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Florida lawmakers illustrate partisan battle lines on taxes

Democrats all opposed; Republicans in favor.
House Speaker Paul Ryan scored a victory with passage of the tax plan (Associated Press)
House Speaker Paul Ryan scored a victory with passage of the tax plan (Associated Press)
Published Nov. 17, 2017

WASHINGTON – Florida lawmakers have drawn hard lines in the debate over taxes.

Every House Republican yesterday voted for the $1.5 trillion plan (details here) while every Democrat opposed it*. Talking points were flying on both sides.

"This legislation cuts taxes and will boost our economy," said. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City. "It helps hardworking Americans keep more money in their paycheck, because they know how to spend it better than Washington. It levels the playing field for American workers so we can grow jobs here. It ends special interest carve outs, simplifies the code, and reins in the IRS. It's a good start, and I am eager to move this critical national priority forward."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, took the party line that it was a "scam."

"Republicans missed an opportunity to work on a bipartisan bill that would boost wages, create jobs, rebuild America's infrastructure and keep jobs from moving overseas," she said. "Instead, the super rich and big corporations will enjoy a massive tax windfall at the expense of our kids and grandkids who will shoulder the enormous $1.5 Trillion debt.  This is the height of fiscal irresponsibility."

The deal is hardly done and moves to the Senate, where significant changes await.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has pushed for a higher child tax credit and is considered a solid yes vote.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson yesterday voted against the Senate version as a member of the Finance Committee. Among his various objections is the inclusion of a provision to do away with Obamacare's individual mandate.

"Here we go again," Nelson said in a statement this week. "The GOP has added a provision to their tax plan that will cause health care premiums to go up 10 percent and 13 million Americans to lose their health coverage. We should be working together to find ways to cut taxes for hardworking middle-class families, not taking health care away from millions of people just to give huge tax cuts to the largest corporations."

* Rep. Frederica Wilson missed the vote.

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