Rick Scott touts $500 million tax cut, bashes Charlie Crist's record

05/06/14 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, 2014 election, tax cuts


Florida Governor Rick Scott is touring the state bragging about a half billion dollar tax cut

photo by Janelle Irwin

On the second day of his “Help is on the way” campaign tour, Florida Governor Rick Scott is patting himself on the back for cutting taxes. Scott stopped at Brandon Honda Tuesday to point out that most of the cuts will give drivers a little relief on their auto registration fees.

“$500 million back in Florida’s hands. $400 million of it was a fee that Charlie Crist increased back in 2009.”

That $400 million sounds like a lot of money, but what it translates to might not be so impressive. Car owners will save about $25 on their vehicle registration next year.

“So, you can buy a house or, more importantly today, buy a car. You can make sure you can put food on the table.”

Scott’s biggest threat to winning back the governor’s mansion this year, Charlie Crist, is criticizing the $400 million tax cut by arguing Scott is also increasing property taxes by the same amount. Scott says he did no such thing.

“The value of properties are going up. People are moving to our state. They’re getting jobs. When that happens, our revenues go up. That’s how we can make record investments in K-12, record investments in state colleges, record investments in universities and, we have for the second year in a row, performance funding for our universities tied to, do you get a job, what’s it cost to get a degree, do you make more money?

Property taxes will go up, but not because Scott raised taxes. The budget he signed this year keeps the required local rate on property taxes the same as last year. But because the tax base has expanded, it will increase revenue by about $350 million. That will go toward public schools, which will probably be one of Scott’s biggest talking points from now until November. Supporters, including Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist – the good Crist as Scott called him - are already jumping on that bandwagon.

“What we see is more money being spent on education than historically before.”

Scott also signed a bill that lets undocumented students who grew up in Florida go to a state university for the same price as their peers. And he convinced the legislature to support a college tuition freeze. That’s something he’s throwing in the face of his rival.

“Charlie Crist passed legislation that increased tuition in our universities 15% a year.”

Scott was joined on a makeshift stage in the Honda showroom by state lawmakers and a sprinkling of supporters. His newly appointed Lt. Governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, also took to bashing Florida’s former governor.

“Governor Crist is a lot about words, but not big on action. And you can’t trust what he says. I mean, today he is campaigning with Bill Clinton, the same guy, a couple years ago, he called on to resign as President of the United States. So, Charlie Crist will say anything. Just put a camera in front of him.”

Lopez-Cantera said that in front of about a half dozen cameras. Other state Republicans also joined in supporting Scott in his re-election bid. House Speaker Will Weatherford applauded Scott’s leadership. And Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, who has butted heads with Scott in the past, is on board too.

“Governor Scott – what you see is what you get. You won’t get something different tomorrow. You won’t see a total change of philosophy based on a poll or based on some whim that might come along.”

Latvala is referring to Crist’s political slip and slide that saw a change from Republican to independent and then to Democrat. Though Crist and Scott are considered frontrunners, there are 33 candidates listed on the Florida Division of Elections website. That includes Democrat Nan Rich and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie.

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