Gov. Rick Scott today opens a four-day image-rebuilding “listening tour” to promote his call for cuts of $500 million in taxes and fees by the Legislature next year, when he will be seeking a new term.
In a series of meetings with local chambers of commerce in five important TV markets, Scott will amplify an evolving theme of his re-election campaign: that as the economy improves, taxpayers should get some of their money back.
“It’s your money,” Scott said, borrowing the tour’s title. “My commitment is, I’m going to find a way to reduce taxes and fees by $500 million. I want to hear from citizens.”
The state projects a surplus of $845 million next year after paying for expected growth in programs, such as increased public school enrollment, and putting aside $1 billion in reserves.
But even though the state budget grew by $4 billion this year, Scott’s only tax cut idea was a sales tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers scaled back considerably.
The 2013 session was noteworthy for its lack of talk of tax cuts. That’s why news of Scott’s tour brought a welcome-to-the-party type reaction from Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who reminded Scott that senators voted for more than $200 million in auto tag fee reductions last session, which the House rejected and Scott ignored.