Darryl Rouson speaks at Suncoast Tiger Bay11/08/07 Seán Kinane
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Attorney Darryl Rouson spoke this afternoon at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
Rouson is one of 25 members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission and is contemplating a run for the State House of Representatives as a Republican.
Rouson criticized local law firms for not hiring enough black lawyers and also took a shot at the Tiger Bay Club for its dearth of invited black speakers.
Not enough blacks are being appointed to serve as judges in Pinellas County, according to Rouson.
Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commissioners are currently drafting proposals and will be submitting them for committee assignment. If those proposals are voted out of committee, they would go to the full commission for a vote. A statutory measure needs a simple majority of 13 out of the 25 commissioners to pass; to get a referendum on the ballot for a constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds vote, or 17 of the commissioners. The process will be completed by May fourth when the results will be reported to the Secretary of State.
Rouson said he will propose a mandate for a regular review of all sales tax exclusions. He said he is also looking to increase the number of faith-based prisons in the state.
Florida is one of only seven states without a state income tax. Rouson was asked why a state income tax, even one that exempts anyone earning less than $50,000 a year, was not one of the items being seriously considered by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. Rouson said that there was “not broad support” for a state income tax.
Rouson said he had not yet decided whether he would run for State House District 55 but will make his decision by January. Rouson is suing Hillsborough County Schools on behalf of 15-year-old Shatavia Kendricks, a Middleton High School student.
Kendricks was suspended after telling administrators that Christina Butler, a 33-year-old teacher for the mentally disabled, was having sex with a 16-year-old male student. Butler was arrested last month. Rouson called Butler a sexual predator and said that it was outrageous how the school treated his client.
Rouson rejected the idea that the relationship between the teacher and the student could have been a consentual one.
Rouson is also representing the Rev. Bruce Wright, an advocate for the homeless, and several homeless people in a lawsuit against the city of St. Pete for slashing the tents in a tent city earlier this year.
The next Suncoast Tiger Bay Club meeting features Steven Strawder, a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a right-wing nativist militia.