Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) campaign bus pulled into Walt’s Fish Market in Sarasota on Labor Day to announce a $1 billion tax cut proposal, while his opponent, former Gov. and former Republican Charlie Crist (D), was telling Floridians Bill Clinton would be joining him at a campaign rally Sept. 5.
But first, Crist began the Labor Day weekend by calling on Scott to promise Florida would not challenge U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.
“Courts throughout Florida are endorsing the principle that government ought not deprive an entire class of citizens the right to marry simply because of whom they love. Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state,” Crist wrote in a letter his campaign mailed to Scott.
Taxes and sex are two emotional issues in a very hot election. Winter Springs, Fla.-based Gravis Marketing had the race as a tie in a poll released Sept. 2., 37 percent to 37 percent. And it showed there is a lot of potential to win new support with 26 percent of the 859 registered voters, surveyed through a combination of internet panels and automated calls, still undecided.
The Gravis Marketing poll is the first survey of the Florida gubernatorial race released since Aug. 18 when Survey USA had Scott up by 3 points and the Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Scott up by 1 point.
The Survey USA poll also showed neither Scott nor Crist has the race locked up.
Crist’s support was weakening in Southeast Florida, which includes the all-important markets of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Crist had led in the Southeast by as many as 25 points at one time, but when the August Survey USA was released it showed the Democrat leading but just 5 points.
Central Florida went to Crist in the August Survey USA poll, but Scott had led there in July.
So neither candidate was close to declaring victory as Scott began a two-week, cross-state bus tour to campaign for another term in Tallahassee, by pushing his $1 billion, two-year tax cut plan for families and small businesses in Sarasota.
Scott’s “Let’s Keep Working” Tax Cut plan includes the following proposals for his second term, each of which requires either voter or legislative approval.
• A constitutional amendment that will prevent families’ property taxes from increasing year after year if the value of their homes remains the same or goes down
• $200 million in tax holidays for Florida families
• Eliminating more of Charlie Crist’s tax and fee increases, including a $120 million fee on automobile purchases
• Cutting the communications service sales tax – a tax on everyone who uses a cell phone – by more than $120 million per year
• Permanently eliminating Florida’s manufacturing sales tax
• Continuing the phase-out of the business income tax to make Florida the best state to start a business and create jobs
• Phasing out the six percent statewide sales tax on commercial leases
“We threw out Charlie Crist’s Obama playbook and cut taxes 40 times, cut spending, and paid down our debt for the first time in decades,” Scott said. “And now we’re going to continue Florida’s turnaround with a $1 billion tax cut commitment to Florida’s families over the next two years.”