Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
In this battle, both sides can lose
By STEVE BOUSQUET, Tallahassee Bureau Chief
Published October 27, 2007
In Tallahassee, tax relief and testosterone don't mix.
This is at the heart of the stalemate between the House and Senate over how much property tax relief is not enough, and how much is too much.
Men run both chambers, and boys will be boys. Legislators tend to be competitive types who hate to lose.
If you think this has nothing to do with making policy on one of the major issues of our time in Florida, you would be wrong.
Behind all the public discourse about doubling the homestead exemption, making Save Our Homes portable and adding tax breaks for first-time home buyers and low-income seniors, is a fact of life about the two men who run this bicameral Legislature.
These guys don't especially like each other, yet they have to work together.
They're also very different men.
House Speaker Marco Rubio sees himself as Jeb II, the true heir to the conservative mantle of the Republican Party in Florida.
He's an ideologue. Given a free rein, he would wipe out property taxes altogether and jack up the sales tax.
Senators thinks this is nuts. Even Republican senators call it a tax increase.
Senate President Ken Pruitt is a pragmatist who has to count votes more closely than Rubio. A man whose goal is the art of the possible, he has ruled with a light hand, sharing power with others. One valued colleague is known as "co-prez."
Pruitt also is not viscerally opposed to the size and scope of government the way House leaders are.
Tax relief was one of Gov. Charlie Crist's core campaign promises, and it's a major test of his and his party's ability to lead.
A bad outcome next week, and Republicans will have squandered a golden opportunity.
"I think they'll get it done," said Mark Wilson of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "I don't see signs of a nuclear meltdown where people say, 'See you next session.'"
Crist was on a three-day campaign tour in June of last year when he pitched a tax relief plan.
It consisted mainly of two items: doubling the homestead on a county-by-county basis and making the Save Our Homes assessment cap available to snowbirds and businesses.
"Shallow" is what Rep. Stan Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, who backed Crist's Republican rival Tom Gallagher, said at the time. "This plan is not the mark of someone ready to be governor."
But Crist won, and he's still riding those sky-high approval ratings. His marching orders to lawmakers for weeks have been to do what's "doable," defined as something 60 percent of voters will support on Jan. 29 because it looks like real relief and is easy to understand.
The most likely outcome next week will be a package anchored by those two proposed changes, and many will complain it won't be enough.
One way or the other, this standoff will end Monday - or Tuesday at the latest - with one side bending to the other's will.
The Senate has the upper hand because the House has already voted to send its tax package there, with its dead-on-arrival Save Our Homes Lite, the 5 percent cap for second homes and businesses.
Pruitt is like a football coach who runs a ball-control offense. He doesn't have to score, but he also won't let the other team get the ball.
Control over the clock is a powerful weapon at the end of any legislative session. That is partly why Pruitt sent senators home this week.
Against that backdrop is the reality that Republicans are flirting with political disaster if they don't deliver on tax relief. They know it, too.
Failure to get the three-fourths votes of each chamber will be seen by taxpayers as a horrible thing. There's still time for cooler heads to trump testosterone.