A surprising switch: Florida legislators side with people over special interest

March 30, 2013 

Florida legislators exacted a steep price from residents three years ago to fill a massive budget hole during the worst of times. Today, more enlightened lawmakers hope to reverse that injustice.

By jacking up fees for drivers licenses and vehicle tags, the Legislature balanced the budget by placing the burden on the backs of the poor and middle class -- but not the special interests that dominate Florida politics. The average Floridian can't afford a high-priced lobbying outfit or big cash campaign contributions, so they're easy targets for Tallahassee money grabs.

But public outrage over the fee hikes fell on deaf ears. An initial vehicle registration fee soared from $100 to $225, and annual renewals increased 35 percent. An initial driver's license fee jumped from $27 to $48, and a renewal more than doubled from $20 to $48.

Recognizing that disgraceful action, legislative leaders want to give residents a break and replace the lost revenue by ending a tax break for insurance companies, which hold considerable influence in the capital. What a pleasant and surprising switch from past practice.

We hope this well intended idea comes to pass.

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