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Tax Increase Gains Momentum

January 6th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

The no new taxes mantra of the GOP leadership in Tallahassee appears to be cracking under the weight of massive budget cuts that will affect real people. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, it now is looking more like when than if for a cigarette or other tax increase.

Hear it Here: Tax Increase Gains Momentum
Schools are facing the immediate lost of one hundred forty dollars for each and every student. The cut has the Florida PTA telling lawmakers that enough is enough.

The overall message from our parents is please, no more cuts, Latha Krishnaiyer with the Florida PTA said.

Across the Capitol, this senate committee talked about eliminating 570 slots for developmentally disabled kids. It was enough to prompt the conservative chairman to mention the T word.

Theres some equity in looking about the fiscal and financial transactions that go on in Florida, that maybe we dont get our fair share for taking care of these overwhelming needs, Sen. Durell Peaden said.

There is concern that cuts being made now could cost the state up to 40 million dollars next year in federal money destined for foster care.

The Governor is on board with the plan to cut now, but what about later?

When asked if he saw a point, in the near future, where he would support a tax increase, the Governor replied, not now.

Democratic Senator Nan Rich says waiting will hurt people.

For instance, if you did the cigarette tax now, then it starts right away. I mean we can start it pretty quickly, and the revenue begins to come in, Rich said.

A cigarette tax hike remains the most likely place for lawmakers to turn. But the fact GOP leaders are saying everything is on the table is the most dramatic public policy change to come from the special session.

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