September 28, 2005

Public Employee Unions: Political ‘Kryptonite’

By Robert F. Sanchez

The same year Neil Armstrong took off from Cape Canaveral and became the first man to walk on the moon, few paid much attention to another Florida event that gradually would have an astronomical impact.

The Florida Supreme Court – in a stunning display of judicial activism – reversed long-standing precedents and rendered a dubious decision forcing this state’s elected officials to bargain with public employee unions.

The potential long-term consequences were little noted at the time. It was as though a meteor had landed unobserved in a remote part of the Everglades --a meteor laced with a political version of “kryptonite,” the substance that saps Superman’s strength.

Continue reading "Public Employee Unions: Political ‘Kryptonite’" »

September 26, 2005

It’s Time to Fight ‘Judicial Imperialism’

It’s Time to Fight ‘Judicial Imperialism’

By Carlos Muñiz

Why is the public so intensely focused on the role of judges in our system of government?  The best explanation that I’ve seen came from Justice Antonin Scalia:  “The American people love democracy, and the American people are not fools.”

His point is that the American people are onto the courts.  They know that under the guise of constitutional “interpretation,” judges are imposing their own policy preferences.   Issues that should be debated and decided through the democratic process are being taken off the table.  However, because Americans are unwilling to surrender their right to self-government, they have begun to subject the courts to the same scrutiny that they apply to other lawmaking bodies.

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September 21, 2005

FL: Could ‘blight’ happen to you?

By Matt Warner
matt@jamesmadison.org

Could the government declare your property “blighted” and seize your Florida real estate to give to someone else? Don’t think so? Think again. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London ought to be a wake-up call for property owners.

Even so, many Floridians remain unsure of whether their property is really at risk. That’s understandable, given that some public officials have assured Floridians that they needn’t worry about what happened in Connecticut, where New London’s redevelopment agency seized private homes to give to private developers.

However, the ruling’s critics have correctly warned that Florida’s redevelopment laws, which some wrongly view as a protection against Kelo-style abuse, are dangerously vague in their definition of blight and, thus, do not provide adequate protection from local officials and their redevelopment schemes.

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September 20, 2005

FL: Florida Taxpayers and the Plucked Goose

By J. Robert McClure III

The finance minister for France’s King Louis XIV had it right: “The art of taxation,” said Jean-Baptiste Colbert, “consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

Until now, the rise in property taxes fueled by Florida’s real estate boom has produced little or no hissing by taxpayers. That may soon change as rising property values outpace the increase in personal income. Most local governments from the Keys to the Panhandle have seen their property tax rolls grow much faster. In some locales, recent annual gains have exceeded 20 percent, and most counties across Florida have seen double-digit gains.

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July 20, 2005

Property Rights Are Basic to Liberty - And They’re Under Attack

Property Rights Are Basic to Liberty

-- And They’re Under Attack

By J. Robert McClure

For most Americans, their home is their biggest investment. Not only is it a place for them to live, but the equity that accumulates in their home is also their largest nest egg, far exceeding most other forms of savings for the average family.

Lately, with low interest rates fueling a home-buying boom, residential property has been appreciating at a near-record pace. Some analysts are warning of a real estate “bubble” akin to the stock market bubble of the late 1990s. Others expect the gains in property values to continue indefinitely.

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June 17, 2005

What Harvard Study?

I received a comment regarding Clark Neily's education piece and I recognize that not everyone visiting reads comments to every post. He asked for a link to a study referenced in the piece and in writing the reply I thought it better to simply post my findings for everyone.

And I want to clarify that in the future, as a rule, I will not be editing or adding links to editorials I recieve from the James Madison Institute or other organizational contributors. I will, whenever appropriate, take responsibility for pieces posted on this site that are not of my own hand and search for links to questions such as this. If I can not find supporting evidence myself, then I will pull a piece from the post until support can be provided by the author.

These are my findings - A quick Google Search turned up the following...

From the Heartland Institute, from the Brookings Institute, from the Lexington Institute (this is from April 2005 and specifically about Florida).

C'mon people. One of these links is to the Brookings Institute! For those who don't know, the BI is one of the more liberal think tanks out there. Just read the material.

If you follow and read the links I think you will see Harvard researchers have been following vouchers for several years now and the conclusions for almost every study I have seen (serious studies that is, teachers union audit reports showing a loss in revenue do not count) is vouchers have a positive impact on students, schools and states educational goals. Here's a link to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Program on Education Policy and Governance where you can find more research, opinions and publications dealing with Education policy. I haven't read everything there so if you henpeck a study that shows something contrary to what I just said then congratulations, you found one.

It doesn't lessen the importance of every other study finding exactly the opposite.

Now back to my regularly schedule posting.

Mr. C

June 16, 2005

Showdown on School Vouchers

This article, originally published May 31, 2005, is relevant until the Florida Supreme Court releases it's opinion. In the future we will publish closer, or before, publication dates.

Be sure to check our other school choice article from the James Madison Institute, School Choice: The Civil Rights Issue of the 21st Century.

Mr. C

School Choice: The Civil Rights Issue of the 21st Century

Clark Neily

On June 7, the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could decide whether Florida continues to lead the nation in true education reform or joins the ranks of states where “reform” means business as usual.

Continue reading "School Choice: The Civil Rights Issue of the 21st Century" »

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