Thursday, June 21, 2007

Progressive States Network Reviews Florida's Recent Accomplishments, Missed Opportunities

The Progressive States Network, a nonpartisan thinktank that reviews state policies affecting middle-class families and working people, provided a brief summary of Florida's accomplishments, as well as some missed opportunities.

In response to crushing increases in homeowners' insurance, the legislature froze rates for customers of the Citizens Property Insurance system until 2009 and generally, in the words of Gov. Crist, put a "nail in the coffin of an industry that is hurting people."

On the environmental side, the legislature passed new incentives for alternative energy use and production and took steps to develop express buses and a rail system.

Florida legislators' accomplishments also included:

- Getting rid of failed, inadequate and almost certainly inaccurate (see the election in the 13th Congressional District last year) touch-screen voting machines.

- Mandated that gift cards not expire.

- Required all elementary students to take physical education, as part of an effort to fight the rising problem of childhood obesity, which has caused an increase in juvenile diabetes.

- Refused to revive a public school voucher system.

On the down side, the state failed to enact reforms to the state's KidCare children's health insurance plan, a plan that has been tossing as many as 15,000 children a month out of the program due to badly-designed rules instituted during Jeb Bush's administration.

Overall, Florida was classifed as an "Incremental Gainer."


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