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Everything’s On the Table

January 22nd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Charlie Crist and the states legislative leaders answered tough questions about taxes and budget cuts from editors and reporters today at the state capitol. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the speeches had a common theme.

Hear it Here: Taxes

From the House Speaker
Let me say that I think everything is on the table, Ray Sansom (R-Destin) said.

To the Minority Leader
The whole thing is on the table, Franklin Sands (D-Weston) said.

And even the Senate President
Is there room on the upside for a cigarette tax? I believe that there is, Jeff Atwater (R-Palm Beach) said. Looking back on the burden that were placing on property taxes, through the RLE, required local effort, I think all those things are going to be on the table.

The talk is of finding money to balance the budget.

Despite all the rhetoric, the state income tax isnt really on the table. What is here is higher revenue from gambling, higher cigarette tax, maybe a tax on stocks and bonds, some alcoholic beverage taxes are on the table, even a tax on bottled water, and dry cleaning.

You know, weve plucked a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon, as they say, were going to be talking about serious money, Sands said.

Everyone at the state level is looking for help from Washington Governor Charlie Crist told editors.

Its important to have a level of optimism, Crist said.

A new poll shows 72 percent favor a cigarette the tax. But those numbers arent persuading the Governor…yet.

It doesnt change my mind about it, the Governor said.

But he conceded its more likely than ever that a cigarette tax hike, along with the smorgasbord of other fee increases, is going to get to his desk.

I think what well do is see what the House and Senate do with that issue and give it thoughtful review, Crist said.

And thats when tough choices will have to be made.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Economy, Gambling, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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