TAMPA — A top Florida Democrat on Thursday used a new report from a liberal think tank to make the case against Mitt Romney, arguing the Republican presidential candidate would hammer the middle class on health care, taxes and education.
Alex Sink, a former Democratic gubernatorial nominee who is considering a second run in 2014, said the new Center for American Progress Action Fund reports quantify the differences between Romney and President Barack Obama.
"They've done an incredible service for those of us who live and die by facts and figures," , said Sink, a former bank president and state chief financial officer. The event drew about 50 people — a mix that included retirees, teachers and union employees — to the Letter Carriers Hall on W Cypress St.
The Romney campaign dismissed the group as "little more than a mouthpiece for the Obama campaign."
"Here are the facts. Mitt Romney will not raise taxes on anyone. Governor Romney has proposed a pro-growth reform of the tax code that will lower tax rates for all Americans by 20 percent, eliminate taxes on savings and investment for the middle class, and make other pro-growth reforms," the campaign said in a statement. "This plan will be revenue-neutral — meaning it will raise adequate revenue to support a smaller, simpler, and smarter government. It will also be distributionally neutral, meaning that there will not be an increase in the tax burden borne by the middle class."
The event came as the race is shaping up as a dead heat in key states, and on the day of the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Romney running mate Paul Ryan.
Sink said Romney had been deliberately vague on too many details of his agenda. "I just don't trust him," she said.
The center has been releasing a series of reports tailored to swing states. In its Florida report, the center calculated that, under Romney's tax plan, a $57,490-a-year Tampa police officer would see his taxes increase by $1,480 while Romney donor, billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, would get more than $2 billion in additional tax benefits.
It also calculated that someone who is 39 today would pay nearly $217,000 more in health care costs over the course of his retirement years if Romney gets Obama's health care law repealed and puts in place a voucher-type system for Medicare.
The group analyzed Romney's plans but used a number of its own assumptions to fill in gaps in details. For instance, the center assumed that since Romney has said he would not cut defense, Medicare or Social Security, he would have to cut funding to schools, law enforcement and job-training programs. On the Medicare figures, the center assumed the vouchers would not increase and that health care costs would continue rising at the same levels.
Sylvia Landis, a 65-year-old Tampa resident and retired government worker who attended the event, said she'd been most concerned about Romney's proposed changes to Medicare. "I think it's devastating to the middle class," she said.