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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mike Haridopolos calls out Dean Cannon, House for not passing tax cut


A distraught but defiant Senate President Mike Haridopolos criticized House Speaker Dean Cannon in the late session meltdown that has lawmakers working overtime.

Specifically, Haridopolos said, he was "flabbergasted" that the House waited all day and night -- and never took a vote on HB 7023 a $126 million tax-cut package that's a priority of Gov. Rick Scott. Haridopolos made his comments just after 1:15 a.m.

The House is expected to pass the tax cut, House leaders say.

"Republicans ran on tax relief," Haridopolos said. "And to hold tax relief hostage just doesn't make sense to me. I thought that would be the first bill the House would want to send me."

But it wasn't just tax relief. Haridopolos mentioned the fact that the House refused to compensate a man named Eric Brody, who was severely injured in an accident caused by a Broward County Sheriff's deputy. Also, the House refused to compensate a wrongfully convicted Brevard man, William Dillon, who spent 27 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn't commit. And the House refused to reform the way eyewitness police lineups are handled.

"What I think is most disappointing, beyond the fact that we've accompllished so much together is that I know right now in the House gallery Eric Brody and his family are sitting there waiting," said Haridopolos, who was near tears.

The meltdown between Haridopolos and Cannon is a major embarrassment in a year when Republicans hold overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.

"To end this way, is a major disappointment to me personally and my fellow Senators are heartbroken by it," he said.

Haridopolos said that, in the final hours of the legislative session, Cannon only reached out to him late in the evening and wanted the Senate to pass bills that the Senate president never realized were a priority. Haridopolos refused to say what bills Cannon wanted passed, though some say one piece of legislation related to how judicial nominating commissions are formed.

But, Haridopolos said, he and Cannon remain friends. He said he just wished the session hadn't ended this way. Haridopolos said he'll sleep on his couch until the House passes the tax cut.

"Was I upset, yes. what are we waiting for? We're waiting for tax relief," Haridopolos said.

Times photo Scott Keeler




[Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2011 12:00pm]


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