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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Politics

State legislators’ net worths also going up, thanks to improving economy


Published:

— For most state lawmakers, 2013 was another good year financially, regardless of party.

Updated financial disclosure reports for last year were due July 1. And from the reports posted online as of last week, the average net worth in the Senate is just under $3.77 million, a little more than $1.4 million in the House.

Of those lawmakers whose reports were available, 119 recorded increases in net worth, 35 went down and two posted no change.

The boosts are due largely to stronger housing and stock markets.

Among Tampa Bay legislators, Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat and longtime attorney, joined the millionaire’s club.

Her net worth grew from $908,422 to $1,009,588.

On the other hand, Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat, reported a negative $127,138. He still is underwater on a pair of home loans.

Departing House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, reported his net worth declined from $288,075 to $285,259.

Weatherford drew $16,000 from Dallas-based Breckenridge Enterprises, and $102,785 from Red Eagle Group, a company that contracts with Simpson Environmental Services, headed by Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson.

Simpson, who represents parts of Pasco, Hernando and Sumter counties, is worth $18.1 million.

He’s the second-wealthiest senator after outgoing Senate President Don Gaetz, who posted a worth of $26 million.

Gaetz, a Niceville Republican with two years remaining in the Senate, is co-founder of VITAS Healthcare Corp.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, saw a bump in his net worth from $12.2 million to $14.1 million, records show. Brandes’ wealth comes in part from business interests and real estate holdings.

Rep. Dana Young, a Republican who represents South Tampa, posted a decline from just over $2 million to $1.4 million after taking losses in a money market account and other investments.

Rep. Mark Danish, a Tampa Democrat, also showed a decline, going from nearly $232,000 to $221,000.

A little more than $30,000 in income for each legislator comes from their state salaries, with the House speaker and Senate president paid $41,000 each.

While the reports were due July 1, lawmakers have until Sept. 2 to file them before facing fines.

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