Jim Boyd earned his legislative stripes quickly while working on a measure to crack down on vehicle insurance fraud, estimated to have cost consumers $1.4 billion in higher premiums since 2008. For a first-term representative to sponsor such a signature piece of legislation -- and a high priority of the governor and a host of others -- is a remarkable achievement.
As the founder and chief executive of Boyd Insurance, the Bradenton Republican has more than three decades of experience in the industry. His expertise proved important in the new state law, which calls for stiffer penalties and stronger consumer protections to combat staged accidents and bogus injury claims under Personal Injury Protection policies.
But the law is not perfect and needs revision to fulfill one of the pivotal promises to consumers that has yet to be fully realized -- lower rates for the no-fault insurance.
Vehicle insurance companies had an Oct. 1 deadline to either trim PIP premiums by 10 percent or file an explanation with the state insurance regulators detailing why they could not.
Many insurers are seeking higher premiums, noting rate increase requests would have been higher without the new law. Several companies did cut rates by 10 percent. Lawmakers should take another look at this issue. Nevertheless, Boyd tackled a tough problem and put Florida on track to a solution.
He stands for re-election against Sarasota Democrat Adam Tebrugge, a private attorney who served as an assistant public defender. Both are vying to represent Floridians in the newly redrawn House District 71, whose boundaries stretch from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Manatee south to Siesta Drive in Sarasota.
Boyd puts jobs and economic growth atop his priority list, siding with Gov. Rick Scott on the elimination of the state's corporate income tax as a way to attract new businesses to Florida. That loss of revenue would be offset "far and away" by the new jobs and growth, he asserts.
Education is another top issue for Boyd, who calls for sweeping reforms, greater school choice and less reliance on testing. He helped get Manatee Technical Institute an additional $2 million, which the school district had sought for years in a bid to overcome an inequitable state funding formula.
Boyd describes himself as a team player who will work across the aisle in a bipartisan manner to move Florida forward. In this age of hyper partisanship, we hope he delivers on that pledge and doesn't march in lockstep with the Republican leadership in the House.
With a large part of Sarasota County sitting in District 71, including portions of downtown Sarasota west of Highway 301, we challenge Boyd to help forge stronger bonds between the two counties. He could become a pivotal player in a unified relationship not only in the state House but in more collaborative efforts between the two county commissions.
The Herald Editorial Board recommends Jim Boyd to represent House District 71.
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