Gov. Scott to barnstorm the state with tax cut proposal

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Gov. Rick Scott embarks on a two-week campaign swing Monday to promote a proposed $1 billion package of tax and fee cuts he says he will champion if re-elected.  The “Let’s Keep Working” bus tour will include stops from Crawfordville to Boca Raton. It’s designed to remind voters of Scott’s record of cutting taxes and spending.

“We threw out Charlie Crist’s Obama playbook and cut taxes 40 times, cut spending and paid down our debt for the first time in decades,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “And now we’re going to continue Florida’s turnaround with a $1 billion tax cut commitment to Florida’s families over the next two years.”

Scott is facing former Gov. Charlie Crist in the campaign for governor.

Each provision of Scott’s proposal requires either voter or legislative approval to be implemented. The package includes a proposed constitution amendment to prevent property tax increases if a home’s value goes down. Other cuts include $200 million in sales tax holidays, phasing out the sales tax on commercial leases and reducing first-time registration fee for a vehicle by $120.

The Legislature has debated some of the ideas in the package. Lawmakers failed to act earlier this year on the commercial lease proposal. And legislators refined elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment into a three-year exemption.

Voters also have seen the property tax proposal too. It had appeared as Amendment 4 on the 2012 ballot and failed to get the needed 60 percent approval for passage. And Pasco County Tax Collect Mike Fasano dismissed its revival as as campaign talk.

Fasano told the AP he doesn’t think the governor has thought through the consequences of limiting local government’s ability to raise money during an economic downturn.

“It would tie the hands of every local government in the state of Florida” Fasano said. “There’s a true trickle-down effect that I don’t think Gov. Scott understands or just doesn’t want to understand because in my opinion this is nothing more than a political ploy.”

The Crist campaign responded to the proposal by pointing out Scott signed a budget this year that forces local governments to increase property taxes by about $400 million to pay for schools.

Scott’s campaign has scheduled 28 stops on the two-week “Let’s Keep Working Tax Cut” bus tour  of the state.