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Miami-Dade mayor calls tax-rate hike plan political 'misstep', faces heat over budget cuts


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the man who seemed prescient when he opposed an unpopular property-tax rate hike that hastened his predecessor’s ouster, didn’t see the political backlash coming when he proposed a tax increase of his own.

So intense was the outcry against Gimenez’s plan this month that he began backtracking just a day after unveiling his 930-page budget, surprising even top county administrators with his snap decision to reduce the hike.

Five days later, the mayor reversed course completely. He abandoned the rate increase altogether, calling it a “misstep,” and framed his new position as a sign that he listens to the people.

“People say I’m a flip-flopper,” Gimenez told the Miami Herald in an interview. “The thing is, hey, if you have to own up to it, the sooner, the better.”

The mayor justified his initial rate hike by saying reflected the cost of providing public services in Florida’s largest county. “I’m a pretty good administrator,” he said repeatedly, “but I’m not a magician.”

When he realized he didn’t have the political support to push the increase through, he cut his losses and acknowledged his miscalculation.

But his detractors — and suddenly there are many more of them — paint a much dimmer picture of Gimenez’s striking evolution on the tax rate, which will now remain flat and could force up to 400 employee layoffs, 22 library closures and the elimination of six fire and rescue trucks.

More here.