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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio stumps for tax plan in St. Pete



ST. PETERSBURG -– Among 20 supporters gathered in front of City Hall Wednesday, House Speaker Marco Rubio received the rock star treatment. Handshakes, hugs and impassioned thank yous.

Standing next to a tax-cut crusader, Rubio announced his support of citizen petition to amend the state Constitution and cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of a home’s value. Organizers say they already have 20,000 signatures. (They need 611,000 to make the ballot.)

“One in five Floridians is looking to leave Florida because of the affordability issue,” Rubio said. “They’re not leaving because their mortgages are bad ... but because the government is forcing them out of their homes because of property taxes.”

At the end, David McKalip, a St. Petersburg neurosurgeon leading the local group Cut Taxes Now, held out a petition for Rubio to sign. “There you go,” Rubio said. “Now you’ve got 20,000 and 1.”

Rubio said he supports the plan on the Jan. 29 ballot -- the one being pushed by Gov. Charlie Crist. But he also described the proposal as ineffective. "It's like giving an aspirin to a cancer patient," he said.

-- by Jacob H. Fries, Times staff writer. Times photo | Martha Rial.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:11pm]


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