Monday, October 16, 2006

Florida Again in WSJ Editorial Piece---This Time on The Good Guys Side

The Wall Street Journal paints a cautionary tale of a GOP gone haywire---in traditionally bedrock Republican Ohio.

And of a GOP takeover of a traditionally Democrat state---Florida---being conquered by Republican values held to strict standards of morality and clean government.
But now look to Florida. Jeb Bush came to office in 1999 touting a sweeping reform agenda of the sort that gives Ms. Pelosi the "extremist" fits. More to the point, the governor, with the support of a Republican legislature, has instituted most of it.

Florida Republicans have passed tax cuts every year of the eight Mr. Bush has held office--a whopping $19 billion, including the elimination of the infamous "intangibles" tax, levied on investments. While Florida's budget has grown at a rapid clip, Mr. Bush vetoed more than $2.1 billion in wasteful spending, earning him the nickname "Veto Corleone" among frustrated state lobbyists. He's trimmed 11,000 state jobs.

Tort reform? Did it. Overhauling the child welfare system? Done. Florida has led the way in greater education accountability and school voucher programs; test scores, especially among minorities, are on the rise. The state won federal permission for the most dramatic Medicaid reforms in the country, the first to inject private competition into the system.

Florida today has the highest rate of job creation in the country, and an unemployment rate of 3.3%. It's bond rating hit triple A. Revenue is pumping into the state coffers, giving Florida $6.4 billion in reserves. Gov. Bush's approval rating stands at 55%. Even the House Democratic leader, Dan Gelber, admitted his chief nemesis was a "rock star."

Mr. Crist, the state attorney general, promises more of the same, and voters have no reason to doubt him. He's already demonstrated reform bona fides as the state education commissioner who helped push through the governor's school reforms. He's promised further tax cuts, and is zeroing in on voter anger over double-digit property tax hikes. Mr. Crist has been blowing past Mr. Davis in fundraising and in opinion polls.

Crist came to my daughter's school when he was attorney general several years ago. He's hated by left-wing teachers' unions for putting educational values ahead of administrative bloat and imposing FCAT on their lax teaching standards so they can be held accountable to slacking off and pushing bogus agendas.

Jeb Bush has done such a good job in Florida that if the GOP loses in 2008 to Hillary, he may be a candidate in 2012. He believes in that old-time GOP fiscal accountability that the Ohio GOP, if you link and read the entire story, gave up on a long time ago. And just now is paying the piper for stalling the state economy with excessive taxes and entitlement programs.

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