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Firefighters Opposition to Tax Cuts Growing More Vocal

June 13th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

Hundreds of firefighters converged on the state Capitol today in opposition to pending tax cuts which they say will affect public safety. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the GOP lead legislature is turning a deaf ear to the firefighter’s concerns and is moving ahead without much debate.

The chorus of firefighters is growing louder each day.“I say no. What do you say?” NO!
Was the chant in the Capitol courtyard. Under the tax cut plan, some districts will lose scores of personnel. Harold Schaitberger from the International Association of Firefighters read a list of counties facing cuts  “This is about Broward County… 50 members less to respond to the next disaster on the highway.”

One jurisdiction says even the fear of pending cuts is already having an effect.
Bert Williams is from Pinellas Park. “We’ve lost an inspector, a district chief and three lines guys that aren’t out there protecting us or the citizens.”

While there’s plenty of noise being made outside the capitol, it doesn’t appear as though anyone inside is listening.

Inside, the GOP led legislature told Democrats if they even offered an amendment to the tax cut plans, they would never have their idea heard. Steve Geller says he has never seen anything like it. “This is it… take it or leave it… and if you offer and amendment and its defeated, we probably won’t even consider it later.” says Geller.

But the governor is holding strong, calling the firefighter’s bluff by saying services won’t be cut. “You know, the people of Florida want their money back and they deserve to have tax cuts. And we’re gonna give it to ‘em.” says Crist.

In the end, there may be enough votes to pass the tax cut plan, but not enough to have a special election on the tax cuts in January, which will delay some of the relief for another year.  The House of Representatives is meeting tonight to begin debating the tax cut plan.

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