President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that a top North Korean official is headed to New York for talks on an upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as diplomatic efforts also accelerated in Asia, The Associated Press reports. Trump said in a tweet that Kim Yong Chol — a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee — was traveling to New York as part of ongoing meetings between the two countries to arrange the on-again, off-again summit on the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis today released the following statement on his office’s continued analysis of President Trump’s tax cuts and how they will make it possible to phase out Florida’s corporate income tax because of expected increased revenue to the state through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “An analysis of President Trump’s tax cut shows that because of the way Florida’s tax code is written, businesses are expected to pay an estimated 13 percent more to the state in taxes over the next 10 years. Some of that increase is because the federal tax law got rid of corporate deductions and expanded the tax base while lowering the overall rate, which means Florida businesses will have higher ‘federal taxable income’ subject to state taxation. That 13 percent equates to an estimated $313 million increase in tax base for the state over 10 years, which paves the way for us to begin phasing out our business tax in Florida.
“One public study on the effects of the Trump tax cut shows that while Florida businesses would pay 13 percent more, our number one competitor for jobs – Texas – would have no similar increase in business taxes. This could put our state at a competitive disadvantage as we try to build off of Governor Scott’s success in making our state a top choice for businesses looking to relocate. We know many businesses are examining the tax climate in Florida and other states right now, as they plan to take advantage of President Trump’s new policy of a one-time tax assessment for companies who return off-shore revenue back to America.
“As businesses pay the state more in taxes, Florida is able to lower our tax rate accordingly. I have asked my staff to develop a plan that would strategically roll back our business tax over the next several years so it can eventually be eliminated, while finding a way to continue to support charter schools that are currently funded from corporate tax scholarships. We must work quickly to cut our business tax and make Florida the most competitive state in the nation for business growth and job creation.”
A copy of the study can be found here.
“President Trump Speeds Up Repairs to Herbert Hoover Dike”
WPEC (CBS) – West Palm Beach, FL
October 27, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.
Seeking to hold President Donald Trump to a campaign promise he made to be “the greatest champion” of Haitian-Americans, state Senator Daphne Campbell (D-38 Miami) has filed a measure to extend Haiti’s temporary protected status designation (TPS) for at least 18 months beyond its scheduled January 22, 2018 expiration.
The House companion will be filed by Representative Al Jacquet (D-88 Palm Beach).
“On the campaign trail, Donald Trump assured Haitian-Americans, many of them living in my district, that they deserve better, and that he would give them better,” said Senator Campbell. “They took him at his word, and I am holding him to those promises.”
The memorial filed by Senator Campbell (SM 442) is earmarked for the President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Department of State, and the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Currently, more than 58,000 Haitians resettled in South Florida benefit from the TPS program, which was established for refugees following earthquakes, hurricanes, and ensuing disease, which ravaged the country several years ago, and from which Haiti has still not fully recovered.
Earlier this year, the Trump Administration granted a six-month extension to the program, with a warning to the refugees to prepare for deportation once the reprieve ended in mid-January. Senator Campbell, who hails from the island nation, is asking that TPS be extended for an additional 18 months as Haiti continues to ready for the refugees’ return.
“These individuals have contributed greatly to the economy of Florida. They have not only rebuilt their lives, they have built the American success story from nothing,” said Senator Campbell. “Uprooting them means sending entire families back to the devastation they worked to overcome. And it would violate every promise President Trump made to protect them on American soil.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi today released the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s decision regarding DACA:
“The highest duty of the President of the United States is to protect our citizens and uphold the Constitution—and President Trump’s decision demonstrates respect for the rule of law and compassion for children brought to our country illegally. Today I visited with the President and General John Kelly and I can assure you the decision comes with thoughtfulness, compassion and sympathy for the children caught in this situation. It also comes out of great respect for the United States Constitution.”
Governor Rick Scott today requested that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency for the State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. A pre-landfall declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government and would free up funding sources for emergency protective measures such as shoring up beach dunes, building emergency berms and planning for potential evacuations. To view the Governor’s request, click HERE. Governor Scott spoke with President Trump last night after the Governor issued Executive Order 17-235 declaring a state of emergency in all 67 counties within the State of Florida in response to Hurricane Irma.
Governor Scott said, “Last evening, I spoke with President Trump regarding Florida’s preparedness actions and he offered the full resources of the federal government as we get ready for this major storm. This morning, I am requesting the president declare a pre-landfall emergency for the State of Florida to help preposition necessary resources and support emergency protective measures across the state. Our state emergency management officials are working with our federal and local partners to prepare for any potential impacts from this dangerous storm, and it is crucial that we have access to every available resource to protect our families and communities.
“While we do not yet know the exact path of Irma, major impacts to Florida are potentially possible and we cannot wait to take aggressive preparedness actions. I continue to urge all Floridians to remain vigilant, stay tuned into local weather alerts and have a disaster plan in place today. We will remain focused on making sure families and visitors have timely information on Hurricane Irma and we keep issuing important updates as we monitor the storm throughout the day.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s executive order lifting the ban on transferring certain surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies:
“This executive order will help ensure our brave law enforcement officers have the gear they need to combat terrorism, drug cartels, gangs and other threats to public safety. This order will give our law enforcement officers access to billions of dollars’ worth of equipment such as armored vehicles, ammunition and other military gear that will help in disaster related situations like we are seeing in Texas with Hurricane Harvey—as well as terrorism-related cases such as the Pulse nightclub attack, where a military-style helmet stopped a bullet, saving an officer’s life, and San Bernardino, where this type of equipment protected law enforcement officers as they pursued terrorists.
“I want to thank President Trump for standing up for law enforcement and signing this order to give officers access to more lifesaving tools. Equipment like this could help Florida law enforcement officers respond to hurricanes and the destruction left in the aftermath.”
President Trump signed an executive order today directing the Department of Interior to review more than 20 national monuments that have been created under the Antiquities Act since 1996. A list of the monuments that may be reviewed is below.
In response, Environment Florida’s state director, Jennifer Rubiello, issued the following statement:
“One of the things that makes our state and this nation so great is that we have gorgeous landscapes and we have had the foresight and political will to protect them for future generations. Unfortunately, today’s executive order heads in the exact wrong direction.
If President Trump succeeds in rolling back any of our national monuments, he will in essence be attacking all our public landscapes. This effort is unprecedented and likely unconstitutional. Despite presidents from both parties establishing more than 150 national monuments over that last 111 years under the authority of the Antiquities Act, never has a president revoked the status of a monument.
Protecting our public landscapes is good for our ecosystem; it creates unprecedented opportunity for recreation and tourism; and land conservation makes political sense. Citizens across the country support presidential action to protect our lands, waters and wilderness.
I’m confident that Floridians will rally to keep all of our public lands in public hands. As we know from the Lorax: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
National Monument designations that may be up for Review
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, W. Clinton, 1996 (BLM)
Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
California Coastal National Monument, California, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
Portion of Sequoia National Forest (originally Giant Sequoia), California, W. Clinton, 2000 (USFS)
Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington, W. Clinton, 2000 (FWS)
Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
President Lincoln and Soldier’s Home National Monument, Washington, DC, W. Clinton, 2000 (NPS)
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
Minidoka National Historic Site, Idaho, W. Clinton, 2001 (NPS)
Pompeys Pillar National Monument, Montana, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, Virgin Islands, W. Clinton, 2001 (NPS)
Governors Island National Monument, New York, W. Clinton, 2001 (NPS)
African Burial Ground National Monument, New York, G. W. Bush, 2006 (NPS)
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (originally Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), Hawaii, G. W. Bush, 2006 (FWS, NOAA)
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Hawaii, G. W. Bush, 2008 (NPS, FWS)
Rose Atoll National Monument, American Samoa, G. W. Bush, 2009 (NOAA)
Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, Hawaii, G. W. Bush, 2009 (FWS, NOAA)
Mariana’s Trench National Monument, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, G. W. Bush, 2009 (NOAA)
Fort Monroe National Monument, Virginia, B. H. Obama, 2011 (NPS)
Fort Ord National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2012 (BLM)
Chimney Rock National Monument, Colorado, B. H. Obama, 2012 (USFS)
Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2012 (NPS)
San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington, B. H. Obama, 2013 (BLM)
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico, B. H. Obama, 2013 (BLM)
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, Maryland, B. H. Obama, 2013 (NPS, FWS)
First State National Historical Park, Delaware, B. H. Obama, 2013 (NPS)
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers Monument, Ohio, B. H. Obama, 2013 (NPS)
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico, B. H. Obama, 2014 (BLM)
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2014 (USFS)
Honouliuli National Monument, Hawaii, B. H. Obama, 2015 (NPS)
Pullman National Monument, Illinois, B. H. Obama, 2015 (NPS)
Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado, B. H. Obama, 2015 (BLM, USFS)
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2015 (USFS)
Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas, B. H. Obama, 2015 (NPS)
Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada, B. H. Obama, 2015 (BLM)
Mojave Trails National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2016 (BLM)
Sand to Snow National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2016 (USFS)
Castle Mountains National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NPS)
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, DC, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NPS)
Stonewall National Monument, New York, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NPS)
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Maine, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NPS)
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Massachusetts, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NOAA, FWS)
Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, B. H. Obama, 2016 (USFS, BLM)
Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada, B. H. Obama, 2016 (BLM)
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Alabama, B. H. Obama, 2017 (NPS)
Freedom Riders National Monument, Alabama, B. H. Obama, 2017 (NPS)
Reconstruction Era National Monument, South Carolina, B. H. Obama, 2017 (NPS)
Governor Rick Scott released the below statement today on President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan.
Governor Scott said, “We have been committed to fighting the corporate income tax in Florida and I am glad that President Trump is doing the same for our national economy. Since I have been in office, we have cut taxes 55 times, saving Florida families and businesses $6.5 billion. It is great that we now have a president who is focused on turning the national economy around like we have done in Florida.”
Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor today vowing to fight any attempt by the administration to open up additional areas around Florida to offshore oil drilling.
“Drilling off of Florida’s neighboring states poses a real threat to our state’s environment and our multibillion-dollar tourism industry,” Nelson said. “That’s because a spill off the coast of Louisiana can end up on the beaches of Northwest Florida just like a spill off the coast of Virginia or South Carolina can affect the entire Atlantic coast.”
Nelson’s remarks come as the president is expected to sign an executive order Friday expanding offshore oil drilling.
“This announcement by the president will be like a big present for the oil companies,” Nelson said. “I hope the president thinks twice before putting Florida’s economy at such a risk. I hope he refrains from issuing this executive order, but if he doesn’t, this senator and a bipartisan delegation from Florida will fight this order.”
Below is a rush transcript of Nelson’s remarks, and here’s a link to watch video of his speech: https://youtu.be/EXb5ubQrxVE.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
Remarks on the Senate Floor
April 26, 2017
Sen. Nelson: Mr. President, I want to address the senate on the occasion of the solemn memorial of seven years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill and the tragedy of killing a number of workers.
It was 11 men were killed. It fouled the sensitive Gulf ecosystem in ways that we still do not fully realize, and yet we are hearing today that the president is expected to issue an executive order that ignores the implications of that tragedy which was also the largest environmental disaster in US history by this new executive order blindly encouraging more drilling in very sensitive areas.
Mr. President, I can tell you that drilling off of Florida’s neighboring states poses a real threat to our state’s environment and our multibillion-dollar tourism industry, and that’s because a spill off the coast of Louisiana can end up on the beaches of northwest Florida just like a spill off the coast of Virginia or South Carolina can affect the entire Atlantic coast.
BP, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon, agreed to pay more than $20 billion in penalties to clean up the 2010 oil spill and repay Gulf residents for lost revenue.
But apparently that wasn’t enough if BP’s recent spill in Alaska is any other indication.
So we shouldn’t be surprised since oil companies and their friends have fought against any new safety standards or requirements. And still the president wants to open up additional waters to drilling despite the fact that we haven’t applied lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon.
It is certainly at a time when the United States has been able to find all new reserves of oil and gas onshore. So we are not in a time of shortage of discovery and reserves of oil, and especially what is being affected, our domestic energy market with the low price of natural gas since so much of it and the reserves are just tremendous here in the continental US.
The most visible change since the deep water horizon, the division of the Minerals and Management Service into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, all of those changes made as a result to try to improve things after the BP spill, it doesn’t seem to have made any major improvements in oversight, and that’s according to a report issued by the GAO this last month.
So I’ve come to the floor to try to alert other senators about the importance of preserving the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It makes no sense to put Florida’s multibillion-dollar tourism-driven economy at risk.
And there’s something else at risk. The department of defense has stated numerous times — I have two letters from two Republicans, secretaries of defense, that says that drilling and oil related activities are incompatible with our military training and weapons testing. That is the area known as the Gulf training range. It’s the Gulf of Mexico off of Florida. It is the largest testing and training range for the United States military in the world.
Now in that Gulf training range is where the pilots for the F-22 are trained. That’s at Tyndall Air Force base. And it’s where the new F-35, the pilots are trained, by the way, not only for the United States, but also for many foreign nations that their countries have bought the f-35.
Of course that’s essential to our national security. And that’s just pilot training. That doesn’t speak of the testing over hundreds and hundreds of miles because it is restricted airspace of some of our most sophisticated weapons.
And, oh, by the way, when the US Navy Atlantic fleet shut down on our training in Puerto Rico and the island of Vieques, where do you think that a lot of that training came to? The navy still has to train, so they’ll send their squadrons down to Key West naval air station at Boca Chicas Key, and when those pilots and their F-18 Hornets lift off the runway within two minutes they’re out over the Gulf of Mexico in restricted airspace, so they don’t spend a lot of fuel and a lot of time to get there. And so that’s why a lot of our colleagues across the state of Florida, across the aisle — in other words, this is bipartisan — have weighed in with this administration urging continued protection for the largest military testing and training area in the world. Opposition to drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is bipartisan. It’s the Senate and House — bipartisan. But so is our opposition to drilling off the Atlantic coast.
Now let me just distinguish between the two. Years ago, my then-republican colleague, Senator Mel Martinez, and I both authored in law an exemption until the year 2022 of any oil drilling off of the coast of Florida. It’s actually everything east of what is called the Military Mission Line, and it’s virtually the Gulf of Mexico off of Florida. And of course we did that for the reasons that I’ve already stated that’s in law up until 2022.
But the administration will be coming forth with another plan for the five-year period for oil drilling offshore for the years 2023 up through 2028. It is my hope that the words of this senator and the words of our bipartisan colleagues from the Florida delegation will convince the administration that it’s not wise to impede the military’s unnecessary training and testing area, not even to speak of the tremendous economic deprivation that will come as a result of an oil spill.
And just think back to the BP spill. Think back to the time when the beaches, the sugary white sands of Pensacola Beach, they, in fact, were completely covered with oil. That picture, a very notable picture, a contrast of the black oil on top of the white sand, that picture went around the world. The winds started blowing — this is the oil from the BP off Louisiana. The wind started to continue to blow it to the east. And so some of the oil got in Pensacola Bay. Some of the oil started to get into Choctawhatchee Bay. Some got on the beautiful beaches of Destin and Fort Walton Beach. The winds took it as far east as the Panama City beaches. There they received basically tar balls on the beach.
And then the winds reversed and started taking it back to the west. So none of the other beaches all the way down the coast of Florida, Clearwater, St. Petersburg on down to the beaches off Bradenton and off of Sarasota and Fort Myers and Naples and all the way down to Marco Island, none of those beaches received the oil because the wind didn’t keep blowing it that way.
But the entire west coast of Florida lost an entire tourist season because our guests, our visitors, the tourists, they didn’t come because they had seen those pictures. And they thought that oil was on all of our beaches.
Let me tell you how risky that had been. There is in the Gulf of Mexico something known as the loop current. It comes through the separation of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and the western end of Cuba. It goes up into the gulf and then it loops and comes south in the gulf. It hugs the Florida Keys. It becomes the Gulf Stream that hugs the east coast of Florida and about mid down the peninsula it starts to leave the coast, follows and parallels the east coast of the United States and eventually goes to northern Europe. That’s the Gulf Stream. Had that oil spill been blown south from Louisiana and the loop current had come enough north, that oil spill would have gotten in the loop current and it would have taken it down past the very fragile coral reefs of the Florida keys and right up the beaches of southeast Florida, a huge tourism business. And by the way, the Gulf Stream hugs the coast in some cases only a mile off of the beach.
Now, that’s the hard economic reality of what could happen to Florida’s tourism industry, not only on the west coast that it already did that season of the BP oil spill but what could happen on the east coast of Florida, too. So opposition to drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is certainly bipartisan, but also is the opposition to drilling off of the Atlantic coast.
In the last Congress, members from both parties joined together to file a House companion to the legislation that this senator had filed that would prohibit seismic testing in the Atlantic off of Florida. The type of seismic air gun testing that companies wanted to use to search for oil and gas would threaten thousands of marine mammals and fish, including endangered species like the North American Right Whale.
The blast from seismic air guns can cause permanent hearing loss for whales and for dolphins which disrupts their feeding, calving, and their breeding. And in addition to the environmental damage that those surveys would cause, businesses up and down the Atlantic coast would also suffer from drilling activity.
Over 35,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families have registered their opposition to o offshore drilling in the Atlantic. From fishermen to hotel owners to restaurateurs, coastal residents, and business owners understand it’s just too dangerous to risk the environment and economy that they depend on.
There is one unique industry off shore in the Florida east coast, and this was, we made the case, way back in the 1980’s when a secretary of the interior named James Watt decided that he was going to drill all the way from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, all the way south to Fort Pierce, Florida. This senator was a young congressman then and took this case on and what finally convinced the Appropriations Committee not to include any funds for the execution of, an offering of those leases was the simple fact that where we are launching our space shuttle then as well as our military rockets from Cape Canaveral, that you simply can’t have oil rigs out there and be dropping the first stages and the solid rocket boosters from the space shuttle.
Now as you know, the cape has come alive with activity, a love commercial rocketry as well as the mainstays for our military space program. And in a year and a half, NASA will launch the largest rocket ever, one-third more powerful than the Saturn V which was the rocket that took us to the moon. And that’s the beginning of the Mars program as we are going to Mars with humans. And so because of that space industry, whether it’s commercial or whether it’s civilian, NASA or whether it’s military, you simply can’t have oil rigs out there in the Atlantic where we are dropping the first stages of those rockets. This is common sense.
So when President Obama took the Atlantic coast off the table in 2017 to 2022, that five-year planning period in that offshore drilling plan, Floridians finally breathed a sigh of relief and they sighed, too, happily. If President Trump intends to open these areas up to drilling, his administration can receive and expect to receive a flood of opposition from the folks who knows what’s going to happen.
So it is this week, and here we are mid-week, it is this week that we’re expecting for the Trump administration to move forward with an executive order that would ignore the wishes of coastal communities.
Now, I want to say that the areas off of Florida in the east coast of the Atlantic are very sensitive, as I have just outlined. But there’s nothing to say that if you have a spill off of Georgia or South Carolina, that it can’t move south. And that starts the problem all over.
This announcement by the president will be like a big present for the oil companies who, by the way, in areas in the Gulf of Mexico that are rich with oil and there are in fact active leases, they’re not producing the oil. So why would you want to grant more leases in areas that is so important to preserve the nation’s economy as well as our military preparedness.
I hope the president thinks twice before putting Florida’s economy at such a risk. I hope he refrains from issuing this executive order, but if he doesn’t, this senator and a bipartisan delegation from Florida will fight this order.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.