Scott’s move would make Chavez and Castro proud

Gov. Rick Scott’s tactics to kill the high-speed rail project are wrong.

Make no mistake, I don’t support a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. I have many concerns, the first of which is the federal government doesn’t have the money it is planning to “give” the state of Florida. Today, just about everything the federal government does burdens future generations with more debt; our children deserve better.

As published in today’s Tampa Tribune

BY CHRIS INGRAM

Special Correspondent

Published: March 1, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott’s tactics to kill the high-speed rail project are wrong.

Make no mistake, I don’t support a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. I have many concerns, the first of which is the federal government doesn’t have the money it is planning to “give” the state of Florida. Today, just about everything the federal government does burdens future generations with more debt; our children deserve better.

But the solution to our national debt crisis (currently in excess of $14 trillion) is not to reject or curtail spending on infrastructure. Rather, it is to throw out 95 percent of Congress as well as the president and to begin meaningful cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

I have argued we need to start making cuts somewhere, but as rail supporters accurately point out, Florida (or any other state for that matter) will not put a dent in the looming train wreck that is the national debt by refusing federal transportation dollars — because some other state will always be happy to take the funds.

To read the rest of the column, click here to be directed to the Tampa Tribune.

15 thoughts on “Scott’s move would make Chavez and Castro proud”

  1. But Chris,when you sent the Gov. a note telling him to stand firm on his decision, didn’t you have all this information that you speak of in the article?

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  2. This post by Chris should let everyone know the Country will never recover from our economic morass.Socialist-Progressives never worry about the rules,Constitution be damned,The End Justifies the Means.
    So where’s the disagreement with Chris? Dimicrats and Rino’s are free to take Scott to court.The Legislature can over rule him with a veto proof majority,or our leftist FL.Supreme Court can declare Scott out of bounds.
    A previous governor(Good time Charlie)Crist and previous legislature cannot be undone?
    We finally get a “Chris Christie” for Florida and the gnashing of teeth and wailing from the crack addicted government money class shows up the real problem.

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  3. Ron,

    In my rush to celebrate, I failed to adequately consider all the underlying issues (the constitutional / legal question).

    My bad. Only human.

    Thought about it, and realized I was wrong.

    Chris Ingram

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  4. Chris,

    I read your post on the rail and I must respectfully disagree with you.

    Wasteful spending on the high speed rail is not “infrastructure”.

    All I could hear as I tried to grasp your flawed logic was Charlie Sheen saying ” hey, if I don’t snort this coke someone else will”!

    It’s hard to say no to the political crack cocaine of grants and entitlements, and the purveyors of it know that full well. If more of us had done the right thing years ago then perhaps we wouldn’t be $14,000,000,000,000.00 in the hole as we speak!

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  5. GenEarly,

    Your comment is a little confusing in as much as it seems to be somewhat self-contradictory. But it appears you don’t support the train. Rest-assured, neither do I, but I am more concerned about trampling on the constitution. While putting our children further into debt is a huge concern of mine, I don’t believe the high-speed rail train rises to the level of let’s pick up our pitchforks and start a revolution and trample the constitution. Rail and other spending on infrastructure, pork projects, etc, are not what is driving us into bankruptcy — big government social problems like Medicare, Soc. Sec. and Obama-care are the real culprits.

    The rail debate is a red herring set up to avoid the real problems which no one in Washington wants to discuss because there are no winners in solving the entitlement spending problems (other than our kids and the next generations– none of whom can vote).

    Chris Ingram

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  6. Chris,

    I agree with your headline and some of our points in the body, but I do take issue with calling Medicare and Social Security “Entitlements”.

    Last time I looked, I’m paying for Medicare and Social Security out of my own pocket with every paycheck. How is it an “Entitlement” to get something that I’ve already paid for?

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  7. Mark,

    They are entitlements in as much as people feel they are in fact entitled to them.

    However, to your point, while they are commonly referred to as entitlements, technically they actually are not.

    The US Supreme Court has ruled that while congress makes you think Soc. Sec. and Medicare are something you are due and that you are guaranteed based on your contributions, they are actually structured in a way that current contributors are only supporting current recipients and there is in fact no legal obligation for the government to pay you as a future beneficiary a single dime.

    The whole system is a giant ponzi scheme that if you or I tried to run ourselves would cause us to end up in jail.

    Chris Ingram

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  8. What’s the matter Chris, buyers remorse?
    You were the one backing Scott in the primary. You were so against Bill McCollum, that you bought yourself this “devil”!
    Make no mistake, I am glad that Scott did this, but you can’t have it both ways. I pointed out to you a couple of times how uncomfortable I was with Scott’s history, but you were so blinded by your opposition to McCollum, that you refused to listen.
    Now, all that said, how many times did I point out the candidacy of Peter Allen, which you never even bothered to acknowlege?
    I admit that until someone is in office, we will never know just how they will handle the situations presented them, but there was enough info out there about Rick Scott that you should have re-thought your support of him. Now, you have to live with it.

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  9. OK Joe, you got me. But I’m not trying to have it both ways. It’s called thinking and changing your mind based on the evidence. And who said you have to stick with someone on every issue? If I think someone is wrong on something, I’m going to point it out.

    Chris Ingram

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  10. Chris,
    You have an intellectual group of readers who may not always agree, but point out things that make your Blog an interesting read; well worth the time. I have to say that “GenEarly” is generally “Right on Target” when it comes to being a “Principled Constitutional Conservative” thanks Gen!
    Kindest regards,
    Brian

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  11. Chris, I think you’re making a mistake here. Florida voters passed the High Speed Rail amendment to the constitution with 52% in favor. Then, in 2004, the amendment was repealed with 64% in favor of repeal; a resounding reversal. Recall that once voters realized the price, they (we) overwhelmingly rejected it.
    If you read the original language of the 2000 amendment, you could even make a good arguement that the Gov. could still reject these dollars under the current federal giveaway, even if it wasn’t repealed.
    So please explain where Scott is going against the constitution.
    While it’s true that another bankrupt state like CA or NY will take the money (and squander it), I still appreciate the principle and precedent Rick Scott is making here. Perhaps the amount doesn’t make a big dent in the deficit, but this is a perfect example of where we should start.

    Chris, you were right the first time around on Cifti, and I think your first reaction was the correct on on this one too.

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  12. Noah,

    Apples and oranges here. The repeal of the amendment on rail didn’t prohibit a future undertaking of the state to implement rail. It merely killed the initial amendment which was a boondoggle (just like the current one).

    Make no mistake, I oppose HSR, I just don’t think trampling on the constitution of the state is the way to kill it. If Scott wants to kill rail, he needs to initiate a legislative effort to do so. His current course of actions I believe violate the laws of this state and the constitution.

    If we allow this to continue when it’s something we don’t want (like rail), what’s next? We’ve allowed the precedent for him to be a king, not a governor. So when he decides he wants to close all the public schools, or ban fishing, or make the sandspur the state flower, we’ve got no recourse to stop him because the precedent is set.

    Chris Ingram

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  13. Let me take a swing at why Scott’s still right. The case boils down to whether he has the right to refuse the Gov’t money. If he doesn’t hold the authority, then why doesn’t the Fed just bypass him and give it to the Committee. Ah, because the if they do that, Scott has jurisdiction over the Committee and can replace it’s members at will – project dead.
    Regarding your FL constitutional argument: The Legislature passed a bill in 2009 to form a committee to pursue a grant. The committee’s powers don’t transcend the Gov’s power. The committee was established to explore a hypothetical. The only “appropriation” was the formation of the Committee to apply for a grant. There is an important but subtle difference here. If a former Gov. appoints a judge, or signs a bill which appropriates money to build a school, the new Gov. would be bound to it. But just because a former Governor’s exploratory committee wins a grant, it’s still not the same as the legislature approving a mega project like this (which Scott has the right to veto). Now that the actual project stands before us, and the Gov looks at today’s cost, rider projections, and risk to the State Treasury, he rightly decides to pass.

    PS, despite my superior argument ;), I’d bet the FL Supreme’s override him tomorrow. You can argue that the Committee was formed to win and them administer the money to build a rail. But that ain’t the way things are supposed to be done. Doing it that way starts a terrible precedent.

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  14. Noah,

    I disagree. I think the intent of the legislature was clear and the legislation (summary below) states it and establishes and authorizes its intent.

    Summary of the bill passed in Special Session Dec. 2009 on HSR and SunRail

    Transportation: Creates Florida Statewide Passenger Rail Commission to monitor passenger rail systems, advise DOT concerning passenger rail service, evaluate passenger rail policies, & provide advice & recommendations to Legislature; provides powers & duties of Florida Rail Enterprise to plan, construct, maintain, repair, operate, & promote high-speed rail system, to acquire corridors, to coordinate development & operation of publicly funded passenger rail systems, & to cooperate, coordinate, partner, & contract with other entities; revises allocation of moneys in State Transportation Trust Fund; provides funding source for allocations to South Florida Regional Transportation Authority & revises provisions relating to that authority; directs DOT to provide assistance to coalition of entities in Central Florida for development of regional rail system plan; provides for DOT to indemnify freight rail operator against loss; authorizes DOT to purchase liability insurance including coverage for any freight rail operator, commuter rail service providers, governmental entities, or ancillary development & establish self-insurance retention fund; requires insureds to make payments for coverage; authorizes DOT to incur certain marketing expenses, complete escrowed closing on Central Florida Rail Corridor acquisition, & fund certain costs of passenger rail capital improvement projects, passenger rail planning & development, high-speed rail system, & other projects; removes provisions relating to Florida High-Speed Rail Authority.

    Chris Ingram

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