On Tuesday, November 4th, Florida will host what looks like a nail-biter of a gubernatorial election. Republican Governor Rick Scott is running for reelection against Democrat Charlie Crist. Nearly every available poll has this race tied and the results of the race may have a huge impact on Sunshine State taxpayers.
The records of the two candidates could not provide a more clear choice when it comes to taxes, unemployment, job growth, and the overall economy.
When Charlie Crist took office as governor in 2006, unemployment was at 3.5%, he had made a written commitment to oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes, and he was a Republican. When he left office, Florida had lost more than 830,000 jobs, unemployment had risen to 11.1%, he had signed more than $2 billion in higher taxes into law, he had embraced President Obama’s Stimulus package, and he was no longer a Republican.
When Rick Scott took office as governor in 2010, he inherited this mess.
He governed as he promised too, however, cutting taxes, reining in spending, and bringing Florida back from the brink of disaster. As a result, more than 600,000 jobs have been created and unemployment has fallen to 6.1%, the lowest it has been since June of 2008. Florida also had a $1.2 billion surplus this year and Scott has signed over $2 billion in tax cuts into law. This includes 24 individual tax and fees cuts up through 2014 and $400 million in cuts this year.
Both Rick Scott and Charlie Crist signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Florida voters when they ran for governor in 2005 and 2009 respectively. Crist, however, broke his personal written commitment, by signing more than $2 billion in higher taxes and fees into law.
When he couldn’t convince voters to nominate him as a Republican during the 2010 Senate primary, Crist solidified his evolution as Democrat by switching parties. If elected Governor this November, Crist has not ruled out raising taxes again. When asked, Crist said he would raise taxes, “if necessary.” Translation: “I will raise taxes as soon as I can, again.”
Governor Rick Scott, on the other hand, promises to continue his legacy of letting taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money. If re-elected Scott has promised to cut taxes by another $1 billion by curbing property tax growth, eliminating the business income tax, and reducing communication services sales taxes.
The choices are clear. Rick Scott has a record of creating jobs, reforming government, and cutting taxes. Charlie Crist is an Obama Democrat who doesn’t understand that the Great Recovery in Florida wasn’t a coincidence. Crist will raise taxes and can’t be trusted to manage what will soon become the third most-populous state in the country.
Click here to read Governor Rick Scott’s second term tax cut plan.