Is the Jacksonville “pension tax” in peril?

Language within the Home tax bundle suggests that could be the case. However there’s a path to blunt it.

“A provision in a wide-ranging tax invoice put ahead within the Statehouse would dramatically change that schedule by ending the gross sales tax when town’s pensions are absolutely funded or 10 years after the voter referendum that accredited it, whichever comes first. Then voters must hold going again each 10 years to resume the tax,” notes the Florida Times-Union.

Nonetheless, there could also be cause for optimism.

Florida Politics’ Tallahassee reporter Grey Rohrer notes that such language isn’t within the Senate model. This situation suggests a path for the established order, because the Senate didn’t ponder such a situation in Committees and due to this fact, it may very well be a more durable promote on the ground. There is also a carve-out for Jacksonville’s discretionary gross sales surtax, which is integral to town’s funds by 2060, on condition that it’s a key finance mechanism for paying off billions of {dollars} of unfunded pension legal responsibility.

In the meantime, questions abound about how the language obtained into the Home invoice in a seeming bid to embarrass the Mayor’s Workplace. Hypothesis concerning the final supply is wild, together with former statewide candidates for workplace and former senior-level metropolis staffers.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, whose Ballard Companions was iced out of metropolis lobbying contracts amid acrimony with the Mayor’s Workplace, stated he’ll assist.

Can Lenny Curry save Jacksonville’s ‘pension tax?’

“This could destroy our funds. Thanks, Wyman Duggan, for being throughout dealing with this. Admire our dialog on this problem earlier this week,” Curry posted to social media final week.

In the meantime, some recommend Curry and the alums of his administration don’t have stroke with Speaker Paul Renner.

Is all this a lot ado about nothing? At this writing, it feels just like the language is extra optics than anything, on condition that it’s a contentious problem that the Senate doesn’t care about.

Sources say metropolis lobbyists from The Fiorentino Group have engaged on this problem, opposite to the impression some rival lobbyists could have created. The Mayor’s Workplace has additionally been engaged on this effort to guard the Curry-era re-amortization of legacy pension debt financed with a gross sales tax beginning within the subsequent few years and increasing probably into the late 2050s.

This mechanism closed the outlined profit pension plan to new entrants however didn’t finish the obligations to folks employed and labored beneath these beneficiant phrases.

Much more will likely be identified within the coming days. If you know the way the language obtained into the Home proposal, please attain out!

Campbell soup

Will the U.S. Senate Main be aggressive in Jacksonville? On the very least, some veteran politicos are exploring choices past former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell.

Take into account final Thursday’s “prayer brunch” supporting Stanley Campbell, which former Metropolis Council member Reggie Gaffney Sr. and former state Sen. Tony Hill hosted.

Stanley Campbell hopes to make a dent within the Democratic Main.

Gaffney (the elder) tells us his son, his brother Johnny, and different pols are backing Campbell, together with 30 preachers.

It’s a wonderful begin, to make sure.

Gaffney talked about different politicians endorsing Campbell to us. Nonetheless, we aren’t repeating their names right here, as one advised us they’d solely had an “introductory assembly” with the candidate, and the opposite couldn’t cease laughing.

Democrats tried in 2022 to primarily coronate Val Demings because the nominee within the race towards Marco Rubio. There have been no debates and little engagement within the Main, and which will have had a hangover within the lopsided Basic Election outcomes.

It stays to be seen if 2024 will discover a extra contested course of. However not less than some Jaxsons need it.


China syndrome

Gov. Ron DeSantis is questioning whether or not Senate laws may reverse restrictions on some Chinese language people shopping for land.

Requested by Florida Politics concerning the invoice (SB 814), the Governor stated he wouldn’t tolerate a full backtrack on a Chinese crackdown he has often touted.

Clay Yarborough may open a path for Chinese language funding in Florida land.

“What I see occurring now could be an try to unwind what we’ve carried out to guard Floridians towards the menace posed by China,” DeSantis stated.

Last year, DeSantis signed a legislation prohibiting Chinese language nationals from shopping for land close to army bases and important infrastructure. However laws sponsored by Sen. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republican, now consists of language permitting people residing in China to purchase land for residential growth, as long as people are making the acquisition and never the Chinese language authorities.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s Workplace confused that the laws doesn’t utterly undo actions taken final 12 months.

DeSantis was unmollified.

“I feel what they’re attempting to do is unwind what we did, and I’m going to face agency for what we’ve already carried out,” he stated.

Yarborough didn’t supply touch upon the Governor’s gripe.

Chaplain conundrum

A dialogue within the Florida Home about laws bringing volunteer faculty chaplains to Florida faculty districts and charters that need them led to some fascinating flooring dialogue.

In presenting her recommended change to the laws requiring pupil consent, Rep. Angie Nixon argued that chaplains are a suspect idea as a result of “the chaplain could also be attempting to ‘groom’ the scholar.”

Angie Nixon raises alarm about chaplains ‘grooming’ schoolchildren.

The Jacksonville Democrat talked about “kids within the church, the Catholic Church that get groomed” and stated her fear was a transfer that may “open that as much as public colleges.”

“I used to be saying there have been findings,” Nixon defined after the assembly. “I additionally acknowledged different locations of religion later.”

HB 931 would “authorize volunteer faculty chaplains to supply help, providers, and packages to college students as assigned by the district faculty board or constitution faculty governing board” with parental consent for the counseling.

The invoice handed the subsequent day, an 89-25 vote boosted with a memorable shut from Rep. Kim Daniels, a minister by commerce and co-sponsor of the invoice.

“I’m the opponent of this invoice’s worst nightmare. I forged out devils, I pray in tongues, I’m a Holy Curler. However no person on this flooring can ever say I attempted to transform you. Jesus is just too good to push down anyone’s throats,” she stated to applause from Republicans.

College Boards could have till the top of the 12 months to resolve their coverage on this problem if this invoice turns into legislation.

Patriot video games

After the unanimous passage of laws Thursday within the Home, Ok-12 college students are one step nearer to getting classes from designated “patriotic” teams.

Rep. Wyman Duggan’s invoice (HB 1317) would enable representatives of so-called “patriotic organizations” time to fulfill with college students and distribute recruitment supplies, with colleges offering designated time for these teams to pitch their attendees.

Wyman Duggan seeks to advertise patriotism in public colleges.

Six organizations made the minimize: Large Brothers-Large Sisters of America, the Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Ladies Golf equipment of America, the Civil Air Patrol, the Nationwide FFA Group, and the Lady Scouts of the USA of America.

The invoice additionally clarifies that these teams can use faculty buildings even after the academic day ends and stipulates that different teams don’t have the authorized proper to “equal time.” It additionally requires that colleges set a time and date for the group to talk to college students after “affordable discover” was supplied by certainly one of these organizations.

Republican Sen. Tom Wright is carrying related laws (SB 1016). It has one committee cease to go.

Matter of time

In terms of faculty shootings, it’s not if — however when.

That’s the chilling message the Duval County College Board heard from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri final week.

“Energetic assailant occasions, mass casualty occasions, assaults on colleges may occur wherever, anytime, anyplace to anyone,” Gualtieri advised the board, as reported by Jacksonville Today’s Will Brown.

In terms of faculty shootings, Bob Gualtieri says it’s not if — however when.

“If you happen to take a look at the historical past of this and the target proof, it most likely occurs in locations the place folks suppose it’s not going to occur greater than in locations the place folks suppose it’s going to occur.”

The Sheriff chaired the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College Public Security Fee, created after a brutal mass homicide by a former pupil in Parkland in February 2018. This occasion introduced international scrutiny to Florida and compelled Gov. Rick Scott to log out on bipartisan gun reforms, together with banning gross sales of firearms to folks beneath 21.

Worthy tasks

In a convention between the Home Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Legal and Civil Justice, legislators discovered widespread floor on The Boselli Foundation’s Mentorship Program.

In each circumstances, the Home supply matches the Senate place. And in each circumstances, the purpose is to assist younger folks vulnerable to felony recidivism.

Each chambers agree on funding for Tony Boselli’s mentorship program.

The Boselli mission is absolutely funded at $308,800, fulfilling the ask of Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough.

The Jacksonville Republican’s request notes that former Jaguars’ offensive deal with Tony Boselli’s program “permits mentors to make the most of story work, ability constructing and peer-to-peer interactions in a protected atmosphere.”

“This would come with salaries for extra mentors, a program administrator, and provides to help younger males who’re at present or not too long ago incarcerated to change into purposeful leaders by empowerment and mentorship within the Jacksonville neighborhood,” the request provides.

Although the funding is nonrecurring, Yarborough expects that asks for $300,000 are to be anticipated in subsequent years to assist wherever from 25 to 50 “younger males of 13 to 22 years previous who’re at present or previously incarcerated” and are in danger for recidivism.

Karis Seashore Lockhart of the Southern Group is the lobbyist of report on this mission.

Museum cash

Senate and Home Price range Committees are agreeing to a $250,000 appropriation for a museum in St. Augustine, with the Home request being pared right down to match the Senate place.

The Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center is poised to get that quarter-million {dollars} within the supply sheet from the Convention Committee, together with the Home Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Financial Growth Appropriations Committee.

The Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Heart is about to obtain a quarter-million {dollars}.

The museum’s historical past displays that of St. Augustine itself, a spot that was a flashpoint for battles within the Civil Rights motion and described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as “essentially the most lawless place he’d ever seen.”

King was within the metropolis in 1964 as Four-hundredth-anniversary celebrations had been commencing, an occasion he questioned federal funding for. Home terrorists shot up the home the place he stayed inside weeks of his arrival. Nonetheless, he was undeterred, persevering with civil disobedience, reminiscent of attempting to get served at a segregated restaurant and getting arrested for his hassle.

By June, a grand jury ordered King and the Southern Christian Management Convention to depart town, saying that they had breached “racial concord.” King famous that ask was “immoral” and went on to say that St. Augustine needed to “bear the cross” that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, illustrating in sharp aid the malignancy of White supremacists and the violence they embraced for his or her nefarious ends.

The museum is within the Excelsior College Constructing, the primary public Black highschool in St. Johns County from 1925 till the top of segregation. From there, it housed authorities workplaces for some time earlier than practically being demolished, then saved by former college students of the identical faculty and neighborhood members.

The $250,000 is half what the Home sponsor of the appropriations request, termed out St. Johns County Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, needed. The cash will go to capital wants for the ability.

On the Senate aspect, the request was sponsored by Sen. Tracie Davis, a Democrat from Jacksonville.

The lobbyist of report on this mission is Joe Mobley of The Fiorentino Group.

Get related

This week, a brand new website and cellular app had been unveiled to extend civic engagement in St. Johns County.

The Northeast Florida county launched the web site and app designed to “showcase a extra open, environment friendly and digitally related effort,” a county news release stated about “SJC Join,” a platform that gives a communications outlet for residents to make service requests and complaints to the county from their cellular units.

St. Johns County launched a brand new web site and app hoping to spur extra civic interplay with residents.

“This marks a big milestone in our dedication to open governance and effectivity,” stated Pleasure Andrews, County Administrator. “The brand new web site and SJC Join app replicate a brand new period of digital communication for St. Johns County with the general public, offering dynamic and clear alternatives for interplay and engagement with the neighborhood we serve.”

The app and web site additionally enable communication on private and non-private property points with direct entry to code enforcement and the county’s Public Request Inquiry Knowledge Change (PRIDE). The county will even ship common authorities e-mail newsletters to customers.

Seashore bucks

Main seashore restoration tasks are about to get underway in St. Johns County.

Two substantial parts of the shoreline will endure restoration work practically concurrently starting in March. A kind of will likely be a $38.6-million mission paid for by largely state funds within the county’s northern areas within the Ponte Vedra Beach space.

One other seashore restoration mission will likely be launched subsequent month on the shoreline of the primary St. Augustine Beach space, operating from close to Anastasia State Park by St. Augustine Seashore to A Road. That’s simply south of the St. Augustine Seashore Pier. The mission would require $33 million in federal funds.

Seashore nourishment will quickly happen at St. Augustine Seashore.

The Ponte Vedra Seashore restoration mission will run a nine-mile distance from the northern reaches of St. Johns from the Duval County Line south by Ponte Vedra residential and resort areas into the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The northern St. Johns County seashore renourishment mission was accredited for contractor Weeks Marine. It should contain inserting greater than 2 million cubic yards of recent sand dredge onto the seashores and dune replenishment. The mission is anticipated to be accomplished in October.

An electrical efficiency

Over the weekend, electrical line staff throughout Florida flocked to Jacksonville’s Metropolitan Park to indicate off their abilities and craft information through the 2024 Florida Lineman Competition Rodeo.

Staff JEA, which performed host this 12 months, ensured many of the {hardware} stayed in Jax.

The municipal utility earned high honors in three occasions: Apprentice Hunter Thomas earned first place within the Horizontal Hurtman Rescue; Noah Sapp was No. 1 in Loadbust Software Operation; and journeymen Cody Stokes, Caleb Macabitas and Davey Hicken additionally received first place within the Thriller Occasion.

The 2024 Florida Lineman Competitors Rodeo highlights a sure set of abilities.

JEA additionally touted apprentice Ryan Kornegay’s No. 3 end within the general competitors — he’ll have to maneuver as much as journeyman finally. Nonetheless, Kornegay has been dominant within the apprentice class, taking the No. 1 spot within the 2023 competitors. Co-worker Sapp adopted him within the No. 4 general.

The annual occasion, established in 2001 by the Florida Municipal Electrical Affiliation, sees journeymen and apprentices compete for skilled recognition, attend coaching programs and observe important abilities in a protected atmosphere.

Past the pleasant competitors, FMEA’s occasion featured a Saturday night award banquet. The visitor checklist included former JEA line employee J.D. Thompson.

Thompson is one thing of a legend in energy professional circles because of the “Kiss of Mild” — shorthand for the heroism he displayed in 1967 when he scrambled up an electrical pole to ship CPR to certainly one of his brothers in ohms, Randall Champion, who had touched a still-active 4,000-kilovolt line.

The occasion was one of many catalysts that resulted in nationwide line employee coaching reforms, together with creating the Horizontal Hurtman Rescue curriculum.

The banquet crowd was launched to the retiree through a video documenting the rescue. Now 82 years previous, he was greeted with a standing ovation when he entered the room.

FMEA represents the unified pursuits of 33 public utilities within the Sunshine State, which collectively present electrical energy to greater than 3 million Florida residential and enterprise shoppers. JEA is the most important of the set — and largest public utility within the state — offering service to greater than 500,000 clients.

Soccer footsie

Might soccer be a part of the continued cultural change between Jacksonville and the UK?

That’s the seeming hope of native stakeholders.

Jacksonville’s “Piataks have owned Carlisle United since November, and whereas issues on the pitch are troublesome proper now, the long run seems vivid — and different. Among the many plans are new hyperlinks between Jacksonville and Carlisle, one thing these concerned imagine can have nice advantages each on a soccer footing and past,” stories the Cumberland News.

Soccer could assist deliver Jacksonville and the U.Ok. a bit nearer.

Plans are to deliver the Carlisle aspect to Duval to coach and play, which Go to Jacksonville’s Michael Corrigan says could be a “huge deal.”

“We might love to take a look at alternatives for Carlisle United to come back over and do some coaching, and in addition a chance to have a pleasant match sooner or later within the not-too-distant future … that may actually be thrilling for Jacksonville,” Corrigan says.

Jaguars’ mind belief speaks at NFL Mix

“We’re going to proceed to look to enhance.”

That’s what Jaguars’ head coach Doug Pederson stated Tuesday on the NFL Scouting Mix in Indianapolis.

“We at all times discuss competitors; we need to herald gamers so as to add worth and depth at each place,” Pederson stated. “After which we now have to educate it higher.”

The 2024 NFL Mix is an opportunity to see what gamers deliver to the desk.

There are 3 ways by which NFL groups enhance within the offseason: present gamers enhance their abilities or well being by including higher gamers to the roster and by teaching these gamers higher.

Within the Jaguars’ case, all three will likely be anticipated by the point the 2024 season kicks off in September.

Let’s begin with the teaching.

After the season, Pederson opted to overtake his teaching employees, specifically on the defensive aspect of the ball. New defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen changed Mike Caldwell.

“We’re going to get essentially the most out of our gamers,” Pederson stated.” The scheme could change just a bit bit. The look of it’s going to change essentially the most, what you see.”

What these scheme adjustments will likely be is but to be revealed however count on Travon Walker for use in additional methods than he was beneath Caldwell when he largely performed as an out of doors linebacker. He may very well be moved to the defensive position extra in 2024.

Pederson identified that the Jaguars’ present participant’s potential to enhance can include offensive line well being.

Cam (Robinson), Ezra (Cleveland), Luke (Fortner), Brandon (Scherff), Anton (Harrison) performed one recreation collectively. Final recreation within the common season,” Pederson stated.

Cleveland is about to change into a free agent, however basic supervisor Trent Baalke talked about the Jaguars’ need to deliver again all the workforce’s front-line gamers.

“We would like all of our gamers again,” Baalke stated. “We’re assembly with (Cleveland’s agent); we’ll sit down and speak. We traded for him for a cause. We predict he’s an awfully good soccer participant. We’re going to work exhausting and speak along with his agent and speak with Ezra just a little bit and see if we are able to come to an settlement.”

That might not be welcome information to many Jaguars followers who rightly recognized offensive line struggles as one of many huge causes for the workforce’s late-season collapse.

The Jaguars can even count on present gamers to enhance. No participant is extra essential than the quarterback.

After a stellar second half of the 2022 season, Lawrence battled accidents and turnovers within the second half of the 2023 season.

“I simply suppose persevering with to know our offense and get higher with the scheme,” Pederson stated. “Nonetheless put extra of an affect to his voice in our offense as a result of he’s the one on the market executing and calling the play. I need him to talk up and actually take possession (of) that with us.

“The situational a part of soccer, to only understanding recreation conditions, managing the sport in a sure means at sure instances all through the course of the sport. And, , these are all areas that we are able to proceed as a employees to help him and assist him get to the place we need to be.”

Then there may be bringing in additional expertise to the roster. Whereas Baalke wasn’t prepared to debate the Jaguars’ focus within the offseason intimately, he did point out addressing depth at cornerback past starters Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams.

“That’s a very good query; who’s going to be the third? We’ve obtained so as to add to that group,” Baalke stated. “I feel Coach Neilsen spoke on it; Coach Pederson has most likely spoken on it. Now I’m talking out; it’s a gaggle that we would have liked to deal with. We be ok with the group we now have; we really feel like we now have obtained some good younger guys to work with. We obtained some guys, some veterans in there. However we’re undoubtedly going to look so as to add to that group.”

These additions may begin as early as March 13, when free company opens, or April 25, when the draft begins.

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