Saturday, April 25, 2015

Obama and Bill Nye Talk Climate Change while In The Everglades This Week

“‘Oh, I’m not a scientist,'” Nye said, sarcastically repeating a common conservative argument against the phenomenon.
“I’m not a scientist, either, but I know a lot of scientists,” Obama replied. “I have the capacity to understand science. The capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence. Part of shifting our political culture I think, is we’ve gotta model for our kids that facts matter.”
Nye also encouraged the president to promote “science every day in every grade,” calling it a huge opportunity.
“Teaching science [at] elementary level is very inexpensive,” he said. “We fight these surprising problems about reading and arithmetic and standards problems and so on, it seems like a very solvable problem. We have to invest in the elementary grades.”
“Part of it is also, I think, our culture has to support and elevate science,” Obama said, adding, “Sometimes what we see in the popular culture is, if not a denigration then not an emphasis on science.”
Nye told CNN before the video was posted that the White House asked him to join Obama in the Florida Everglades to film the video.
“[Obama] knows I’m like-minded when it comes to the environment,” Nye said. “He didn’t bring in Marc Morano or somebody like that. I think it’s cool.”
Morano, who has been featured on Fox News on several occasions, is a blogger whose parent organization, Climate Depot, has ties to the oil industry. On Wednesday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld argued that global warming was a trumped-up threat because the president and the former TV host flew there on Air Force One.
Watch Obama’s discussion with Nye

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) declined an invitation to meet President Obama



Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) declined an invitation to meet President  Obama on the tarmac Wednesday as he arrived in South Florida, but Principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said they aren’t taking the rejection personally.

“As custom, we invite the governors of the states in which we travel to meet the president. Sometimes their schedule allows them to do so and sometimes it doesn’t,” Schultz said.

Local 10 News reports:
Obama is using his Earth Day visit to Florida’s Everglades to warn of the damage that climate change is already inflicting on the nation’s environmental treasures — and to hammer political opponents he says are doing far too little about it.
“In the words of Douglas, there are no other Everglades in the world, and we’re here because climate change is threatening the communities that depend on it, which includes almost all of South Florida,” the president said. “If we don’t act, there may not be an Everglades as we know it.”
Scott’s administration has denied reports that it banned the term “climate change” from official government communications.
“If it’s not true, we look forward to them contributing to the discussion about one of the most important issues that we face,” Schultz said. “If the Scott administration is now joining the rest of us in confirming the impacts of climate change on both the environment and the energy sectors, we welcome that change in position on the governor’s part.”.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Obama speaking this afternoon at Everglades National Park.

Obama speaking this afternoon at Everglades National Park. 
President Barack Obama just marked Earth Day with a speech on climate change, given from a podium in Florida's Everglades National Park. The choice of venue was appropriate from an environmental perspective—the Everglades is already acutely feeling the impacts of sea level rise—but it was also telling from a political standpoint. Although our swampiest national park has a long history of bipartisan support, it's located in a state that has recently produced some of the most absurdist climate denial in recent memory—and Obama didn't forget to mention it.
Florida is home not just to Senator Marco Rubio, a GOP presidential contender who maintains that humans can't affect the climate, but also to Governor Rick Scott, who landed in headlines last month after apparently barring state employees from talking about climate change.
"Climate change can no longer be denied," Obama said today. "It can't be edited out. It can't be omitted from the conversation... Simply refusing to say the words 'climate change' doesn't mean climate change isn't happening."
Obama also took a jab at Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) for bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor. "If you have a coming storm, you don't stick your head in the sand," he said. "You prepare for the storm."
You can watch the full speech below (starts at 48:00):









Source MotherJones.com

President Obama At Everglades Park Today For Earth Day


Displaying IMG_7923.JPG

POTUS took the podium outside the Ernest Coe Visitor Center ahead of schedule, at 3:18 p.m.  Big, loud fans have been set up behind the seated guests. 

Obama gave shout outs to Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, who flew with him on Air Force One. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, also got a hello (she's in the audience) Senator Nelson;s Aide told me he, was going to be here, but had to stay in Washington, because, the Trafficking Bill set to pass today may have amendments added to it.

Obama said he could think of "no better place" to spend Earth Day and extolled the virtues of the Everglades -- included that it's a habitat for both alligators and crocodiles. 

"I'm told this is a good thing," he joked.

He also quoted Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the mother of the Everglades: "There are no other Everglades in the world.

Check transcript for full remarks. 
You can watch the full speech below (starts at 48:00):


THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  Please have a seat.  It’s good to be back in Florida.  So I can’t think of a better way to spend Earth Day than in one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures, the Everglades.  (Applause.)  And anybody who comes here to visit -- and I advise everybody who’s watching who hasn’t been down here to come on down.  You can see what makes this unique landscape so magical -- what the poet Emma Lazarus called “the savage splendor of the swamp.”  Although I was informed it’s not technically a swamp.  (Laughter.) 

I want to thank our outstanding Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, who’s here.  (Applause.)  Her team at the Interior Department and the National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis for helping to protect places like this.  (Applause.)  The Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos is doing outstanding work.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Miami-Dade Congressmen Murphy and Carvalho who are here doing outstanding work, as well as Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  (Applause.)  You’ll be pleased to know that they are all in when it comes to protecting the Everglades, and we’re very proud of the good work that they’re going.  We even have the Science Guy, Bill Nye, here.  (Applause.)  There’s Bill. 

Now, they’re all here and we’re all here because this 1.5 million acres is unlike any place on Earth.  It’s no wonder that over a million people visited last year alone.  The sawgrass prairies and mangrove forests are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife -- bald eagles, herons, hundreds of plant species, from pine trees to wild orchids.  Believe it or not, south Florida is the only place in the world where you can find both alligators and crocodiles in the same habitat.  I’m told this is a good thing.  (Laughter.)

In the words of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who helped preserve this land: “There are no other Everglades in the world.”  But part of the reason we’re here is because climate change is threatening this treasure and the communities that depend on it, which includes almost all of south Florida.  And if we don’t act, there may not be an Everglades as we know it. 

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.  Yes, this winter was cold in parts of our country, including Washington.  Some people in Washington helpfully used a snowball to illustrate that fact.  But around the world, in the aggregate, it was the warmest winter ever recorded.

This is not a problem for another generation.  Not anymore.  This is a problem now.  It has serious implications for the way we live right now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing.  The Surgeon General and I recently met with doctors and nurses and parents who see patients and kids grappling with the health impacts.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses an increasing set of risks to our national security.

And here in the Everglades, you can see the effect of a changing climate.  As sea levels rise, salty water from the ocean flows inward.  And this harms freshwater wildlife, which endangers a fragile ecosystem.  The saltwater flows into aquifers, which threatens the drinking water of more than 7 million Floridians.  South Florida, you’re getting your drinking water from this area, and it depends on this.  And in terms of economic impact, all of this poses risks to Florida’s $82 billion tourism industry on which so many good jobs and livelihoods depend.

So climate change can no longer be denied.  It can’t be edited out.  It can’t be omitted from the conversation.  And action can no longer be delayed.  And that’s why I’ve committed the United States to lead the world in combatting this threat.  (Applause.)  

The steps we’ve taken over the last several years are already making a difference.  We’re using more clean energy than ever before.  America is number one in wind power, and last year we generated 20 times more electricity from sunlight than we did in all of 2008 -- 20 times.  

We’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution.  China, in part because of our actions, has now committed for the first time to limit their emissions.  And this means that there’s new hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late.

We’re wasting less energy, with more fuel-efficient cars that save people money at the pump, and more energy-efficient buildings that save us money on our electricity bills. 

So more clean energy, improved energy efficiency -- these steps can help us avoid some of the worst effects of climate change down the road.  But we also have to prepare for the effects of climate change that we’re already too late to avoid.  If you think about it, this is like we’re hitting the brakes on a car, but the car is not going to come to a complete halt right away.  So some of these changes are already happening, and even if we take the right steps, we’re going to have to make some adaptations.

And that’s why we’ve been working with cities and states to build more resilient infrastructure and restore natural defenses like wetlands.  And today, I want to announce new actions to protect our national parks and our public lands, and the communities that rely on them.

First, we’re releasing a report showing that every dollar invested in the National Park Service generates $10 for the economy.  That’s a good investment.  (Applause.)  I don’t run a private equity fund, but I know that if you invest a dollar and you get $10 back, that’s a good investment.  (Laughter.) 

In 2014, almost 300 million visitors to our national parks spent almost $16 billion and supported 277,000 jobs.  So protecting our parks is a smart thing to do for our economy.  That’s why I’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.  (Applause.)

Here in the Everglades, we’ve already invested $2.2 billion in restoration efforts.  With the support of some outstanding members of Congress, I’ve proposed another $240 million this year.  We want to restore the natural water flow of the Everglades, which we know is one of the best defenses against climate change and rising sea levels.  (Applause.)  And I’m calling on Congress to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports this work across the country.  (Applause.) 

I’m also announcing $25 million in public and private money for restoration projects at our national parks.  And this is part of our broader effort that we’ve launched to encourage every American to “Find Your Park.”  Chances are, there’s one closer than you think. 

Just last weekend, Michelle and I took the girls for a hike in a national park just 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C.  As we were walking a trail along the Everglades, we saw a group of school kids -- couldn’t have been more excited about mostly seeing the gators, not seeing me -- (laughter) -- but also learning about the science of the planet that they live on.  And I want every child to have that opportunity.

So starting this fall, we’re going to give every fourth grader in America an “Every Kid In A Park” pass, and that’s a pass good for free admission to all our public lands for you, your families for an entire year.  (Applause.)  Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters -- these places are your birthright as Americans. 

And today, I’m designating America’s newest national historic landmark, the Marjory Stoneham Douglas House in Miami, so that future generations will know how this amazing woman helped conserve the Everglades for all of us.  (Applause.) 

We’re also working with farmers and ranchers and forest land owners to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.  I’m going to keep doing everything I can to prepare and protect America from the worst effects of climate change, including fighting for clean air, clean water.  Because in places like this, folks don’t have time, we don’t have time -- you do not have time to deny the effects of climate change.  Folks are already busy dealing with it.  And nowhere is it going to have a bigger impact than here in south Florida.  No place else.  It has to be paying closer attention to this and acknowledging it, and understanding that if we take action now we can do something about it.  (Applause.)   

This is not some impossible problem that we cannot solve.  We can solve it if we’ve got some political will.  And we can solve it in a way that creates jobs.  We can solve it in a way that doesn’t disrupt our economy but enhances our economy.  And it’s a bipartisan issue. 

On the way in, I was talking to some folks about the fact that Teddy Roosevelt, he’s a Republican -- started our National Park System.  Richard Nixon started the EPA.  George H.W. Bush was the first President, globally, to acknowledge the impacts of climate change and that we needed to do something about it.  This is not something that historically should be a partisan issue.

Five years ago, local leaders down here, Republicans and Democrats, formed the bipartisan Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact -- an agreement to work together to fight climate change.  (Applause.)  And it’s become a model not just for the country, but for the world. 

It’s the type of mission that Americans from all walks of life are taking on -- from the CEOs of some of our biggest corporations and utilities, to student organizations across the country.  Because they know that simply refusing to say the words “climate change” doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening.  (Applause.) 

And we know that in our own lives.  If you’ve got a coming storm, you don’t stick your head in the sand; you prepare for the storm.  You make sure our communities are prepared for climate change.  And that’s an economic imperative.  Protecting the one planet we’ve got is what we have to do for the next generation.  I want Malia and Sasha not only to be able to enjoy this amazing view; I want my grandchildren -- a way, way long time from now -- (laughter) -- to enjoy this amazing view.  And their children, and their children after that.  That’s what we do as Americans, take responsibility and leave behind for our children something special.

And we are blessed with the most beautiful God-given landscape in the world.  (Applause.)  It’s an incredible bounty that’s been given to us.  But we’ve got to be good stewards for it.  We have to take care of it.  We only get to enjoy things like our amazing national parks because great Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Marjory Stoneman Douglas and a whole bunch of ordinary folks whose name aren’t in the history books, they fought to protect our national inheritance.  And now it’s our turn to ensure that this remains the birthright of all Americans for generations to come.  So many people here are active in your communities, doing what’s needed.  The young people who are here, the next generation, they’re way ahead of us in understanding how important this is.  Let’s make sure we don’t disappoint them.  Let’s stand up and do what’s right before it’s too late.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

                        END  


             3:32 P.M. EDT

Broward County Republican Executive Committee selected the Honorable Sandra Steen their 2015 Lincoln Day Lifetime Achievement Award



On April 18th the Board of Directors of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee selected the Honorable Sandra Steen, the former Mayor of Wilton Manors, and the current President of LCR Broward, as the recipient of their 2015 Lincoln Day Lifetime Achievement Award.
In recognition of “Sandy’s” work over the years, accolades of appreciation were also  received from The East Broward Federated Women’s Republican Club, The Broward Women’s Republican Club Federated, The Log Cabin National D.C. Leadership and Staff, and LCR Broward, Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa Bay all published in the Lincoln Day Journal distributed the night of the Gala. The annual event featured an array of who’s who in Florida’s political circles and was topped off with a guest appearance of the fiery and nationally recognized author and commentator Ann Coulter.
According to the Honorable Sandra “Sandy” Steen she remains committed to Log Cabin because they remained committed to her when she served Bill Markham the Broward County Property Appraiser. She added “LCR, upon the passing of Bill Markham, held a dedication ceremony and placed a memorial brick for him on the Riverwalk and that kindness has not been forgotten by either her, her husband, and the Markham family. To me that’s demonstrated the essence of the Two Greatest Commandments dealing with the love of God and the love of humankind.”

Brenda Snipes To Run For Re-election For Supervisor Of Elections


Snipes announcement ended speculation that there 72-year-old elections chief, appointed in 2002 by Gov. Jeb Bush, would be retiring. Bush appointed Snipes after removing former Supervisor Miriam Oliphant for incompetence.
At least one candidate — David Brown, a campaign consultant and marketing executive who lost the supervisors race to Oliphant in 2000 — is still considering running against Snipes for the Democratic nomination.
- See more at: http://www.browardbeat.com/demo-activist-elections-chief-should-be-appointed-not-elected/#sthash.Q5zNBlRG.dpuf

President Obama will visit the Florida Everglades

Today, in celebration of Earth Day, President Obama will visit the Florida Everglades, where rising seas and other climate change impacts are endangering one of the nation’s most iconic landscapes – and increasing risks to the State’s $82 billion tourism economy. To coincide with the President’s trip, the Administration is highlighting the value of special and vulnerable places like the Everglades and announcing new steps to protect the people and places climate change puts at risk.

The President has made clear that no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. The effects of climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – last year was the planet’s warmest year recorded, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened this century. All over the country, Americans are already facing devastating impacts – from severe floods to extreme heat to increased risk of asthma attacks. These impacts pose major economic, public health, and national security threats. Climate change is also affecting some of the most iconic places in our country, from disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park to dying Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park. These kinds of losses affect the tourism economies of towns and cities across the country that depend on sharing America’s natural splendor with the world.

That’s why President Obama has taken historic action to cut the carbon pollution that drives climate change and protect American communities from the impacts, including setting the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from the power sector, making a landmark joint announcement with China to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting smart investments in resilient infrastructure. Under the President’s leadership, the Federal Government has also made significant investments to protect and restore the special places that Americans depend on but that are threatened by pollution and climate change, including the Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Everglades.

In the Everglades alone, the Administration has invested $2.2 billion in restoration efforts, with the President’s 2016 Budget proposing nearly $240 million more. In addition to protecting the primary source of drinking water for more than a third of Florida’s population, these efforts are helping ensure that the Florida Everglades – a major driver of the local economy – are resilient to effects of climate change like saltwater intrusion and invasive species.

Highlighting special places and protecting communities from climate change

From diminishing snowpacks to more severe wildfires, climate change is impacting natural landscapes across the country and threatening an outdoor recreation economy that each year generates $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs.  In Florida, impacts like sea level rise are threatening some of the State’s top tourist attractions, including the Everglades and Florida Keys, with estimated revenue losses of $9 billion by 2025 and $40 billion by the 2050s.

Recognized worldwide as a unique and treasured landscape, the Everglades is a perfect example of the threat we face from climate change, including rising sea levels that result in shoreline erosion and increased flooding.  As the seas rise, salty ocean water travels inland, threatening the aquifers that supply fresh drinking water to Floridians, destroying natural habitats, and starving Everglades National Park of freshwater that also serves as the primary source of drinking water for more than a third of Florida’s population. Already, the park’s characteristic mangrove trees – the largest protected mangrove forest in the northern hemisphere – are retreating inland. The changing conditions in the ecosystem are also displacing native animals and plants like tropical orchids, some of which are only found in south Florida. 

In addition to their cultural, recreational and historic value, our national parks play a significant role in our economy.  And even as climate change threatens their landscapes, national parks play an important role in preventing the worst impacts of climate change.  In celebration of Earth Day, this week the Administration is announcing new steps to recognize the value of these special places, as well as actions to protect the people and places climate change puts at risk, including:

Calculating the Value of National Parks Tourism to the U.S. Economy.  Today, the National Park Service (NPS) is releasing a new report that shows that every $1 invested by American taxpayers in the National Park Service returns $10 to the U.S. economy.  In 2014, a record 293 million National Park visitors spent $15.7 billion in communities around National Parks, providing a $29.7 billion benefit to the U.S. economy and supporting 277,000 jobs.

Calculating the Value of National Parks for Storing Carbon.  Today, the NPS and the U.S. Geological Survey are releasing a new report that for the first time calculates the value of National Parks for storing carbon and mitigating climate change.  The report concludes that national park lands in the lower 48 states store 14.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and that providing this service is valued at more than $580 million each year.

Investing in National Parks. Today, NPS is announcing $26 million for restoration projects at national parks around the country, including $16 million from non-governmental partners.  These Centennial Challenge Grants are part of a multi-year effort to prepare for the National Park Service Centennial next year, including a Find Your Park Campaign to connect a broader audience to public lands and President Obama’s Every Kid in a Parkinitiative that will give every fourth grader and their families free access to national parks and all federal lands and waters for a full year, beginning this Fall.      

Designating a New National Historic Landmark Near the Everglades.  Today, the Department of the Interior and NPS are designating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas House in Miami, Florida as the Nation’s newest National Historic Landmark.  Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s seminal book, The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), marked a significant turning point in the environmental movement, and the Friends of the Everglades organization she founded had a central role in the conservation and restoration of the Everglades.  National historic landmarks provide opportunities for Americans to make personal connections with our Nation’s cultural and historical heritage and can help drive tourism and boost local economies.

Designating National Park Week.  On Monday, President Obama signed a Proclamation designating this week National Park Week and encouraging all Americans to use and enjoy the unparalleled public lands that belong to all of us.

Providing a Flood Mapping Tool to Help Communities Prepare for Storms.   On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that a flood exposure risk mapping tool, originally developed for New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, has been expanded to cover coastal areas along the entire U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.  This Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper allows users to select their location and view how local populations, infrastructure and natural areas would be affected under a variety of flood scenarios, with the goal of helping communities reduce their vulnerability to current flood risks. This expanded tool is included in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Making Key Landscapes Resilient to Climate Change.  On Tuesday, the Interior Department, U.S. EPA and NOAA announced four landscapes – in southwest Florida, Hawaii, Puget Sound and the Great Lakes—where agencies will focus their efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to a changing climate. These Resilient Lands and Waters projects will build climate resilience in vulnerable regions and enhance carbon storage capacity, focusing on increasing coastal resilience, developing coastal wetlands and marine conservation areas, protecting drinking water for urban areas, providing wildlife habitats, and preventing threats like flooding and invasive species.

Partnering with farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to reduce GHG emissionsOn Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce new voluntary actions it will take in partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and support President Obama’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Broward STEM Family Expo May 3rd from 1-4pm at Beth Emet Elementary School

Thomas Marshburn (NASA Photo JSC2008-E-139777)




Broward STEM Family Expo  May 3rd from 1-4pm at Beth Emet Elementary School  The event is a  science expo geared for kids K-8.  They will have all kinds of hands-on interactive activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Special guest Astronaut Thomas Marshburn, M.D., will talk to the kids about the scientists and engineers behind robotic missions around the solar system, and aboard the International Space Station.  Google is coming along with so many other fun and exiting exhibitors.  Click on our FB page for more info
It should be a great event.  All of the money raised goes to the NSU CARD autism program and to buy new technology equipment for the kids at the school.

More about Astronaut Thomas Marshburn, M.D.,  Click Here




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored

.Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President spoke about his commitment to combating the threat of climate change and to keeping ourselves and future generations safe.  The effects of climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – 2014 was the planet’s warmest year recorded, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened this century.  Climate change poses risks to our national security, our economy, and our public health.  The President has already taken historic steps to address climate change, but there’s more that the United States and the international community can do.  That’s why next Wednesday, on Earth Day, in the latest part of his effort to call attention to and act on the threat of climate change, the President will visit the Florida Everglades and speak about the threat that climate change poses to our economy and to the world.






Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
April 18, 2015

Hi everybody.  Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home.  And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.  This winter was cold in parts of our country – as some folks in Congress like to point out – but around the world, it was the warmest ever recorded.

And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe.  Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.

And on Earth Day, I’m going to visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy.  The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country.  But it’s also one of the most fragile.  Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.

So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored.  The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead.  And that’s what we’re doing.  We’re using more clean energy than ever before.  America is number one in wind power, and every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.  We’re taking steps to waste less energy, with more fuel-efficient cars that save us money at the pump, and more energy-efficient buildings that save us money on our electricity bills.

So thanks in part to these actions, our carbon pollution has fallen by 10 percent since 2007, even as we’ve grown our economy and seen the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record.  We’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China has committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.  And because the world’s two largest economies came together, there’s new hope that, with American leadership, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late.

This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency.  It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them.  It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm.  It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.  This is the only planet we’ve got.  And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Different Priorities for Florida: The President’s Tax Policies Support Middle-Class


In February, the President released a Budget built on the progress we have made—12.1 million new jobs over 61 straight months of job growth—through middle-class economics, the simple idea that our economy works best when it’s working for everyone. In recent weeks, Republicans in Congress have put out their budget resolutions and subsequent tax proposals that would return our economy to the same trickle-down economics that has failed us before.
Today’s report from the White House and Treasury adds new details on the impact that many of these tax policies would have on working and middle-class families in each state, and this state-based fact sheet shows how these policies would affect Florida.
Budgets are about priorities, and the tax proposals for individuals and families in the President’s Budget highlight how different his priorities are from those embodied in the Republican agenda. While the President’s proposals build on his six years of delivering for the middle class and working families, the Republican proposals slash taxes for the most fortunate Americans at the expense of the middle class.
The Republican proposals stand in stark contrast to the President’s FY 2016 Budget, which would bring middle-class economics into the 21st Century. The contrast in economic visions couldn't be clearer:
The President’s Priorities: The President’s Budget provides significant benefits for a wide range of middle-class and working families, from a boost for low-wage workers from expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to substantial tax cuts for middle-income parents with children in daycare or in college.
Congressional Republican Priorities: Republicans in Congress have taken a very different approach by including huge tax giveaways to the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class.
How the President’s Tax Proposals Support Middle Class and Working Families
The President’s proposals would benefit:
·         5.1 million families who would get an average of $900 more to help pay for child care as a result of tripling the maximum child care tax credit for young children to $3,000 per child, allowing more middle-income families to claim the full credit, and other reforms;
·         8.5 million families and students who would get an average of $750 more to help pay for college, while filing would be simplified for more than 25 million students and families who claim education tax benefits;
·         30 million more workers who would gain access to retirement savings opportunities at work;
·         24 million two-earner families who would benefit from a new tax credit for families in which both spouses work; and
·         13.2 million low-wage workers who would get a larger Earned Income Tax Credit.
·         In total, 44 million working and middle-class families would get tax cuts averaging nearly $600 through the President’s proposals.
What the President’s Policies Mean for Florida Families
·         The President’s expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that he initially signed into law as part of the Recovery Act in 2009 and were subsequently extended through 2017 are benefiting   1 Florida families in 2015—delivering a total of $965 million in tax relief.
·         President Obama’s proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers who do not have children living at home would benefit 1,004,000 Florida workers.
·         The President’s second earner credit for two-earner families would give a tax cut of up to $500 to 1,161,000 working families in Florida.
·         And in Florida, where the average annual cost of center-based child care for two children was $15,023 in 2013, the President’s proposal to triple the maximum child care tax credit for young children to $3,000 per child is sorely needed.
Building on a Strong Record for Middle-Class and Working Families: The President’s new policies build on his leadership over the last six years. During his first term in office, the President cut taxes by $3,600 for a typical middle-class family, helping families weather the Great Recession and getting the economy back on track. He created the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), providing college students with up to $10,000 of assistance over four years, and he strengthened the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), helping 16 million working families with children make ends meet. Finally, as part of the “fiscal cliff” agreement at the end of 2012, the President pushed to end expensive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, reducing the deficit by almost $800 billion over the next 10 years. At the same time, he pushed to continue tax cuts for middle-class families. As a result, middle-class taxes are at historically low levels, with the typical middle-income family paying lower federal income taxes than in almost any other period in the last 60 years.
How the Republicans’ Tax Proposals Affect Middle Class and Working Families
Republicans in Congress have taken a very different approach by including huge tax giveaways to the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class. The Republican budgets and subsequent proposals include:
·         Huge Tax Cuts for the Top: The proposals specified in the House Republican budget would cut taxes for millionaires by an average of more than $50,000, even before adding their proposed cuts to tax rates.
·         Another Huge Tax Cut for the Wealthy on Top of their Budget: In addition to the tax cuts for millionaires in their budget, House Republicans added yet another tax break for the wealthiest Americans to their agenda before the ink in their budget had dried, proposing to eliminate the estate tax on the largest estates. This tax cut wouldcost $270 billion over the next ten years and apply only to estates valued at over about $5.5 million (or $11 million for a couple) in 2016, so it would only benefit a small fraction of the top one percent of estates.
o   In 2016, Republicans’ tax break for large estates would benefit only 660 of the wealthiest households in Florida.
·         A Tax Hike for Middle-Class and Working Families: The Republican budgets do nothing to prevent a tax increase on millions of working families and students. And in the past, they have made clear they would let this tax increase happen – raising taxes by an average of $1,000 for some 25 million families struggling to make ends meet or pay for college.
The Bottom Line:
The House Republicans’ plan to cut taxes on the largest estates would benefit only 660 of the wealthiest households in Florida. In Florida, the President’s proposals would:
·         protect the Recovery Act tax cuts for 1,600 times that many working families with children,
·         cut taxes for 1,500 times that many workers who do not have children living at home,
·         and cut taxes for 1,800 times that many two-earner families.
House Republicans want to increase deficits by $270 billion to cut taxes for just the 5,400 wealthiest households nationwide each year. That’s nearly the entire cost of the President’s middle-class tax agenda, which would cut taxes for 44 million working and middle-class families.
Here’s another way to look at the choices:
The wealthiest households in America would get, on average, more than $3 million of tax giveaways from House Republicans’ plan to scrap the tax on the largest estates—including only 660 estates that would reap the rewards of that policy in Florida.
·         What could that $3 million get you instead? Instead of giving more than $3 million apiece in tax breaks to each of the largest estates—including only 660 Florida households—each $3 million tax cut could fund:
o   Tax cuts to help cover the cost of child care for more than 3,500 families. Beneficiaries of the President’s child care tax reforms would get a $900 average tax cut, on average.
o   Tax cuts to help make college affordable for more than 4,000 families and students. Beneficiaries of the President’s education tax reforms would get a $750 tax cut, on average.
o   A new second earner tax credit for more than 8,500 two-earner families, providing up to $500 to families where both spouses work.
o   An improved tax credit for more than 6,500 low-wage workers who would benefit from the President’s proposal to modify the Earned Income Tax Credit to better reward work.