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Congressman Meek on AIG bonuses: "It sickens me" listen

03/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are blasting bailed out insurance giant AIG over the $165 million in bonuses for executives announced this weekend. Those are the same executives whose record losses forced the company to request government assistance in the first place.

Miami area Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek says Congress needs to act soon to address the taxpayer funds going to AIG – which now amounts to $170 billion.

Meek is running for the Democratic nominatio...

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State educators lament fiscal situation in Tallahassee listen

03/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Florida State Board of Education held a workshop where members heard from a variety of state educators today.

The administrators all acknowledged the tremendous challenges they are facing with reduced funding, but most said they were thinking positively.

Sanford Shugart, president of Valencia Community College, told Board member Roberto Martinez that the resource allocation model in the state has been broken for a long time.

Michael Greco is the superintendant with the Osceola D...

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Bill would eliminate impact fees in Florida until 2012 listen

03/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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A bay area senator angered environmentalists before the legislative session began when he filed a bill that would block the collection of developer impact fees for three years.

Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, says the way impact fees are imposed is totally unfair and inappropriate.

Hillsborough County Environmental activist Denise Layne says Bennett’s bill and other proposals aim to deregulate the building process this year.

The foreclosure crises has hit Florida hard, with some economi...

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Senator: Unemployed should take drug tests for benefits listen

03/12/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Unemployment is now at a 16-year high in Florida, as the Sunshine State has lost more than 355,000 jobs over the past year.

For many who have lost a job, it’s a blow to the ego to have to ask for government assistance. But if one bay area legislator has his way, they may have to submit more than their personal information and their pride to collect unemployment.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill that would require random testing for one of every 10 people who app...

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Michael Lind on Obama listen

03/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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As the stock market continues its downward spiral, some conservative critics are blaming President Obama, not yet in office 6 weeks yet.

In an opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal called “Obama’s radicalism is Killing the Dow,” Stanford University Economics Professor Michael J. Boskin writes that the Wall Street sell-off is a product in part of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy, not just...

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Florida unemployment rate continue to rise listen

03/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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The number of unemployed people rose in the Tampa bay area to nearly 10 percent in January. Officially, the number was 9.7 percent, while in Florida, unemployment is now at 8.6 percent. That’s 3½ percent higher than a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is now at 8.1 percent.

Rebecca Rust is an economist with the state agency for Workforce Innovation. She says Florida has nearly 356,000 jobs, a negative job growth rate at 4 ½ percent, larger than the national 2 ½ perc...

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Hillsborough Commissioner: Let's talk about the budget now listen

03/04/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tuesday night, the Pinellas County Commission held a public hearing where local citizens could weigh in on how the county should deal with spending cuts that will have to be made as they prepare next fiscal year’s budget.

In Hillsborough, County Commissioner Al Higgenbotham says its incumbent for the government to be vigilant and do whatever it can to help the local citizenry in these challenging economic times.

So Higgenbotham today was able to cajole other board members to get a bud...

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Political analyst dissects Legislature's challenges this year listen

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he wants to use as much as $8 billion in federal stimulus money to plug holes in the state budget over the next couple of years. But some Republicans don’t think that’s the way to go.

Wayne Garcia is the political editor of Creative Loafing, the Tampa Bay area’s alternative newspaper. He spoke about this issue and others on the eve of the legislative session.

That’s Wayne Garcia with Creative Loafing. On his political blog, called Political Wh...

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Pinellas seeks input on how to trim local government

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners plans to cut at least 20 percent from its overall general fund for the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

Because of that, the Board is hosting public hearings unusually early in the budgeting process this year, beginning tomorrow night in Palm Harbor.

Mary Burrell is a spokeswoman for Pinellas County. She says these early meetings are a little unusually early this year, but that’s because the cuts will be substantial.

The County C...

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Jeffrey Sachs on climate change and overpopulation listen

02/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrapped up her first diplomatic mission to Asia earlier this week with climate change experts praising her for putting global warming at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

Clinton said the Obama administration wants to see economic growth continue in China. But she also noted that the two nations produce 40 percent of the world's heat-trapping gas emissions.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs writes extensively about the dangers of climate change. His lat...

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