Gov. Rick Scott swung through Fort Lauderdale yesterday as part of a campaign-style "tax cut tour" to galvanize support for a quixotic $500 million tax cut he wants to jam through the state Legislature this coming term.
Calling it his "primary goal" for next year, Scott again reiterated the apparent need to shave more taxes from one of the least-taxed states in the nation.
But local Democrats expressed bewilderment at that reasoning.
Our local Fort Lauderdale official, Senate Democratic leader Chris Smith, said our universities and infrastructure are atrophying all over the state. "We need an investment tour instead of election-year vote-buying," he told the Tampa Bay Times. "We have neglected so many things for so many years."
Indeed, Report Card for America's Infrastructure recently hammered Florida with a grade of C-minus. According to that report, we need nearly $9 billion for our schools and $32 million for our parks, and nearly one-fourth of our roads are in terrible condition.
Translation: Our schools have fallen apart, our few parks are decrepit, and in a state that loves cars more than most, thousands of roads need repair.
What does this mean? WE NEED TO CUT TAXES.
This announcement is the equivalent of buying voters off. A recent Quinnipiac University Poll shows deep reservations about Rick Scott, with 43 percent saying they approve of him -- and a more-robust 44 percent saying they don't. Though this does show a seven-point improvement in Scott's numbers over the past year, the governor faces his most daunting challenge yet in this fall's election -- especially if former governor Charlie Crist decides to run.
So maybe's Scott's timing is the most aggravating thing involving his proposed tax cuts. Or possibly it's the fact we don't need them. No, wait. The most infuriating element of Scott's move is his lack of specificity. He won't tell anyone what taxes he wants to cut. Which has made this a rather bizarre "tax cut tour."
But his lack of specificity is also the clearest evidence that Scott is vote-baiting. He won't endanger any votes if he's not specific. So will a vague desire to cut taxes for unknown reasons work better?
Perhaps. Perhaps it will be Scott's ticket to another term.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.