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Scott Tax Cut Tour Lands in Pensacola

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott hit the road Monday, to celebrate a $400 million tax cut package he has signed into law. The one-day, seven-city tour wrapped up in Pensacola. 

Scott’s victory lap began early Monday in Fort Myers. From there he made stops in Miami, Greenacres, St. Petersburg, Winter Garden and Jacksonville, before ending at Apple Market on Scenic Highway.

After the ceremony, he explained why he packed seven stops across Florida into one day.

“Today was an opportunity to go around the state and brag about what’s going on in our state; we’re cutting taxes another $400 million,” said the Governor. “Every part of the state’s doing well. Pensacola area is doing really well.”

House Bill 33-A targets cell phone, cable and satellite TV bills. Smartphone in hand, Scott highlighted the tax cut to communication services, which would save consumers about 20 dollars per year. It also provides a sales tax break on back-to-school items and a one-year hiatus for sales tax on college textbooks.

One of the common threads in Scott’s statewide trip was that all of his stops were at small businesses such as Apple Market.

“Anytime taxes are lowered, anything that’s better for small business is good for all business,” said owner David Apple, whose staff numbers around 65. “Because jobs are not created without business growth. It’s a big thing we think about, a lot.”

Joining Scott at the podium were members of the local House delegation – Representatives Matt Gaetz, Mike Hill, Doug Broxson -- and Clay Ingram.

“We worked hard in the Legislature to support what the Governor’s asked us to do, and that’s to cut taxes,” said Ingram. “Four hundred million dollars is a real tax cut that will help real families.”

Originally, Gov. Scott pitched nearly $700 million in tax reductions. But lawmakers scaled that back, and used the money to shore up other parts of the nearly $79 billion budget that takes effect July 1.

“It’s great to do 400 [million],” said Scott. “Four hundred adds on to the other 40 tax cuts we’ve done, $500 million last year. There’s (sic) not many states have that reduced taxes $900 million in two years.”

While a number of Scott supporters stood near the podium holding signs – provided by the Governor’s staff -- thanking him for the tax cuts, a handful of others lifted their voices in protest. They began in-store as the Governor spoke, and then moved outside as Scott’s entourage departed the parking lot onto Scenic Highway.

“You’re selling us out,” shouted one protester at the Governor’s vehicle as it passed. “Is (sic) your campaign contributions worth our environment? You’re a puppet of big oil.”

Meanwhile, a new poll from Quinnipiac University places Rick Scott’s approval rating at 39%, while 49% disapprove. Respondents were even more disdainful of the Legislature, which got 33% approval. The poll was conducted June 4-15, when lawmakers were in special session over the budget.