Friday's Top Stories
By - 9/26/2008

FRIDAY, SEPT. 26, 2008

Support, Criticism for Plan to Rewrite Mortgage-Loan Terms

Florida Trend is...

Sept. 1969
By the late '60s, Florida produced 20% of the beef it consumed. In 1969, state ranchers sold $120 million worth of cattle. In 2006, it was $484 million.

A plan by Democrats to allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgage-loan terms for struggling homeowners as part of the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout has the support of some Florida jurists.The judges say the proposal would let them lower the interest rate on home loans for borrowers who enter Chapter 13 bankruptcy because of a pending foreclosure. A Chapter 13 allows individuals to reorganize their debts.Right now, bankruptcy judges can modify the terms of all kinds of loans except those on a first home.''Since we can't help [homeowners], they end up losing their home and that may mean breaking up their family and putting them out on the street,'' said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol in Miami.Added U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel M. Isicoff: ''Every bankruptcy judge I've spoken with feels strongly that this is a tool that they should be given.'' She has talked with about 30 judges, she said. [Source: Miami Herald]


Florida's Budget May Be Cut Again

Even after $7-billion in spending cuts, raids on cash reserves and salary freezes for state workers, the Florida budget is not back in the black: Another $800-million in red ink must be erased this year.That raises questions of whether a 4% across-the-board spending holdback imposed on state programs by Gov. Charlie Crist will have to be made permanent for the second year in a row by the Legislature, forcing deeper cuts.Normally, agencies receive 25% of their annual budget each quarter to spend. Crist's order means agencies are receiving just 24% to save money. The second quarter begins Wednesday.Agency officials say, so far, they have absorbed the reduced funding by leaving jobs vacant and cutting travel and purchases.Over a full year, the 4% holdback amounts to about $900-million, of which $419-million would be in education alone. [Source: St. Petersburg Times]