State's serious belt-tightening doesn't apply to all the folks

Tuesday, July 31, 2001 Jacksonville.com

Spinning around the news dial ... click.

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I see that while I was away and not paying attention to newspapers that Gov. Jeb Bush and legislators began sounding the alarm that tough economic times are ahead for the state and that some serious belt-tightening will be needed.

That same alarm was being sounded last spring when the Legislature met, but Bush and his Republican cronies weren't listening then.

Instead, they pushed through another huge tax cut with the bulk of it -- $150 million -- going to the state's wealthier citizens through a reduction in the intangibles tax paid on investments.

If revenues continue to come in lower than expected because of the slowing economy, funding for important programs will have to be cut.

You can bet, however, that the wealthy won't be the ones hurt.

Click.

Speaking of wealthy, I hope everyone is paying attention to the saga of Jim Horne.

An accountant from Orange Park, Horne takes a part-time job as a state senator. As a state senator, he plays a major role in completely revamping the state's education system.

He carries the water for Bush. They become good buddies. Horne can't run for re-election because of term limits.

Bush gives him a new job -- head of the new Florida Board of Education, which Horne helped create.

The board meets last week and gives Horne an annual salary of $225,000 with potential bonuses of another $175,000.

Let's see: An accountant and part-time legislator with no real experience in education gets a job that could pay up to $400,000 a year.

Not bad.

And if he invests in stocks, he won't have to worry about that pesky intangibles tax taking such a big bite.

Click.

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Reading through the week's worth of newspapers I missed while gone, I found out that scientists now believe grilled foods can cause cancer.

Sheesh. The next thing you know you won't be able to breathe.

Oh, yeah. That's already been declared dangerous.

Click.

And, speaking further of biting, the fish weren't, although I managed to catch a few. We ate them grilled.

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Full text of This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/073101/opl_6819771.html.