Republican Rick Scott rode into the Florida governor's office on a tide of Tea Party enthusiasm in November, but the major tax cuts he promised after taking office now appear to be dead for the year, courtesy of his own party.
GOP leaders in the Florida House and Senate announced Tuesday (April 26) that they had reached a budget agreement, one that ignores Scott's calls for more than $2 billion in corporate income and property tax cuts over the next seven years, The Miami Herald reports
. Though not yet finalized by rank-and-file lawmakers, the deal "all but guaranteed an on-time May 6 finish to the session," according to the Herald
As Stateline reported earlier this year
, Scott is among a handful of new Republican governors who have pushed big tax cuts despite facing serious budget shortfalls. By cutting taxes, these governors have argued, the private sector can create much-needed jobs, leading to more revenues for states.
But Scott's plan was always a major question mark for many of Florida's legislative Republicans, who have a veto-proof supermajority and viewed the governor's proposal as too risky, given a $4 billion budget shortfall that will likely force them to cut funding for schools and privatize a significant portion of the state prison system. By ignoring the new governor's plan, GOP leaders asserted their power over the Florida budget process, which will continue with public hearings starting today (April 27).
Scott, however, held out hope that lawmakers would reconsider their position on his proposed tax cuts.
"I'm confident that the right thing will happen," Scott said, according to the Herald
, "that we're going to reduce the size of government, the cost of government and we're going to make sure that we get money back into taxpayers hands through tax reductions."