Sen. Jim Norman casts lone GOP vote against energy program rebates
Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, on Tuesday cast the Florida Legislature's lone GOP vote against using $31 million in federal stimulus money to provide rebates to people who bought energy-efficient air conditioning and solar systems. Norman, who was joined by only one other senator, a Democrat, in opposing the measure, said he thinks it's important to be consistent when it comes to spending stimulus money.
"There was never a commitment to participate in that. It was salesmen in the industry that said there was a rebate. Senators said it was an implied agreement, but it was actually not an agreement," Norman said. "There are bigger-ticket stimulus issues coming down the line, including high-speed rail. We need to be consistent and decide if it's a need for Florida, these stimulus dollars. These are all taxpayer dollars, whether it's federal or state, you need to be consistent."
Clearly, Norman wasn't the target of a slam from Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, on Republicans who supported the measure. "It's striking to me that the first act of this newly elected Legislature is a vote to accept stimulus dollars," Kriseman said.
"The argument we heard this entire campaign season from the Republicans was critical of the Obama administration and stimulus dollars and how we needed to avoid doing anything that increases the debt."