Florida forgives, and you get the bill

The state of Florida recently “forgave” $142.2 million in taxes, fines and overpaid benefits for the third year in a row. The previous two years, the state wrote off $110.5 million and $109 million. I wasn’t ever really good at math, but I can add 142, plus 110, plus 109 and realize that’s more than $350 million the state failed to collect.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Saturday, December 28, 2012

The state of Florida recently “forgave” $142.2 million in taxes, fines and overpaid benefits for the third year in a row. The previous two years, the state wrote off $110.5 million and $109 million. I wasn’t ever really good at math, but I can add 142, plus 110, plus 109 and realize that’s more than $350 million the state failed to collect.

What I lack in math skills, I make up for in knowing how government works. It works like this: Every time the state fails to collect money it is owed, somebody else has to make up the difference.

That’s you and me, folks. It works out to be about 19 bucks a person for every resident of the state — that is, if the state could collect it.

To make matters worse, Continue reading “Florida forgives, and you get the bill”

A referendum that you won’t find on the ballot

Frishe, 63, is a veteran legislator who served six years in the state House in the 1980s, returning to the chamber again in 2006, where he has served since.

Not having his own family money to pump into his campaign, Frishe is being severely outspent by Brandes, who is saturating local TV with well-produced ads, and mailboxes full of slick mailers. Those ads use a tactic out of the tea party playbook — paint your opponent as a career politician and portray yourself as a knight in shining armor who is an agent of change.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Saturday, August 11, 2012

Among local contested Republican primaries, one stands out as having a significant impact on the Tampa area. State Senate District 22 pits Jeff Brandes against Jim Frishe; both candidates are sitting members of the state House.

Both legislators are in the real estate business, and both are conservatives, but their similarities stop there.

At just 36, Brandes is a relative newcomer to politics. He’s been in the Legislature just one term and is likely still trying to figure out the maze of hallways in the capitol building. He was an Army Reserve officer who saw duty in Iraq. Family wealth has allowed him to pump over a half-million dollars into his campaign coffers.

Frishe, 63, is a veteran legislator who served six years in the state House in the 1980s, returning to the chamber again in 2006, where he has served since.

Not having his own family money to pump into his campaign, Frishe is being severely outspent by Brandes, who is Continue reading “A referendum that you won’t find on the ballot”