Sunday, September 17, 2006

Jeb's Real Motivations On Taxes & Education

Wayne Garcia has noted that Floridians are displeased with higher taxes (see here and here.) Voters have reason to be. What Garcia fails to mention is this is a tax shift. By that, I mean local communities are forced to make up the money they would have gotten from the state. In 2005, Florida adjusted spending to $6,492 a year for each student. That was $1,200 less than the national average.

Jeb Bush has refused to adjust taxes to properly deal with growth and inflation. This had more to do with electability than ideology. Bush saw his father not get re-elected by breaking his "no new taxes" pledge. Sure Jeb has a distain for teachers' unions and public education. He's not honest enough to admit it. He knows he would have never done a second term. His vouchers program is so unpopular that only 700 students paticipate. He believes in the FCAT so much that he refused to have private schools tested. Bush has also manipulated graduation rates (see here and here.)

Bush has done something far more cunning. He has forced local lawmakers to raise taxes. That way he can keep his no tax increases pledge.

Senate Bill 1020 would clearly expand the ability of counties and cities to generate tax revenues beyond current constitutional limitations for property taxes. The bill [clauses passed] without going through a committee and without public debate raising concerns over the awareness of the implications of this [clause]. While I remain sensitive to the financial needs of rural counties, this legislation is not narrowly crafted address those needs. Even in the absence of this legislation, rural counties still have other revenue-raising methods, such as municipal service taxing units, available to them to help address these needs.

When the St. Petersburg Times reported that Bush supported a tax increase he became enraged. Bush would later duck by withholding his approval of SB 1020. The counties are still paying the bill.


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