Thursday, May 7, 2009

Florida keeps its no-tax pledge.

By Douglas C. Lyons, Senior Editorial Writer for The Sun-Sentinel

I'm a little tickled by the analysis coming out of Tallahassee that says those tax-hating hordes in the Florida Legislature somehow swallowed hard and rolled over their ideological principles this session as they grappled with a $6 billion budget gap.

Didn't happen -- at least that's how I read it.

Sure, there's the cigarette tax, which potentially is expected to raise $1 billion annually. But, that's a glorified user fee. Sorry! It's the quinessential smoking section of revenue generators, even if it is perhaps the biggest pot of money the legislators could find.

The other new sources of money are also increases in fees -- from divorces to the renewal of driver licenses. It amounts to $1 billion in new revenue, but it's not new taxes. Notice the Legislature didn't change any sales tax exemptions. They didn't restore the intangibles tax, raise sales taxes or try to go after revenue from purchases made over the Internet.

Nothing! Nada! Zilch!

On that score, the lawmakers who pledged their allegiance to Grover Norquist, the Americans for Tax Reform and its zeal in holding on to new taxes can walk away with their heads high. Florida may see all types of program cuts and staff layoffs, but hey! No new taxes, anyone?

Note: This online feature allows editorial writers the chance to detach themselves from the institutional voice of the newspaper and express their personal opinions on a variety of subjects.
This view belongs to Senior Editorial Writer Douglas C. Lyons. You can leave your comments here, or reach him at

Below is the reply from Chuck Lehmann

Re: Revenue enhancers
Attention: Doug Lyons

Hi Doug: Why are both Republicans and Democrats diddling around with raising fees when they have a sure revenue producer, a many million dollar revenue producer, sitting right here, in and around Florida? Can you guess what I'm referring to? It is the off- shore oil and natural gas that is sitting right off our coast just waiting to be developed and taxed and royalties to be paid into the coffers of the State of Florida. Are we stupid or what? Just six months ago this was a hot topic, but since the price of oil and gas has dropped, you don't hear much about it anymore. We all know that sooner or later the price of oil and gas are going to spike up, and then we'll kick ourselves in the butt for not doing something, like drilling for oil and gas in the past.The politicians are committing "political malpractice" by doing nothing in this area. Shame on them.

Chuck Lehmann

"Chuck on the Right Side"

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