tampabay.com

Today's Letters: Keep Florida's universities affordable

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 10, 2007


What our universities need May 8, editorial 

This editorial falsely pretends to be in the best interests of students. Raising tuition at state universities in Florida comes at a terrible time when there are already fewer scholarships and higher interest rates on student loans. By increasing the cost of attendance, legislators aim to make going to college in Florida unattractive to the best students.

I am a fourth-year student at the University of Florida and graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Palm Harbor University High School. Most of my fellow IB graduates chose to go to UF because it was such an affordable education.

However, if tuition was much higher I feel most students would look to go to schools out of state that have better reputations and names. This is where I feel the editorial goes awry. Universities in Florida do not have the names and reputations that by themselves can attract students. They need to attract students by making it economical.

Finally, if legislators are bent on raising tuition, why not have all Floridians help out and raise state tax revenues through increases in appropriate taxes? I feel all too often people come to Florida to retire/die and do not care about the people who actually live, work and go to school here.

Louis N. Ciardulli, Safety Harbor

Educate more

However one looks at this particular editorial, it is not favorable to most Florida residents.

I beg to differ: This is "about champagne wishes and caviar dreams."

In my 50 years in this great state of Florida, Charlie Crist is the first Republican governor that is a "people's" governor, and I for one hope he has the political stamina to not give in to the "elite" who are taking over this state.

Let Florida be on the bottom of the tuition scale and be on top providing a "basic" advanced education for more of its own residents than the other states.

Russell Lee Johnson, St. Petersburg

Tuition boost needed

I believe that most people have been very impressed with the manner in which Gov. Charlie Crist has begun his tenure.

The most puzzling aspect of his leadership has been his apparently negative attitude toward the legislatively proposed 5 percent tuition increase for all state universities and the even more generous increase for the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida.

The fact that Florida university tuition rates are among the lowest in the country - some two-thirds of the national average - provides a more than adequate basis for the proposed increase. This increase has been strongly endorsed by chancellor Mark Rosenberg and the Florida Board of Governors and merits support of the governor.

Those who desire to see a much improved State University System need to urge Gov. Crist not to veto this greatly needed increase in university funding.

E.T. York, chancellor emeritus, State University System of Florida, Gainesville

Preserve PIP

I am disappointed over the Florida House's refusal to bring to the floor an extension of Florida's mandatory PIP coverage for all drivers. This illustrates everything that is wrong with our government, namely favoring the interests of big business, in this case "big insurance, " over the needs of the citizens of Florida.

Florida does not require its drivers to carry bodily injury coverage for injuries that are caused by someone else's negligence. The only required coverage in Florida relating to injuries is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which in the case of an automobile collision, covers the majority of one's medical bills no matter who is at fault. For a state like Florida, where many people do not have health insurance, PIP is the only insurance that will protect those citizens when they are injured in auto accidents. Without PIP, injured persons will not be able to secure any medical attention other than in emergency rooms. This cost will surely be passed on to all Florida citizens.

PIP also pays for the lost wages of injured people if they are unable to return to work immediately. For so many families living paycheck to paycheck, PIP provides the last hope for paying bills following a tragic accident.

Gov. Charlie Crist needs to make PIP part of the agenda for the upcoming special session in June.

Every Floridian should call Gov. Crist at (850) 488-7146 and tell him that he needs to make sure he lives up to his promise to support an extension of PIP. Then call your representatives and let them know that PIP must be extended.

Martin Berger, Miami

Letting no-fault lapse is no answer May 9, editorial

Make it optional

No-fault insurance addresses the needs of individuals who are employed and/or without health insurance. There is a significant population, such as retirees like myself, who are not employed and do have health insurance. Therefore, without the need for wage-loss coverage or medical insurance from no-fault, the premium paid for no-fault could be better spent elsewhere.

My recommendation is that no-fault become optional. This way, people who can benefit will have access to no-fault coverage and those of us who don't need or want it can save money on our automobile insurance premiums.

Michele Klein, New Port Richey

Address KidCare

With 500, 000 children in Florida without health insurance coverage, our Legislature missed a great opportunity by disregarding the future. This is the future of our state that we are short-changing.

It is well-documented that in 2005, 34.7 percent of uninsured children went without care due to cost. Uninsured children are twice as likely to go without any medical attention as those with coverage. Thirty-five percent of uninsured children do not have a regular doctor or nurse; 88.3 percent of uninsured kids are in homes where at least one parent works.

The federal government, through the Children's Health Insurance Program, provides funding to states in order to insure the health and well-being of the nation's future leaders. Many states capitalize on this funding by putting their dollars to work in conjunction with this opportunity. Florida chooses not to do so!

Elder Care Advocacy of Florida salutes Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in her valiant endeavor to fight for Florida KidCare and Florida's future. As parents and grandparents, do we not believe that our children are worth the effort?

Austin R. Curry, executive director, Elder Care Advocacy of Florida, Tampa

Thanks, lawmakers

I would like to offer my congratulations for the fine job our lawmakers did on the insurance issue. Thanks to their fine work, I received a notice that my coverage would be cut. A month later I received my bill, an increase of 20 percent.

I hope they do not try too much to help me. I now expect to see my taxes take a bigger jump as they are trying to help me out there as well.

Llewellyn E. Denny, Safety Harbor

No insurance relief May 7, letter

Keep voting

I agree with the letter writer's frustration concerning the failure of the Florida Legislature to address one of the major issues that confront Floridians.

What I do not understand is the ending comment, "And our leaders can't understand why so few people vote."

Voters make the difference. Not voting means you make no difference at all in government, which it appears to be just what politicians want. When a low percentage of people vote, the government agenda is determined by that small percentage who made the effort to vote, rather than by the majority of the people.

I never understand why we have such low participation in the electoral process, and I further do not understand when people complain about the actions of the government that was put in office by the voters.

Jeffrey W. Kenney, Seminole

Label these drivers

Here is an idea to help protect the designated driver from overzealous waiters and bartenders trying to push alcohol:

Perhaps all businesses selling alcoholic drinks could have little stickers available at the door that, "Designated Driver." This would not only benefit the person so designated but would also remind others that they may also need a designated driver.

Being a designated driver should be encouraged. If a person had a sticker on, he wouldn't be tempted to have "just one" every time the waiter or bartender asked. If he had a sticker on, he shouldn't be asked if he wants anything other than a soft drink.

Gloria R. Julius, St. Petersburg