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Rick Scott two-fer: big tax cut + swipe at Charlie Crist tax increases


Gov. Rick Scott will make an election-year pledge Thursday to cut $401 million in auto-tag fees that could save a typical driver about $25 yearly and put some political heat on his 2014 challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Scott plans to make the announcement in Tampa -- Crist's stronghold -- but he isn't expected to detail an additional $100 million in other tax and fee relief he might want.

While the auto-tag fees were raised by Crist and the Republican-led Legislature in 2009, Crist noted in a statement Wednesday that Scott had allowed the fees to remain for the past three years.

"It’s about time! When these fees were passed by Rick Scott’s colleagues and signed into law they were never meant to be permanent," Crist said in a statement. "I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Governor Scott to realize that it’s time to roll these fees back – better late than never.”

The governor's fellow Republicans who control the Legislature say they want to see more details, but they like what they've heard so far -- especially because it gives them the chance to reduce the unpopular fee increase four years ago.

"I've had three campaigns since then and knocked on thousands of doors, and this is the tax increase people remember," said Senate budget chief Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who last year passed a measure to scale back the fees.

"Government has a bad habit of raising fees in times of need but not revisting them when times improve," Negron said. "This puts a little extra money back in people's pockets."

In targeting auto-tag fees, Scott is highlighting the tax-and-fee increases passed in 2009 by the Florida Legislature and approved by then-Gov. Crist. Crist, who two years previously approved a mammoth property tax-cut package, broke a pledge on increasing taxes when he signed that budget.

Driving lawmakers' need for the 2009 tax increases: the shoddy condition of Florida's budget, running red with shortfalls in the depths of the recession. To fill the budget hole -- and qualify for billions in federal stimulus money -- Crist and his then-fellow Republicans raised $2.2 billion in taxes and fees, including the auto-tag fee about $1 billion of which came from a new cigarette tax to help fund Medicaid.

The stimulus money and tax increases helped prevent large cuts to schools and social-service programs. As the budget went into effect, in the summer of 2009, the rate of Florida's precipitous job losses stopped, but unemployment remained persistently high.

Dogged by the bad economy and his embrace of President Obama's stimulus program, Crist mounted an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2010, when Marco Rubio chased him out of the GOP. Crist ran and lost as an independent and is now seeking his old job as a Democrat.

Now, Florida has climbed out of the recession and the state has a projected budget surplus of $1 billion -- making the election-year call to cut half of it a relatively easy left in the GOP-led Legislature during the regular lawmaking session this spring.

"Obviously, we're very supportive of the governor's call to cut taxes," said House budget chairman Seth McKeel. "We're in a year where we can afford it, and we're excited to be on board with him cutting taxes."


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Sorry with everything Scott has done to florida a tax break of 25 dollars is just another one of his parlor tricks....he only has a surplus because he took money ear marked for education/taxed state worker and continues to do so...everything Scott has done has been a sham to middle class workers and the poor. I'd rather have paid the 25 dollars in keeping the infrastructure sound and seeing our kids get the education we paid for(Scoot took away) and I'd rather see state employees get the money back Scott took with a lie to fund 3% t FRS...that money went to the general fund and is now what he used to pretend to give out statewide raises...he gave a little of their own money back ...How much money has Scott raised by supporting the rich only class? How about that Will Weatherford? what happened to all the money Scott took in cuts?


I will vote for Crist and I do not mind paying for somthing our kids and infrastructure needs...we need to get rid of the Republican wealthy only club that promotes and is GOP funded...Our tax dollars meant a lot to this state and Scott has picked it to the bone for the rich and elite like his favorite self....700,000 jobs was a lie as he actually lost 50,000 jobs vote more Gops in with tea party ideals and we all lose


I don't make a lot of money but whatever the tag increase was 4 years ago it was so inconsequential I didn't even notice it. I don't want $25 more in my pocket if it means cuts to education or less state funds to counties and municipalities and they have to raise property taxes to cover police and fire and everything else.

It seems like Crist did what had to be done at the time. And Scott is insulting me if he thinks he can buy my vote for a lousy $25/year!

ed jenkins

Once again Scott shows why he has won over democrat primary voters like myself who initially did not vote for him due to doubts bout a political novice. This man has worked miracles with a disaster that the scumbag republican/independent/now calls himself democrat Crist left him to the point where we are all going to get money back from a horrible and unnecessary tax increase imposed by the scumbag Crist. It is no wonder why many readers of this hometown paper approve of the job Scott has been doing judging by their contacts with me to agree.

Indie Thinker

$25? Wow. We can all take the family out to McDonald's for that price. This is a pittance compared to the substantial tax breaks being given to corporations.

Rebecca Mungo

You left out Adrian Wyllie !! We have more then two choices!


There is another person running, some one that IS diffrent than the other 2 parties. Some one that actually believes in the Constitution, Liberty, Freedom and THE PEOPLE!
Adrian Wyllie

John Brewer

Why wont you give Adrian Wyllie libertarian candidate a chance? He is polling at 15%. There is no real choice between skeletor and flip flopping politics. Evidence of how the media shapes our elections. Shame on you.

Jote' Thompson

Another boring article from the two party fan club, the Miami Herald. The Miami Herald needs YOU the voter to keep voting for the "Lessor of two Evils" for their corporate profit and perks. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is cris crossing Florida to standing ovations and will be the next Governor of Florida and all the Miami Herald can say is "nothing". Buyer beware, is your newspapers not giving you the whole story?

Jonathan Vasquez

I support Adrian Wyllie for Governor. No more Republicrats

Nicholas Berg

Enough of the Democrats and Republicans, I am tired of both of them. I will be supporting the Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie for Governor. It is high time we looked past the two party system.


Why choose between Dr. Quaalude Scott or Charlie "The Waffle" Christ? There's another candidate running for governor, Adrian Wyllie who is not politics as usual. The press should bow their heads in shame for leaving him out of the coverage but it's what I've come to expect from the media today.

Paul Henry

The better choice is Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who would have not signed off on the huge tax increases to not only tags but driver licenses as well. The cost of a license went from $20 to $48 thanks to the national ID card program called REAL ID, which Mr. Crist signed into law and which Mr. Scott has done nothing about. That program has cost the state millions of dollars for no valid reason- Ohio recently backed out of it along with 19 other states that have passed legislation against it.

Jeff Douglas

I support Adrian Wyllie Libertarian candidate for Florida Governor over the two traditional progressive candidates because Adrian Wyllie understands government has over reached itself into our lives. Vote Libertarian!


I'm voting for ADRIAN WYLLIE, the Libertarian candidate.

Michael Higgs

You only mention two candidates, of Republican Rick Scott and Republican Charlie Crist....oops, I meant Independent.....oops, I meant Democrat......oops, I meant Progressive.

Where is the candidate from the third largest party in America? Where is your commentary of Adrian Wyllie?

We The People are tired of only having two choices for candidates and political parties. We deserve better. We deserve more.

Please show fairness. Please show open mindedness. Please consider your readers and their need for better choices for the state of Florida.

Thank you.

Sent from my iPad


I am voting for Adrian Wyllie. Enough of the two party fraud.

Ken Willey

$25? Every little bit helps, but this is insulting. Are we all supposed to all jump on the Scott bandwagon because he will allow us to keep an extra $25 we earned? If he's going to throw pocket change at us then get rid of Real ID.

I'm with Adrian Wyllie, who will make meaningful cuts to taxes and spending.

Traci W

Voting for real freedom and liberty! Adrian Wyllie for governor!!! Shame on media for not mentioning this candidate. www.wyllieforgovernor.com


My vote is with Adrian Wyllie. I could care less about what these other 2 clowns are doing. One has an identity crisis and the other wants to steal all the money for himself. At least I know with Adrian, I can get someone that isn't in it for himself.

Ken Martin

Crist and Scott represent the left and right wing of the same diseased buzzard. Why does the news not report that there is a third candidate gaining ground in Florida? It is a dereliction of duty to ignore a viable candidate who could clean up the mess the two parties have created! COVER WYLLIE!


There is another candidate in this race that the public deserves to know about: Libertarian Adrian Wyllie.

Please include him in future articles for FL Governor. People are tired of this same big government monopoly that the Democrats and Republicans hold over our heads. We want something different!


Rick Adams

To hell with these two jokers, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead!

Jim Burkiewicz

Please cover the best choice for florida Governor, Adrian Wyllie. Hopefully Florida will have the chance to stop Obamacare, the further erosion of our 2nd Amendment rights by Rick Scott as well as stopping commen core. The only way to accomplish this is by electing Adrian Wyllie as our next Governor. wyllieforgovernor.com

William Dail

Good thing I live in the Florida Keys, I don't have to deal with Miami's non news coverage on a daily basis! Why do you not cover ALL the candidates in Florida's race for Governor? Scott wants to lower tag fees, he has had his whole time in office to do that! Now he wants to get around to doing it just because he is up for reelection? Too little too late Scott! The ONLY sensible candidate in the Governor's race is Adrian Wyllie. Why is he not being covered? Floridians are tired of the status quo and Adrian Wyllie is the only choice Florida has for fixing this mess!

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