A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast.
Mileage rates drop
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mileage rates for 2010 are following lower gas prices down. Motorists using vehicles for business purposes will receive less reimbursement under new limits issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The new rates for business miles driven are 50 cents per mile, down from 55 cents in 2009; 16.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 24 cents; and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, no change.
Taxpayers have the option of calculating actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using standard mileage rates.
Gambling deal rejected
TALLAHASSEE — The House Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact voted 15-0 at its recent meeting to reject the Gov. Charlie Crist's proposed gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe.
The committee chairman is Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, an attorney and also chairman of the House Rules and Calendar Council. The tribe was to pay the state $150 million Dec. 1 and another $150 million at the end of 2010 per the agreement.
Forecast to generate $6.8 billion for the state over the next 20 years, money Crist wanted for schools, the compact would allow Class III gaming on Seminole Tribe reservations, including games such as blackjack and baccarat.
Gov. Crist reacted to the decision with a statement on his Web site, stating, “While today's vote is disappointing, I agree with Representative Galvano that the decision does not represent a line in the sand. We obviously have a long way to go before the end of session, so there is plenty of time for the Florida Legislature to approve a plan that would direct billions of dollars to Florida schools for years to come.”
The committee also approved a separate bill to reduce the tax on South Florida slot machine operators from 50% to 35%. Galvano expects the National Indian Gaming Commission to shut down the tribe's operation of slot machines, blackjack and its banked card games until they get a validated compact with the state.
Special election Jan. 26
TALLAHASSEE — A special primary election to replace State Rep. Mike Scionti, D-Tampa, is Jan. 26. Scionti resigned in December to accept an appointment by President Obama to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intergovernmental Affairs and Homeland Defense.
Democrat candidate attorney Patricia “Pat” Kemp, 52, is an attorney and Janet Cruz, 53, has a small business background while Tampa attorney Gilberto “Gil” Sanchez, 33, is also running for the West Tampa seat. In the Republican primary, Jackie Rojas-Quinones, 45, faces Tampa attorney Hunter Chamberlin, 37.
Sarasota news program
SARASOTA COUNTY — A new public service news program called “Sarasota Business Today” focuses on county economic development initiatives and local businesses, with the theme of “Live. Work. Learn. Play.” The show profiles businesses creating jobs and boosting the local economy by expanding operations or locating in the county.
he monthly program, produced with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), appears on the county's Access TV on Comcast 19 and Verizon 32. The show also is available on the county Web site, www.scgov.net.
Thompson seeks judge seat
TALLAHASSEE — Rep. Nick Thompson, R-Fort Myers, is running for Circuit Judge for the 20th District, opening up his House District 73 seat.
The Planning Commission will hold a workshop to consider increases in fees for plan amendments, rezonings, developments of regional impact, port permits and special planning services at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, on the 26th floor conference room A at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa.
Some fees are proposed to increase by as much as 200%, and are recommended to become effective Jan. 1, 2011. The new fees may be adopted by Hillsborough County or the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City.
The Planning Commission will meet to consider eight amendments to the city of Tampa comprehensive plan at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25 on the 18th floor at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa.
The Charter Review Commission meets at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, at the Mid County Tax Collector's office, Starkey Lakes Corporate Center, 13025 Starkey Road, Largo. For more information call (727) 464-3485.
The 14th Street West Community Redevelopment Agency meets at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at Peace Lutheran Church and School, 1611 30th Ave. W., Bradenton.
The Planning Task Force meets at 3:30 p.m. in room 502, in the administration building, 1112 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton.
The Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 25, at Sudakoff Center, 5700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
The Charlotte Harbor Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee meets at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan 28, at the Administration Center, Room #119, 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. For more information, call Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.
The Charter Review Commission constitutional officers sub-committee meeting is at 4 p.m. Thursday, at Administration Center, Room #106-B, 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. For more information call Ann Pinder at (941) 623-1087.
The Tourist Development Council meets at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 25, in the county commission chambers, third floor, W. Harmon Turner Building, 3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples.