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Scott: 'Ridiculous' for Legislature to drag feet on tax cut

Gov. Rick Scott fired back at legislative leaders Tuesday for not embracing his call to eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing
equipment, one of his two priorities in the 2013 session.

With frustration evident in his voice, Scott said he believed he had agreement with legislative leaders to repeal the tax for a three-year period. Neither the Senate president nor the House speaker would confirm that Monday night.

"I don't know what they're saying now. They'll have to explain that," Scott said. "It would be ridiculous not to cut taxes in a year when we have a budget surplus."

Scott went on to say: "They have to explain what they meant. I know that we had an agreement, a three-year agreement."

An analysis says repeal of the tax would result in a loss of about $140 million in sales tax revenue to the state, cities and counties. The budget before lawmakers is $74.5 billion, and is about $4 billion higher than current spending.

Scott didn't stop there: He directly criticized the Legislature for writing a budget that includes a 3 percent tuition increase on in-state students. To Scott, raising tuition is the same as raising taxes, which he also called "ridiculous."

Senate President Don Gaetz's spokeswoman, Katie Betta, said Gaetz was reluctant to say the deal on the tax cut was final because nothing was yet in writing.

The Republican governor has until midnight Wednesday to act on three major bills involving alimony, ethics and
campaign finances. All three are legislative priorities.

"I'm reviewing the bills. I'm going to make the right decision for 19.2 million Floridians," Scott said. "I don't look at this as politics. I look at this as, how do you take care of people in our state?"

-- Steve Bousquet