Rick Scott Launches State Tour to Promote Tax Cuts
Around the State
Facing what should be a tough re-election campaign next year, on Tuesday Gov. Rick Scott launched the “It’s Your Money” tour to promote his proposal to slash $500 million in taxes and fees. Both Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and state House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, have expressed support for the governor’s proposal which will be one of the chief items the Legislature will grapple with during the 2014 session.
Scott appeared in West Palm Beach on Tuesday morning to gather input on which taxes and fees to cut. The governor’s team is pointing toward reducing various property taxes, cell phone taxes and car registration fees. Scott unveiled his proposal at a speech at an Americans for Prosperity event in Orlando at the end of last month.
"We're going to have a budget surplus now,” Scott added. “As you know, I came in with a big budget deficit. We've turned the economy around. So, as we do this, we should give some of your money back."
After appearing in West Palm Beach, Scott spoke in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon.
With less than 14 months until the general election, the political stakes are starting to be raised as Democrats hope to defeat Scott next year. Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, dismissed Scott’s trip this week as a political gimmick and hammered his record in office.
"As Rick Scott's bandwagon of false promises to the middle class rolls through Florida this week, the governor can expect to hear from Floridians who desperately need help,” Tant said on Tuesday. “Too many children need a better education. Too many Floridians are unemployed, and good-paying jobs are too hard to find.
"Rick Scott's response is to trumpet another taxpayer giveaway to the big special interests and the well-connected,” Tant added. “Over and over again, Rick Scott has demonstrated he has the wrong priorities for Florida's families."
Democrats continue to write off Scott’s proposal, including former Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, the only major candidate who filed to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination so far, and House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale.
“It doesn’t take a campaign-style tour to know that Floridians want smart investments in our state’s future, like good schools and public universities, and they don’t want false promises to the middle class,” Thurston said on Tuesday. “Instead of touting taxpayer giveaways that favor wealthy special interests and the politically connected, Governor Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders should focus on the needs of working families. Rather than gimmicks, it’s time that Florida’s leaders get serious about better funding for public schools, community colleges and universities.”
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) went to bat for the governor and his tax cut proposal on Tuesday and fired back on the Democrats.
“The Florida Democratic Party has chosen to join their leading liberal, Nan Rich, in opposing Rick Scott’s $500 million in proposed tax cuts that would help this state’s middle-class families,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry on Tuesday before turning his fire to the Florida Democratic Party. “It confirms that Allison Tant and her dysfunctional, desperate party stick to the failed liberal notion that tax relief and investing in education are mutually exclusive. Rick Scott has proven that by focusing on economic growth, tax cuts that spur job creation and lower Floridians’ cost of living go hand in hand with a budget that provides record state-based funding of our schools, a budget that nearly eight in 10 legislative Democrats supported.”
Scott will continue his tour the rest of the week. On Wednesday, Scott will speak in Jacksonville before heading to Tampa on Thursday. Scott will wrap up the tour with an event in Orlando on Friday afternoon.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.