Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón began this year’s legislative session with the goal of fixing the college’s outdated classrooms and decaying roofs.
Those renovations — and a whole lot more — would be the prize if the college could secure lawmakers’ support of its long-desired half-penny sales-tax increase.
The session ended with the sales-tax bill dying once again in the Legislature and Padrón scrambling to repair something besides buildings: a suddenly-tattered relationship with state lawmakers.
By publicly calling out four local lawmakers as “bullies” — and also attacking the future House speaker in harshly personal terms — Padrón doomed the sales-tax bill, which had been intended to raise $1 billion for the school. He also offended those who will hold the college’s purse strings in the future.
The damage may linger for years.
“They are in real trouble,” veteran Tallahassee lobbyist Ron Book said of MDC. “If they don’t figure this out, they will suffer when they don’t even know it. You cannot disrespect the Florida House of Representatives the way Eduardo Padrón did and expect it to go away on [the last day] of the legislative session.”
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