Dispatch from the future about the Sunshine State

The following satirical editorial was published in The Daily Sun on May 15, 2023.

Life sure has been a lot simpler here in the Free State of Florida since all political power has been consolidated in Tallahassee.

Yes, it’s a shame that it took until 2034 for Gov. Tucker Carlson to assemble the super-duper-majority needed to eliminate counties and cities as separate legal entities. But with the last vestiges of local government and home rule wiped out, we no longer have to bother to learn who’s running for what office, or what they’re trying to pass a referendum on.

It freed up some of the time we used to waste on attending meetings and voting, too.

If only someone had made it clear earlier that local control isn’t actually better, like we were told for so long, we’d have surrendered complete authority over our lives to the governor and Legislature WAY earlier.

Instead, to our eternal shame, we made them work for it, chipping away at the power counties and cities had under the Constitution because we were under the delusion that the people most directly answerable to us were the ones best situated to make local laws.

How naive we were not to see that uniformity and consistency are so much better in a state like Florida.

And not to realize that the sooner any diversity was wiped out, the sooner we could focus on enjoying what was left of the state’s natural beauty before it all got paved over or polluted.

But now we see the sense in the passage of laws that pre-empted local ordinances on fertilizer, for example, so Gulf-front Sarasota County and the landlocked counties in the middle of the state would be treated equally.

We certainly don’t miss all those local regulations on what could be built where that inhibited the construction of affordable housing. True, almost none has been built, but market forces will fix that any day now.

And when they do, we won’t have to worry about any attempt to put a tenant’s bill of rights in place or, even worse, impose rent control.

No one can question school-related improvements, however. Not having to buy textbooks or stock a library has saved the Sarasota County School District a fortune.

While the saving hasn’t trickled down to us, it has helped with the added expense of making all students eligible for school-choice vouchers. Otherwise, think how much higher school taxes would be above what they had to be raised to in order to pay for that.

Fortunately, the economy is booming here now that businesses are no longer subject to the whims of local governments and unions have been regulated nearly out of existence. Orlando may still be hurting following the departure of Disney and all the businesses that depended on it, but that just opens up opportunities for the rest of the state to appeal for tourist dollars.

Cities will receive a windfall in short-term rental income now that they don’t have to spend money regulating them, though it’s making more work for law enforcement. But you have to break some eggs to make an omelet.

Yes, life is good in the Free State of Florida, even if we didn’t know what we were becoming free of was some of our rights.