#EmailInsights: Rick Scott campaign fails in basic knowledge of funding education

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When is paying more in property taxes not considered a tax increase? Apparently, it is when you are on Rick Scott’s campaign team.

In the latest email from Charlie Crist, there is only one explanation for why the governor believes taxes paid on rising property values statewide — money he Scott is using for Florida education spending – is not a tax increase.

Scott simply does not comprehend how Florida funds education.

“It’s property values – not property tax rates – that are on the rise in Florida’s fast-recovering economy under Rick Scott, leading to more revenue for schools,” said Scott campaign spokesperson Greg Blair in an email in advance of Crist’s Monday press conference.

However, AP reporter Gary Fineout attempts set the incumbent governor straight.  In a series of tweets, Fineout points to a major flaw in Scott’s logic:

“If Scott for Florida doesn’t believe that using rise in property/increase in tax collections isn’t a tax hike go ask @marcorubio.”

It was in 2007 when then-state Reps. Marco Rubio and Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Scott’s current lieutenant governor, pushed through legislation forcing tax rollbacks that relied on the rise in Florida property values.

“Anytime people pay more in taxes, it’s a tax increase,” Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald quotes Rubio in a tweet on Monday.

But for the Scott campaign, it’s not.

“It is remarkable that after four years, in addition to not supporting public schools, Rick Scott doesn’t even understand the basic formula for how the state funds education,” said Crist spokesperson Kevin Cate. “The state sets the property tax levels that school districts have to charge in order to receive state funds.”

“This year, Cate adds, “in order to receive an additional $175 million in state funding, the Legislature mandated that local school districts increase property taxes by $400 million.

“Last year, he increased them by $150 million.  That’s not campaign spin. That’s just a fact.”

Using increased property taxes to fund schools; if that is not a tax hike, what is it?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.