Jon already noted the falsity of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-La.) assertion that regulations were responsible for the Bush administration’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina. So why did Jindal, who later admitted things didn’t exactly happen the way he said they did in his rebuttal to Pres. Obama’s “state of the union” speech, go there?
According to a local editorial, written presciently before either speech, Republicans intend to use stimulating the economy as an excuse to gut regulations. And loosening regulations, if anyone remembers, is at the heart of the economic problem. Anne Schindler, in Folio Weekly, a northeast Florida alternative weekly whose articles are unfortunately not available online, detailed how Republican legislators in Florida are making the same play.
While lawmakers desperately plug budget holes and draft legislation aimed at restarting Florida’s failing economy, development lobbyists are descending on Tallahassee…[Their] argument is simple, if a bit non-linear: Though regulations have nothing to do with the collapsing real estate market, developers want to ease regulations in order to kickstart business.
…Lobbyists working for Associated Industries…[are] distributing a booklet titled “Economic Stimulus Package 2.0,” which calls for “reductions in regulatory red tape as a way to stimulate business activity.” What kind of “red tape” do they want to hack through?
You can guess. Schindler goes on to enumerate bills that would eliminate impact fees, which help switch the burdens of infrastructure needed for new development from the taxpayers to the speculators, and builders who propose to “streamline” environmental permitting, which is Republican-speak for “Let the party start.” But, she says, these modest government measures are not the problem.
To be clear: Florida’s economic woes have nothing to do with gopher tortoise protections or wetland buffers. They stem from plummeting home prices and tightening credit…
There are currently some 300,000 vacant homes and hundreds of unoccupied strip malls in Florida. There is also a staggering backlog of already permitted but not-built homes…Adding to that glut by building more homes is not the way to climb out of Florida’s economic quagmire. Neither is dismantling the state’s few and fragile regulatory protections.”
But such facts won’t stop Republicans, like Bobby Jindal, from using the economic crisis to make power grabs. Greed is not hindered by details like the truth. It’s up to us to remain vigilant and on-message and make sure their attempts fail.