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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Doom and gloom from Amendment 1 foes



Conjuring up images of burning homes and school children dodging traffic, opponents of Amendment 1 blasted the tax cut proposal at a fire station down the street from the Governor's Mansion.

"It is a dangerous amendment," said Bob Carver, president of the Florida Professional Firefighters (pictured). Carver said 250 firefighters have already been laid off under the Legislature's tax rollback and suggested the new proposal, on the Jan, 29 ballot, will have a disastrous cumulative effect on response time and lead to higher insurance costs.

The plan is expected to cut taxes (and city, county and school budgets) by $9.3-billion over five years.

Dawn Steward, legislative chairwoman of the 364,000-member Florida Parent-Teachers Association, asserted that cutbacks would lead to fewer crossing guards. "Our children need to be educated; we don't want them to be run over," she said.

Karen Woodall, who heads Florida is Our Home, poked at Gov. Charlie Crist and his fundraising efforts to pass Amendment 1. "The governor is counting on the support of Donald Trump, Florida's powerful special interests and millions of dollars," she said. We rely on the millions of voices that make up Florida is Our Home."

Carver said the union disagrees with Crist on the impact of the tax cut, but added the two sides would continue to work on other issues. "In fact, the governor had at the Mansion Santa Claus this year and it was a firefighter. And the governor asked Santa Claus (for) $2-billion to fund the state budget and Santa Claus said he'd try to help him with it."

Crist, meanwhile, made stops in Jacksonville and Orlando that were not on his schedule and not publicized to the media. He flew on a plane owned by Dr. Steven Scott of South Florida. Crist met with business interests and asked for financial support to pass the amendment, said Vivian Myrtetus, spokeswoman for Vote Yes on !.

The group has already sent out mailers, put up billboards and is planning to buy TV commercial time.

As the news conference wrapped up, a fire truck raced out of the station, providing a nice visual for the TV cameras. No word on how fast it made it to the fire.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:14pm]


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