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The Lemieux Report

4/21/08

www.thelemieuxreport.com

overview…read complete text…at above link…for emails weekly…

Topic 1,….Health care legislation moves forward

Last week both chambers of the Florida Legislature approved separate proposals to expand affordable health care through ‘Cover Florida Access Program’ …a program championed by Gov. Crist…

Wed. the Fl. Senate passed legislation which creates state program for companies tp compete to provide health ins. to Fl. uninsured population…roughly 20% of state’s 18 million citizens … policies under the initiative would run $150 a month…with focus on primary/ preventative care…

The Florida House passed its proposal along party lines…their version could offer policies that require less coverage from those competing through the “Cover Florida” plan …Gov. opposes this version….

WalMart passed a milestone for its $4 dollar prescription program….launcehd in 2006….resulted in a $1 billion savings for country…$40 million for Fl.

Bottom Line…

“Cover Florida” program drives insurance cost down for Floridians by reducing regulations on the private sector….makes health insurance more affordable…Success of Walmart prescription shows a ripeness of the market for these programs…expanded to Publix….

Topic 2….Session Standoff…..(UNBELIEVABLE)…

Progress in the 2008 Legislative session came to a screeching halt on Fri.

Democratic lawmakers invoked procedural maneuver requiring bills slated to come before the house chamber to be read in full…in total 398 pages were read…14 hours …into Sat. morning!

Implication of the standoff?

so far both chambers have passed separate legislastion for 2008- 09 budget…

this week  delegates from each chamber will meet to create a new draft …sending identical bills to their respective members for a full vote…

passing a budget is the only constitutional obligation of the Florida Legislature…

Bottom Line…

Time wasted …reading lengthly review….could be better spent…

Topic 3….TABOR- 1 step forward/ 2 steps back…

proposed const. amend.”the Taxpayers Bill of Rights” needs approval by either Fl. Leg. or Taxation and Budget Comm. (TBRC) …17 0f the 25 members to gainaccess to the 2008 general election ballot…

TBRC voted last week 15- 9 against their debated version…at  1 point called for a voter referendum for new taxes ..new rev. tax caps on local/ state govs….finally the defeated version req. 2/3 vote by elected officials for tax increase …

Fl. House, the Policy and Budget Council passed its version of amendment…a limiton growth in gov. revenue at both local/state level to a formula that calculates inflation/ population growth plus 1%..

House proponents say it could save taxpayers $6 billion per year.

Senate has yet to take up the measure…TABOR outlook no hopeful…

Bottom Line…

watch to see if TBRC reverses previous approved tax swap that would eliminate school taxes from property tax bills….but will require !cent sales tax increase…a repeal of sales tax exemptions and the liklihood of billions more in budget cuts…

Topic 4…Foreclosure Data- depends on who you ask…

doubt cast on the manner in which data the media reported reflects trends in the market as well as the process by which companies analyze the foreclosure data…

there needs to be a multi step process …www.foreclosures.com a widely watched tracking agency…

Bottom Line…

disparities in data makes it difficult to determine whether Florida is bouncing off the real estate downturn or continuing to decline…

Topic 5…If you can’t beat them, join them….

Fl. Dept. of Transportation …DOT…to lease Alligator Alley…

a proposal to use Lawton Chiles Endowment ..a 2.3 billion dollar fund generated from the tobacco settlement to lease the road to Florida itself… taking $500 million ..invest it in the infrastructure…and be assured of a return on investment going back into that fund…

Bottom Line…

Federal transportation funding declining over time…innovative strategies required…idea to lease Al. Alley to Chiles Endow. requires further comprhensive analysis…

investing Fl. money in Fl. infrastructure should strongly be considered…

Things to watch…

Workforce transition/ Law firm Assoc. programs/ Looking for love/ CSX follow up…session will hear proposal to divert freight train traffic from Orlando metro area towards Polk County in favor of commuter rail/ Take your gun to work …now law…Chamber of Commerce and Fl. Retail Federation preparing to fight in court…

please go to site and sign on….

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