July 6th, 2006

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Fiscal Responsibility New Jersey vs. Florida

The state of New Jersey is in the midst of a budget crisis that has led to a total government shutdown. This crisis in New Jersey underscores the significance of every state's fiscal policies and the potential harm those policies can have on us all when they are mismanaged, regardless of geographic location or status as a "red" or "blue" state. A major contrast exists between Florida's approach to money management and New Jersey's, and this has been made so very clear by the events of the past few days.

In a nutshell, the Democrat-led Legislature and Democrat Governor are facing a $4.5 billion deficit and are locked in a stalemate over whether or not to increase the state sales tax from 6% to 7% to pay for this deficit, essentially holding the people of New Jersey hostage to their infighting. To date, over 45,000 state employees have been furloughed, while many others are working without pay.

To illustrate the disruption, the lockdown of one industry alone has resulted in a loss of approximately $1.3 million in tax revenue a day, dollars that are specifically earmarked for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Moreover, New Jersey enjoys a brisk tourism industry, and the closing of state parks and beaches will have an unknown but certainly adverse effect on the state's bottom line. To put it in perspective, tourism is Florida's largest industry-can you imagine the consequences should our state take such a financial hit?

A Tale of Two States:

Florida New Jersey

No Income Tax Up to 6.4% Income Tax
6% Sales Tax Raising Sales Tax rate to 7%
Hurricane Preparedness and NO Sales Tax Holidays
Back-to-School Tax Holidays
$6.4 Billion in RESERVES $4.5 Billion in DEFICIT

How can two states be so far apart in their economic health? The answer is simple: Governor Bush and Florida's Republican-led Legislature have embraced conservative fiscal management policies, worked to return tax dollars to the people, and focused on growing jobs and diversifying the economy. We have passed sales tax holidays to help families shop for back-to-school items and hurricane preparedness items. As Governor Bush has said, "When it comes to taxes, less is really more," so our Republican leadership has been able to cut $15 billion in taxes since 1999. During that time, state revenues have grown by 51%, the state has consistently been a leader in the number of new jobs created and, just as importantly, our financial reserves have increased by approximately 530%.

Ultimately, Florida and New Jersey couldn't be further apart, and the picture couldn't be clearer: Republican fiscal policies in Florida have been enormously successful, while big government, tax-and-spend Democrats have ground the state of New Jersey to a halt. The stakes are high and the choices are clear: continue sound Republican fiscal leadership or bring in New Jersey-style Democrat policies that lead to big government and higher taxes...while obviously failing to solve any critical problems.

Written by Carole Jean Jordan
Chairman, Republican Party of Florida
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Flicks 2003: "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

Of all the movies released during this Summer season, the best word of mouth I have heard has been that of "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Back Pearl." I had always enjoyed the ride in the theme park and I was looking forward to seeing a fun Saturday Matinee swashbuckler. Instead, this Jerry Bruckheimer movie turned out to be a big disapointment for me.

The film opens with promise. Little Elizabeth witnesses a shipwreck and spots a lone survivor, Will Turner. Many years later, Little Elizabeth has become the govenor's daughter (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is a blacksmith's apprentice. When the notorious Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives in port, the plot supposedly begins.

The shipwreck that the children witnessed years before was caused by Villianous Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his ghostly crew. This haunted crew of the Black Pearl is seeking a gold medallion and the blood of Will Turner. Through mistaken identity, Elizabeth is kidnapped by Captain Barbossa and the Carribbean sea chase begins. Captain Jack Sparrow is a mercenary who plays both Barbossa and Will Turner against each other.

Much has been said about Johnny Depp's rock star interpetation of a Carribbean pirate. Depp gives an adequate performance that relys on gifted comedic timing. Given his work on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, young Orlando Bloom is a likeable swashbuckler in the Tyrone Power/Errol Flynn mold. Geoffrey Rush is too likeable to be taken seriously as the film's primary villian. Keira Knightley is the pretty treasure in this movie and she gives a sincere performance.

Being a Jerry Bruckheimber production, the ticket purchaser can expect a flurry of outrageous action, hammy acting and many crowd scenes of people shouting. This film suffers from overkill and too many repetitive scenes of swordfighting at night . The idea of featuring the skeleton warriors battling mortal man had potential, but too much surpise is given away early on.

There needed to be more tall ships on the open sea and Director Gore Verbinski missed an opportunity to present the majestry of these grand ships. The one sea battle between these ships becomes mired by questionable editing choices and a lack of focus.

This is the second Walt Disney film to be based on their theme ride. "The Country Bears" was the first and "The Haunted Mansion," to be released in November, may be the last if the studio executives do not hire more competent screenwriters. "The Pirates of the Carribbean : The Curse of the Black Pearl" needed to be more seaworthy with less reliance on special effects.