Monday, September 21, 2009
Florida today, New York tomorrow?
There are many things public officials probably shouldn't do during a severe recession, but no one seems to have told the leaders in Florida about them. One thing, for instance, would be giving a dozen top aides hefty raises while urging a rise in property taxes, as the mayor of Miami-Dade County recently did. Or jacking up already exorbitant hurricane-insurance premiums, as Florida's government-run property insurer just did. Or sending an army of highly paid lobbyists to push for a steep hike in electricity rates, as South Florida's public utility is doing.
And you wonder why the Sunshine State is experiencing its first net emigration of people since World War II.
In a state that worshipped condo-flippers as great entrepreneurs, it was all a house of cards waiting to be blown down when the housing bubble burst. Now that it has happened, those Floridians who haven't left the state had hoped their officials might change the way they do things - or at least not attend a Kentucky Derby party hosted by the same FPL honchos lobbying them for a rate hike, as a Florida Public Service Commission director has admitted to doing a few months ago. But if Miami and Florida officials can't get their acts together, they can probably expect even lower head counts in the years to come.
God, this sounds eerily familiar...