Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to vote against the Republican tax cut plan unless it is revised to increase benefits for the working poor, or he can reinforce his image as a senator who too often folds under pressure.

Rubio wasn’t asking for the moon in the tax cut legislation. The Senate bill lowered the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 20 percent, and he proposed setting the rate at 20.94 percent. Rubio wanted to use the freed up money to increase benefits for about 9 million low-income Americans who benefit from the child tax credit. The compromise legislation is expected to double the child tax credit to $2,000, but Rubio wanted to make the credit refundable against both income and payroll taxes. He warned of "problems’’ if the corporate tax rate was set above 20 percent and the savings were not used to expand the child tax credit.

Republican leaders didn’t just ignore Rubio. They twisted the knife. The corporate tax rate was moved to 21 percent, and the money will pay for tax cuts for the wealthy instead of relief for low-income Americans. That should tell voters all they need to know about the Republicans’ real priorities and expose the hollow claims by President Donald Trump that this tax cut is aimed helping everyone.

As Rubio tweeted Wednesday: "20.94% Corp. rate to pay for tax cut for working family making $40K was anti-growth but 21% to cut tax for couples making $1 million is fine?’’

Apparently, although Trump hinted after the tax cut deal was announced that there is still room to address the issue. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who joined Rubio in pushing the refundable child tax credit that was rejected, also held out hope of some movement before the final vote. Then Rubio issued his threat Thursday to vote against the bill unless it includes at least a smaller change than he initially proposed. We’ll see.

In the Florida Legislature and then in U.S. Senate, Rubio has shown he cares more about being liked and being part of the Republican team than standing on principle. He helped negotiate a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate four years ago with bipartisan support, than abandoned it when there was a conservative backlash. He took some of the worst abuse from Trump as a presidential candidate, then endorsed him before the general election and stuck with him even as the accusations of sexual harassment against Trump built. He said he would not run for re-election if he did not win the Republican nomination for president and changed his mind. Now he has pushed a reasonable expansion of the child tax credit that would benefit low-income Floridians and been embarrassed by the Republican leadership. He needs to remain firm in his threat to oppose the bill unless he is accommodated.

Rubio easily won re-election last year and will not be on the ballot again until 2022. He remains one of the younger, camera-ready Republicans on the national stage. He has leverage, because Republicans control just 52 Senate seats. He can afford to tell Republican leaders he will vote against the tax cut legislation next week unless they include his child tax credit provisions. That should increase his influence in Washington and his standing among moderate voters who see the tax cuts as a giveaway to businesses and the wealthy.

Finally, Rubio stood up for himself and for low-income Americans on Thursday. This time, he should not back down.

Comments
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18