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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The tax talk in House District 48



Republican Rep. Peter Nehr, facing a tough re-election campaign in his North Pinellas/Pasco district, is using the oldest play in the book to try to defeat his Democratic challenger, Carl Zimmerman.

Nehr, on a two-sided mailer, claims Zimmerman supports “higher taxes including a new state income tax.”

Zimmerman issued a press release crying foul, saying "like everything he does," Nehr has taken the quote out of context. He sent a letter to Cox Radio demanding that they stop running a radio ad that’s making the claim as well.

“I’ve never supported a state income tax,” Zimmermann said. “I want him to issue a statement saying that they are untrue and unfounded.”

What did Zimmerman actually say? Yes, he did say an income tax would be a more stable source of revenue for the state. But he also said he believes there is no way voters would ever approve one and so efforts should be focused on stabilizing the state's budget another way.

To read Zimmerman's full response, click below.

Demorris A. Lee, Times staff writer

Here's the question and answer which appeared June 3, on, an Internet town hall site.

Question:  Would you support a constitutional amendment allowing a progressive state income tax if it replaced revenue from, and lowered, the state sales and local property taxes?

Answer: Truly, a state income tax would be more stable and as a progressive tax, the fairer tax for the average person. However, in this state, at this time it would take all the money in the world to convince even 30 percent of the population of that -- let alone the 60 percent required to pass it. We need to spend our immediate efforts seeking other ways to stabilize our state’s budget while offering tax relief to those truly in need.


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:37am]


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