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NYT: Rubio's Presidential Campaign Mirrors Florida Tax Fight

Image: NYT: Rubio's Presidential Campaign Mirrors Florida Tax Fight
(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 07:38 AM

Marco Rubio's campaign for the presidency mirrors in many ways his ambitious plan, while a young lawmaker in Florida, to replace the state's property tax on primary residences with a hike in the state's sales taxes: Both show too much confidence in his charisma and speeches, The New York Times reports.

"It showed how green he was in this process," Ed Connor, an anti-tax activist who worked with Rubio during his tax push in 2007, told The Times. "He didn't know how to go about it."

Then, as in the presidential race, Rubio delivered speeches, recruited donors, and was able to get many in the Republican establishment to sign on to his plan, which he was able, as a state House speaker, to push through.

When it came to the Senate, though, the plan met with resistance and was whittled down until little of the initial push was left.

Rubio's plan called to raise the state's sales tax by 2.5 cents per dollar, marking a 42 percent increase lifting it to 8.5 percent and alleviating a system that had left some Florida homeowners paying far more than others in taxes and attracting support from anti-tax activists, the predecessors of the state's tea party supporters.

However, Rubio did not have the political skills to get past his more seasoned Senate counterparts, and by the end, a plan that would have caused Rubio to be remembered for years, was not passed.

But big ideas seemed to be Rubio's signature after he became speaker at only 34 years of age, and the property tax idea was rejected because it would have left the government with less money and would raise taxes on people who did not rent property while saving property owners money, Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan state group, found.

"It is a very regressive tax," Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, told The Times. "The reality is that transaction-based taxes tend to be disproportionately on those of lower income."

And even now, Rubio admits that his timing for the tax was poor, and he says that he should have started earlier to build public support for it.

He also still speaks of a national sales tax to replace most existing federal taxes, telling a November radio interview that "if you were to start a country from scratch, that's what you want to do — a consumption tax. I actually tried to do that in Florida with the property tax."

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Marco Rubio's campaign for the presidency mirrors in many ways his ambitious plan, while a young lawmaker in Florida, to replace the state's property tax on primary residences with a hike in the state's sales taxes: Both show too much confidence in his charisma...
New York Times, Rubio, Campaign, Mirrors, Florida, Tax Fight
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Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 07:38 AM
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