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Politics

Corcoran Vows to Fight Tax Hikes, Protect Bullied Children in Opening Address

January 9, 2018 - 11:30am

House Speaker Richard Corcoran said his chamber is a force to be reckoned with, calling the Florida House of Representatives the “storm” in the Florida Legislature while setting up a potential battle with the governor over the state’s annual budget for 2018.

Speaking to the Florida House in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Corcoran pointed to what he saw as a legacy of productivity and hard work for the people of Florida. 

Corcoran said the House would remain steadfast in its opposition to tax hikes to protect average Floridians.

“First, the Florida House will never support raising taxes on any person or any business -- ever,” Corcoran said. 

Corcoran reiterated he would not support a tax hike on local property taxes to increase funding for Florida’s schools, a position Gov. Rick Scott supports in order to bump up money for the state’s K-12 public school system. 

Throughout the address, Corcoran seemed to take a hard-line approach when it came to the state’s budget and potential tax increases, setting the stage for a possible showdown with both the governor and the Senate moving into the next 60 days. 

“We will debate the issue [of tax increases] around the state because any person in any community, in any city, in any county – their answer – the truth - will be the same. It’s a tax increase,” Corcoran said. “When a taxpayer is forced to pay more money this year than last year – through no action of their own - it’s a tax increase. It’s a tax increase today on January 9. It will be a tax increase on March 9. It will be a tax increase on June 29.” 

Corcoran reiterated his support for promoting a high-quality education system, highlighting the need for legislators to keep the needs of students in mind as they navigated the next two months.

“We will continue to fight and fight so that every child, regardless of demographics, is afforded a world class education,” he told his fellow lawmakers. 

Part of the state’s promotion of a high quality education system, Corcoran said, will come from protecting Florida’s children, many of whom are subjected to bullying inside and outside the classroom.

One of Corcoran’s top priorities during the 2018 legislative session is a measure to establish a “Hope Scholarship” for victims of bullying, allowing them to transfer to a public or private school after filing a complaint. 

“We will end this horror for all children,” Corcoran said. “No one will ever be trapped again.”

Corcoran, who is widely rumored to be contemplating a run for governor this year, has made his mark in Florida politics for his “do-or-die” style of politics. Last year, he and the governor engaged in all-out political warfare over Scott’s tourism and economic incentive programs, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida. 

At the time, Corcoran dubbed the programs “economic waste,” but both were eventually funded in the 2017 budget when Corcoran and Scott struck a deal last summer. 

In spite of the clash, Corcoran appeared ready to stick to his guns, vowing to remain consistent and stay on the path in what he viewed as a path to progress for all Floridians.

“We can – and we should – do more,” Corcoran said. “As we did last session, we’ll hear lots of reasons why it isn’t possible...the status quo, business-as-usual crowd will try to drown out the drumbeat of reform. They will be, as in the story, like Fate coming upon the army and saying to them, “You can’t do this; you cannot withstand the coming storm.’” 

To his fellow lawmakers, Corcoran had one simple message -- don’t back down.

“When they tell you that, tell them, “You don’t understand. This is the Florida House,’” he said. “We are the storm.”

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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Comments

no two bigger idiots than Corcoran and Trump... 'cept the idiots that voted for them... baahaahaa...

No mention of doing what is necessary to implement the President's agenda at the State level. Not a good sign in my view for my vote for Speaker Corcoran. The state and local swamp is under fire and needs to publicly support our President's agenda including law and order applied in our schools as in all areas of society or resign now so we can elect leaders who know how to get things done and WIN. The old ways of conducting politics is done. We need to move on to growth and prosperity to fund our schools, etc. and stop bleeding the public. Old battles have already been won with the election of Donald Trump. Oh, and by the way, a healthy dose of confrontation with other ideas while in school is a character building experience. So, be careful when defining "bullying". Violence is prosecuted by law no matter how young the perpetrator if I'm not mistaken. I'm not in favor of making new, feel-good laws or throwing money at a problem when it comes to children and their school experience. Our country wasn't built by victims or snow flakes. Character building must involve difficult situations to overcome. This in no way takes away the need for Charter Schools as an alternative available to every parent should their public school be failing their child. "Bullying" can happen in any school but the attention should be on changing the behavior of the "Bullier", not in labeling the other child a victim and providing funds to allow the child to run away from a confrontation. We do the child a disservice when we remove the "victim" rather than punish the perpetrator. I know this view isn't currently popular but society needs people who know how to stand up for themselves and others without violence.

Couldn't have said it better myself "Lynn" ! ( In the land of the "politically correct", the aggressive, confident, and learned man is "king" (leader)!!!

OK,...I get it: Don't "bump up" money for the public school system K-thru-12;.. Then Florida's "graduates" will continue to remain stupid enough to re-elect YOU "Mr Speaker" (and your ilk). Yeah,...you're a "force to be reckoned with" (more fiber, THAT's what you need !) Yeah, You're the "storm" in the House... (You gotta stop spitting on Floridians,...and telling them "It's Raining !")...... (Oh yeah "Speak..", look up the word "pontificating", before you resume polishing your exalted "seat"..)

Corcoran is an idiot and a joke who speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He talked tough last year, but caved in, so he could get money for his wife's charter schools... The only thing he said worthwhile at all is no tax increases, but will probably cave to that too, to get more charter school money. They are all exactly what is wrong with politics in this sate and country. Vote them all out and get some representatives for a change...

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