A screenshot from a Free Market Florida clip (Pic via freemarketflorida.org)
A screenshot from a Free Market Florida clip (Pic via freemarketflorida.org)

Free Market Florida prepares to do battle with environmentalists

By | 03.01.11 | 2:08 pm

A new group claiming that California-style regulation and litigation are crippling Florida’s economy has launched to “take the fight to” environmental groups and other “special interests.”

Officially announced today, Free Market Florida describes itself as “a project of Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, Inc., a 501(c)(4) organization.”

A political committee, also called Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, last year ran the campaign against Amendment 4 — aka “Hometown Democracy” — and disbanded in January. A 501(c)(4) is a nonprofit organization that is allowed to lobby and run campaign ads without disclosing its donors. The new group’s address is listed as 610 South Blvd., Tampa, the home of dozens of political committees that operate in Florida and nationwide.

A letter on Free Market Florida’s home page from Florida Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Wilson says the group will help the business community take on “aggressive anti-free market groups”:

Those who oppose economic development and job creation will say or do anything and, until now, Florida’s business community has had to “gear up” for the multiple battles special interests wage. Now, with FreeMarketFlorida.org, the business community has a permanent effort, complimentary to that of the Florida Chamber and others, which will meet the opposition whenever and wherever they choose to engage.

Now is the time to take the fight to them.

Apparently that involves fighting EPA water quality regulations — known as numeric nutrient criteria, which the agency created for Florida after a lawsuit brought by environmental groups — and challenging the Department of Community Affairs, which the group describes as “Soviet-style” central planners whose activities should be left to local governments.

Gov. Rick Scott and committees in both houses of the state legislature are already working on plans to scale back the department’s functions.

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