October 22, 2014

Florida Issues

Florida's New CEO

Shortly after his election, Gov. Charlie Crist spoke with Florida Trend about his priorities as he enters office.

Florida Staff | 1/1/2007

Shortly after his election, Gov. Charlie Crist spoke with Florida Trend about his priorities as he enters office.

On his education agenda ...
I want to raise teachers' salaries. That's very, very important for me to do. What we mapped out during the campaign was to raise the salaries for the top 25% of Florida teachers as determined by the principals at each school. I think we need to empower principals; they're the leader at the school. And that's why I think entrusting them with a lot of the decision-making as regards to the salary increases for teachers is very important.

On testing and the FCAT ...
I understand that kids may not like them. But life's a test -- every day. And my philosophy is that if we don't take a measure of what's happening in the classroom, then we're doing them a tremendous disservice. We have to do everything that we can to make sure they get a first-class education. Having said that, you hear about teaching to the test and you hear the same complaints I do. I think the ideal is that our teachers would teach to the state standards and not have as much focus on teaching to the test but on teaching subject matter that is tested. I think we need to understand it but also continue it in a way that maybe (changes) the timing of it perhaps, the time of year it's given, the manner in which it is delivered, but it's fundamentally important to me that we continue to test and take a measure.

On property insurance reform ...
Mitigation, I think, is a key area. Why shouldn't we demand that you get credit for being a safe homeowner? In other words, having hardened your home, done the kinds of things that make it less apt to be damaged or even destroyed during a storm, I think you should get credit for that. Another area I've talked about is the cherry-picking that some of the national insurance companies do -- where these national companies will set up an opportunity to sell both property insurance and auto insurance, and they'll sell property insurance in 48 or 49 other states but not Florida. Yet they are delighted to sell auto coverage to our 18 million people and in essence sort of discriminate in Florida by not selling property insurance that they already write in other states. I just think that's wrong, and I think we ought to stop it. How do you do it? Law. You pass a damn law.

On whether such an approach would chase insurers out of Florida ...
I don't think they're going to leave a market of 18 million people. We're the fourth-largest state in the country, soon to be the third. If you think of how attractive it is to sell insurance to as many drivers as we have in this state, I just don't buy into the notion that they're going to leave. There's only one way to find out.

On insurance reform, continued ...
One of the topics that concerns me is having a national catastrophic plan. I've already talked to Sen. (Mel) Martinez about it. There are states that have an enormous vested interest in doing this: California, Texas, Florida, New York. And if you just take the congressional delegations from those four states alone, you're getting close to maybe a majority of the votes in Congress to get it done. And I think we have an obligation to get it done.
And then maybe the final piece is Florida's catastrophic fund. (Lowering the threshold for companies to access the fund) makes it much more attainable, therefore spreading the risk, lowering the exposure and giving them the opportunity again to hopefully lower rates. So the market forces can help. But I think we're going to have legislation and government to mandate some of these things for people. We regulate phone companies; we regulate utilities. And we regulate insurance companies but apparently not very well.

Tags: Politics & Law, Around Florida, Government/Politics & Law

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