Florida needs to lead the nation in innovative solutions that tackle the common problems states across the country face such as healthcare, education, water quality and the environment and job creation.
Some of the best ideas are already implemented in other states and Florida should look at adopting them. The following list of proposals are a “best practices” approach to 21st century Florida.
It’s time for Florida to move forward!
Reforming the Florida Department of Transportation:
As a small business owner and educator in the Little Havana area, Rosy Palomino is one of the many commuters in the area that saw the devastation that a long delayed state transportation project brought to Flagler Street. Many businesses simply closed never to return, an entire community paralyzed. No apology and no compensation offered to people “victimized” by bureaucracy.
As an alumni of Florida International University, Rosy Palomino was horrified by the deaths caused by the collapse of the commuter bridge over SW 8th Street.
These disasters were avoidable and share similar root causes in the manner in which the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) treats projects as if they were located in distant, rural areas where the possible disruption to people’s lives are not the focus. It’s time to transform FDOT from a 1950s highway agency to a multi-purpose, modern transportation agency of 21st century Florida.
- Reforming FDOT from a rural to an urban transportation agency that is pedestrian-friendly; Require better planning to STOP clogging our streets with FDOT projects.
- Community-Relations Board: STOP “FDOT tax” when projects are long delayed and impact local communities. We must require a community-relations board to regulate FDOT in densely populated urban areas.
- Improve methods: Require FDOT to put out a Request For Qualification or (RFQ) or Request For Proposals (RFP) to solicit offers for new solutions for highway construction, mass transit technology and maintenance, essentially asking for the best private sector solutions to traffic congestion.
New Jobs by Lowering the Cost to Employ:
As a small business owner, Rosy Palomino recognizes that job growth is linked to the ability of businesses to retain and reinvest their earnings back into their own business. New businesses also need low start-up costs.
Besides taxes and initial regulatory permits, many small businesses rely on trades and technical training not just related to technology which often means intensive training courses and mandatory training courses unrelated to job proficiency. In other words, state law can still prohibit a person from working in an area they are proficient in and are in demand for. Miami’s young people especially need a pathway to earn a living above minimum wage jobs as quickly as possible. Consider that Florida requires a license for 326 professions and businesses. (45 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed; 4th most burdensome licensing laws; 7th most extensively and onerously licensed state).
Rosy Palomino is also a firm believer that “housing equals jobs” meaning the inventory of affordable housing for lower-income earnings working at “starter jobs” (where you learn the most valuable job and personal skills) is important.
- Deregulate occupational licensing wherever possible.
- Negotiate better terms for unemployment (reemployment) insurance.
- Lower business “commercial lease” tax.
- Work with local governments and builders to develop a project pipeline (“5 Year Plan”) to lock in funding from the Sadowski Housing Trust that ensures steady affordable housing inventory for years to come.
Ensuring Clean Water and a Safe Environment:
As a survivor of a deadly, red algae infection I contracted swimming in Biscayne Bay, I am painfully aware of the need our state has to tackle the challenges to water quality throughout the state. I support the Everglades Restoration plan and the reservoir plan to divert Lake Okeechobee water south. I am open to examining other solutions of contamination to our water ways such as surface run-off, leaking septic systems and decrepit sewer systems dumping untreated sewage in our public waters. I am also a signer of the Bull Sugar pledge and refuse to accept funding from sugar growers toward my election.
Lastly, we need to modify the Florida Building Code to make it easier to introduce resiliency strategies in new construction and rehabilitating older properties that include reducing the pressure on water, sewer and electrical utilities from new real estate development, particularly dense condominium constructions.
- Invest public dollars to extend water and sewer connections to areas on septic near waterways.
- Continue investment in restoring natural water flow south from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades.
- Encourage local power generation (like solar or wind) and water fixing locally in large real estate developments (i.e. LEED standard). Create more self-reliant buildings rather than burden older and less efficient utilities.
Improving Film Production and Tourism Jobs:
Film and TV production have a special place for those of us living in Miami. TV put Miami on the map and attracted my family to move here decades ago as early as the 1950s’s Jackie Gleason Show. Rosy is well-aware how much work our local TV and Film industry (and by extension tourism industry) lost when Florida eliminated the state’s film tax credit.
Rosy sees the TV and film production industry and tourism as so strongly linked together that they should be discussed together.
- Restore the film tax credit by redirecting revenue from tourism taxes (already existing bed and tourist sales taxes) to fund it in Miami-Dade County; consider that 80% of all film tax credit applications were from Miami-Dade County.
- Provide financing for convention centers expansion, improvements or new construction to more than just one per county, and if necessary, for only Miami-Dade County.
- Continue to support efforts to bring large (international) sporting events and trade conferences/shows to Florida.
Improving Healthcare Quality and Access
In the past, Rosy Palomino was a manager at a successful medical-optical retailer at a major mall working with doctors and medial regulations. She can tell you that healthcare, particularly for seniors, is largely regulated at the federal level. As such we need our congressional delegation to allow the state more flexibility and control over our existing Medicaid dollars to make them go farther and allow healthcare insurance plans across state lines which will be less expensive because they include larger risk pools.
However, as a state, we cannot afford to wait for the federal government to “fix” healthcare. The public needs access to better-quality, lower-cost options now. Rosy proposes allowing the public to participate in group health plans negotiated at the lower government rate; encourage combination programs that feature direct primary care agreements with catastrophic health insurance or non-profit “medical cost sharing” plans. Pre-existing conditions can be negotiated into these options which may or may not include a public subsidy.
- Allow government agencies throughout the state to participate together in group health plans that spread risk and lower cost.
- Encourage direct primary care agreements to reduce costs.
- New solution: Allow “medical cost sharing” plans that can provide an alternative payment method that also negotiates down cost of health care procedures with the efficiency of Uber.
- Continue to work with the federal congressional delegation to allow state governments more flexibility in how to do more with Medicaid dollars.
- Continue to work with the federal congressional delegation on legislation to allow healthcare insurance plans across state lines.