessments when the state-backed insurer can't pay claims.

"Scott's comments came shortly after a Chamber political consultant released survey results showing 80 percent of policyholders are not aware that they will be charged assessments if Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund are unable to pay claims in the event of a serious storm.

"Scott said Citizens, the state-backed insurer, needs to continue efforts to get the word out about the potential for what he called a 'hurricane tax.' Citizens has gone from the insurer of last resort to the state's largest property insurer, with nearly 1.5 million policyholders.

" 'To make the dream of home ownership available we must reduce the size of Citizens,' Scott said. 'It cannot be the insurer of first resort.' "

LAWMAKER CALLS FOR TOP-TO-BOTTOM PROBE OF CITIZENS INSURANCE by Tolu Olorunnipa of the Miami Herald

According to the Miami Herald: "Rep. Frank Artiles wrote a letter to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty on Friday, calling for a 'Market Conduct Examination' on Citizens.

"Such an examination would look at nearly every aspect of the company’s operations, including its personnel management, financial books, customer service and claims processing.

" 'It is imperative that all Floridians and Citizens’ policyholders are protected, The Governor and Cabinet and entire Florida Legislature are responsible for what is happening at Citizens,' said Artiles. 'Clearly, the Board of Citizens seems to be asleep at the switch, disinterested or indifferent to the daily operations of the organization. They have shirked their fiduciary responsibilities.' "

PRELUDE TO 2014 by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

"Two years before he’s even on the ballot, Rick Scott is already the $5 million candidate.

"Expect that number — the amount he raised through his personal political committee since winning office — to more than quadruple in the coming months. In addition, he has the Republican Party’s coffers and his personal millions at the ready.

"Scott will need every penny.

"The unpopular governor faces two formidable challenges: His own record and the chance that his predecessor, Charlie Crist, might run against him.

"At this early stage, it appears that the potential Scott-Crist election matchup is all about elections — specifically an elections law Scott signed."

BOB GRAHAM FINE WITH CRIST AS DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR

"Charlie and I, even when we were running against each other in '98, have had a close and cordial personal relationship," said Graham on Political Connections on Bay News 9, who has no problem with the concept of Crist seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

"I don't think it's a bad idea," Graham said. "We spent a couple of decades with Democrats registering as Republicans. It would be kind of nice to have a period where Republicans were coming home to the Democratic Party."

ALAN HAYS TO BRING BACK DOCTORS DRUG-DISPENSING BILL by Jim Turner of Sunshine State News

Should the Legislature impose limits on how much doctors can charge for medicine they dispense from their offices? Reporter Jim Turner examines the issue, which is expected to come before the Florida Legislature.

"A bill to lower workers’ compensation costs for businesses, by limiting how much doctors can charge for medicine they dispense out of their offices, will return in 2013.

"Hays, the author of the bill, said he will refile the bill that failed to reach the Senate floor last session. Dispensing physicians have confirmed that they will challenge the bill again on behalf of their patients.

"Hays noted that for one muscle relaxant, medical offices pay $8.33 to file a prescription but are able to seek more than $430 in reimbursement through the state workers’ compensation system.

"The bill was strongly opposed by Automated HealthCare Solutions, a Miramar-based company that offers software to self-dispensing physicians."

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Melissa Akenson, William Rubin, Heather Turnbull, The Rubin Group: GTECH Corporation, Providence, RI

Keith Arnold, Fowler White: Florida PACE Association

Hubert Bohannon, Colleen Castille, Marty Fiorentino, Joseph Moblev, The Fiorentino Group: CTS America

Paul Bradshaw, Southern Strategies Group; TCC Foundation

Chris Coker, Coker Consulting: Sunrise Community Promotions

Jeff Hartley, Smith Bryan & Myers: Summit Care

Lynda December 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Gov. Scott and the GOP legislature's failure to "fix" property insurance in Florida by attracting national P& C companies to write insurance in Florida should be punished by rejecting them all at the next election. Why national companies will continue to write P& C insurance in other states with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and blizzards and not write in Florida is the fault of the "businessman" legislature and governor. Let them solve the problem of Citizens by attracting sound, national companies with adequate reinsurance rather than these poorly funded, run -from -the -kitchen -table -by -legislators'- cronies' companies. I have been "taken out" of Citizens when I was too stupid to opt out of a take over by one of these scam companies. Their customer service in the "Sunshine State"was horrible and they did not pay claims. Fortunately they failed and let us go backt o Citizens. Since the legislature has required all condo owners even those without mortgages to have P&C insurance, i am trapped into Citizens just as our "businessman" gov. is determined to make Citizen's fail so we will give money to his cronies running scam companies. Put the blame where it belongs: on the GOP legislature and Gov. Scott.
Linda Varonich December 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
EXTEND MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS NOW! Why does my Member of Congress, Bill Young, 10th CD, continue to vote to support his long term wealthy constituent’s portfolios and not ALL PEOPLE? Yet he refuses to meet and discuss his position. People of the State: I stand before you as a transplant from the Great Lakes region and state resident since May 2010. Both my husband and I lost our jobs, we lost our home of 18 years to foreclosure in a city that even lost its ability to manage its own finances. So we moved in with a family member who cannot afford to pay for Florida homeowners’ insurance. I used to worry about that. But we have made it work on very limited income, pooling resources, social security benefits and good fortune. I represent the New American Family. It isn’t Ozzie & Harriet in the least. Can we take one more hit if the Republicans refuse to pass higher tax rates for the entitled few? Support the President on his stand against meddling with Social Security, it has no bearing on reducing the federal deficit. Getting out of two (2) wars on our credit card will achieve that much better. Enact a law that taxes incomes over $250,000 starting in 2013. Sincerely, “former 25% tax paying bracket” citizen Linda S. Varonich 1482 Premier Village Way Clearwater, Florida 33764 727-535-2725

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