In today's Friday Files, we are talking about the wrongfully convicted and broken campaign promises.
But first, I think I've finally figured out what Florida is in the eyes of corporate America: a John.
A pathetic, prostitute-seeking John with a wad of money and a small sense of self-worth.
Why do I say that? Because Florida has essentially given up on trying to be a state where businesses want to come. Instead, we keep trying to lure them with cash.
The latest news has Gov. Rick Scott wanting to more than double his incentives bankroll — we're talking $230 million of your tax dollars to throw at companies next year.
Sure, some states attract companies with an educated workforce, good transportation and a high quality of life.
And then there are states like Florida that rely on corporate welfare.
Unfortunately, we're not even very good at it.
Not only is Florida's economy still worse than most states, but as the Sentinel's Aaron Deslatte has been reporting, many of the jobs we've tried to buy never even materialized.
Yep, even when we pay for it, we don't always score.
State officials can't explain why. Heck, they can't even tally how many jobs we're owed.
You'd think that would be a call for greater accountability. Instead, the Department of Economic Opportunity called for another $130 million of your money.
The sad thing is that Florida already has a lot going for it. And we could have even more, economically, if Florida politicians demonstrated a little more vision — and a stronger commitment to the kind of things that truly make a state attractive to business owners … other than big wads of your cash.
Righting a wrong
Kudos to Senate President Mike Haridopolos for resuming his crusade to compensate Brevard County resident Bill Dillon for the 27 years he spent behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.
Earlier this year, Dillon's claims bill was derailed in a bit of political gamesmanship involving House Speaker Dean Cannon. Haridopolos is right to try again.
It's one thing to be wrongly convicted. But to not be compensated for all those stolen years of life is essentially being victimized all over again.
Bondi's broken word
Speaking of wrongful convictions, Attorney General Pam Bondi still has not taken any meaningful action with regards to the dozens of other people who were convicted using the same fraudulent "expert" who helped convict Dillon.
Three people convicted by charlatan dog-handler John Preston have already been exonerated. And justice advocates are convinced there are more. All anyone wants is a comprehensive investigation into all of those cases to see how many, if any, others were unjustly jailed.
During her campaign, Bondi promised she would do this. Yet she has not. Not in a meaningful way, anyhow.
So let me be very clear about this, Ms. Attorney General:
I am not going away on this issue.
For all four of your years, I will hound you on this point.
Not just because it's the right thing to do.
And not just because lives and freedom are at stake.
But because you promised to do this. You told readers of the Orlando Sentinel you would. And you promised on national TV when you were trying to score votes.
And if you don't keep your word, I will make darn sure people remember.
The stakes are just too high.
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