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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Turning voucher votes into political attack ads



Last week's TBRC voucher vote is spilling into the election arena.

The Buzz has learned that the Florida Education Association has aired radio ads against three Taxation and Budget Reform Commission members who voted for the measure. They include Ken Wilkinson, Lee County property appraiser who is up for re-election, Mike Hogan, Duval County tax collector, and Bob McKee, Lake County tax collector.

Hogan said the ad encouraged people to call his office and complain. About 100 did, he said, but they were overwhelmingly on his side. "Blaine Amendment was an easy vote for me," he said. "Regardless of what we do, we're not setting up vouchers."

Mark Pudlow, teachers union spokesman, said the ads were "basically to let people know they are supporting vouchers. We think the issue went beyond the pale of this body."

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: The TBRC is about to take up another voucher-related issue but Jade Moore, John Mckay and others think it is beyond the scope of the panel.

"If we proceed down this path, I think we're going to break faith with the people," McKay said. "The people want us to address the issue of property taxes. They want us to address the issue of government spending. It's a mistake to go down this road and negatively taint the work we have done for the last 13 months on this board."

Moore has a point of order not to take up the issue. But it just failed. The proposal is now in debate.


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:49am]


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