House Speaker Marco Rubio all but called the Senate quitters on the property-tax issue in a Tuesday conference call with reporters. He said he has all but given up hope that a new property-tax issue will pass the Legislature in the spring because the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate said they were done with the issue.
"Unfortunately what was produced yesterday will end up being the very best that Tallahassee can produce. It's a small solution to a very big problem,'' he said. He said Rubio said it would "be ideal" if the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission picked up where legislators left off, but he wasn't sure if the special Constitutional group would be able to come up with anything for voters, either.
He said a citizens' petition, therefore, was the likely default but was "the least desirable route" because of laws limiting those proposed amendments to a single subject and there's no in-depth fiscal analysis of what effect such a proposal would do.
Rubio said he wouldn't campaign against this amendment. "I don't view myself as campaigning for this," Rubio said, noting Gov. Charlie Crist is campaigning for it. Rubio said "I might" show up to a Miami event with Crist tomorrow "if I'm invited." He initially said he didn't know anything about the event, and later said he might show or might not because he's giving a speech in Orlando night.
Crist and Senate leaders have said one of the strengths of the new plan is that it's popular in public-opinion surveys. But Rubio seemed to take issue with that.
"I don't think leadership equates to polling. You do what's right. You do what you think is best and then you use your persuasive capital," Rubio said. "I don't think Martin Luther King took polls. I don't think Abraham Lincoln took polls."