Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Connie Mack bashes Bill Nelson's tax vote

Sen. Bill Nelson's decision to cast a deciding vote for raising taxes on the wealthy won't do much to fix the budget deficit, but it could help the campaign coffers of his Republican rival.

Less than a day after the 51-48 Senate vote, Republican Rep. Connie Mack's campaign sent out a Thursday fundraising email pointing out that the Democrat had said he didn't want to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000.

Nelson said he preferred to eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy who earn $1 million or more.

"For weeks Bill Nelson has told Floridians he didn't support the president's plan. But then he cast the deciding vote for it," Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen wrote.

"It's the same old Bill Nelson we've come to expect," said Cohen. "He talks like a moderate in Florida, but he votes like a LockStep Liberal with President Obama. Enough's enough."

But Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, said Nelson has been consistent.

"He said he favored keeping the Bush-era tax cuts for those making up to a $1 million. But that's not what was before the Senate," McLaughlin wrote. "He isn't going to support raising taxes on everybody who makes under $250,000."

McLaughlin pointed to previous votes in which Nelson favored keeping tax cuts on those who make less than $1 million and supported the current tax rates on those individuals making up to $200,000.

Wednesday's Democratic Senate vote was more of a symbolic action than a likely predictor of congressional tax policy because the measure won't pass the Republican-controlled House. Republicans say the tax increase is a job killer. Democrats say it's needed to help the budget.

Leading up to the vote, national publications noted that the Senate vote put pressure on two embattled Democratic senators: Nelson and Missouri's Claire McCaskill. Nelson and Mack are essentially tied in Florida, according to the averages of recent polls.

A number of national polls, which closely resemble Florida surveys, have indicated that voters favor raising taxes on those individuals who earn more than $200,000 and households that earn more than $250,000.

Still, raising taxes in an election year and bad economy isn't a preferred course of action for politicians. Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, who conducts surveys on behalf of the Tampa Bay Times and its news partners, has repeatedly pointed out that, in Florida, "tax is a four-letter word" to the electorate, which has a high proportion of anti-tax wealthy retirees.

But Democrats needed to deliver a vote on the tax-the-wealthy issue for President Barack Obama, who says the rich need to pay more of their fair share of taxes.

While Nelson's camp believes voters will give him credit for being pragmatic and supporting a popular position, Mack spokesman David James said Nelson's vote exposed a character flaw.

"He put his party above his principles," James said.

Connie Mack bashes Bill Nelson's tax vote 07/26/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 12:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

  3. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  4. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.