Last week's announcement by Governor Charlie Crist that he is calling the state Legislature to hold a special session between July 20-23 was greeted with enthusiasm by House and Senate Democrats who have been calling for such a session for over two months, and with sneering by virtually everyone else.
Even U.S. Democratic Senate candidates Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene, who hope to be competing against Crist this fall in the U.S. Senate race, found the opportunity to blast the Governor, while simultaneously endorsing the concept of putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow Floridians to decide whether to ban drilling for oil and natural gas off the state's waters forever.
Many Republicans took the opportunity to ask that the Legislature work on other items related to the massive BP oil spill, such as Attorney General Bill McCollum, who said the Legislature should look at different tax and regulatory incentives to attract tourists, who are not avoiding Florida this summer. McCollum also said that his office needs greater authority to go after environmental crimes.
Early Monday Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink followed suit, with a series of items that she said should be addressed in Tallahassee next week. Among them include authorizing property tax rebates for business and residential property owners whose property values have fallen because of the oil spill, similar to hurricanes, tornados, and fires.
She also wants to pass tourism tax incentives, such as a temporary waiver of the bed tax, to help the tourism industry recover and rebound, injecting tourism spending dollars back into our economy.