Did politics influence the timing of Florida’s 25-cent gas tax holiday? | Column
Guest Columnist Daniel Ruth has his own spirted answer to that important question.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to suspend Florida' gas tax by 25 cents ... in October.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to suspend Florida' gas tax by 25 cents ... in October. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Jun. 16|Updated Jun. 16

How low will Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis go to abuse his power in pursuit of not only his reelection, but his delusional ambitions to become the craven heir to the Traitor-In-Thief of Mar-A-Lago?

Daniel Ruth
Daniel Ruth [ Tampa Bay Times ]

Oh, this fabulist limbo bar knows no depth of deceit.

Picking fights with mask-wearing high school students, punishing Disney World for committing free speech, cooking the COVID books, and saving the best or worst for last, threatening to fine the Special Olympics $27.5 million for simply requiring 5,500 participants in the games (many with pre-existing medical conditions) to be vaccinated against COVID.

Let’s reflect on that one more time. Florida’s governor threatened to imperil the — ahem — Special Olympics, a beloved institution that has only sought to do good things for disabled children. This cannot stand.

Can you get any sleazier than that? Well, DeSantis is always up for a challenge.

What’s next? Attacking the Girl Scouts for selling dark chocolate Tagalogs because they secretly represent critical race theory? C’mon, you know he’s thinking about it.

But wait! The Vladimir Putin of the Apalachee Parkway still wasn’t done. The Florida Legislature approved a 25-cent reduction in the state gas tax. It’s not much, but it was better than nothing. Given the rising costs impacting every Floridian, it shouldn’t have been that big a deal to implement the gas tax break immediately.

How hard would this have been? What? You even had to ask? Alas dear reader, this is Tallahassee after all.

It seems a factotum on the governor’s crack staff suggested it might be a swell idea to delay the 25-cent tax break until October, which by amazing coincidence is the month before the November election.

Whew! No political mischief at work. Nothing to see here.

Of course, the governor could have said, “Not on my watch! I’m not going to use the fine people of Florida as mere political pawns to advance my electoral prospects.”

Instead, he went along with the scam, which only proves we all have a price; it’s only a matter of negotiation. And Ron DeSantis can be had at 25 cents. Such a deal.

When Lawrence Mower of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau exposed the 25-cent gas tax relief screw up, Republicans went into full “hummana hummana hummana” mode, claiming that — tut-tut — nothing was amiss here.

With a straight face the argument went this way: The tax cut was delayed until October because that’s when fewer tourists visit the state so only loyal, hard working Florida residents would benefit from the tax break.

Show of hands? Does anybody believe that? And no, Mrs. DeSantis your vote doesn’t count.

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Indeed, there is no evidence there is a discernible drop-off in tourism across Florida. Visit Florida, which tabulates tourism data for the state, has no numbers to back up the October claim.

Gee, do you think DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature might have been, uh, fibbing? Just an idle thought.

What is irrefutable is that November follows October. But give DeSantis and the state GOP enough time and they’ll probably figure out a way to scramble the calendar to stick June in the middle of Halloween and Thanksgiving. And why not? The DeSantis crowd already wants you to think slavery was a mere misunderstanding.

You can probably rest assured by the time we start closing in on November the DeSantis campaign will be flooding the airways touting the governor’s grand and glorious beneficence in easing the miserable lives of his constituents by 25-cents a gallon. You’re too kind, sir. We don’t deserve such compassion. We grovel in humiliation before your graciousness.

Will the governor get away with the 25-cent Three-card Monte con he’s pulling off on the people of Florida?

Maybe so. DeSantis is assuming the people of Florida are stupid, that they are dumber than a sack of Matt Gaetzes. It’s not entirely a bad bet. Cynical, yes, but in DeSantis world, the people can’t be hurt by what they don’t know.

The chances are pretty good, that most of the DeSantis voters aren’t even aware that the governor played them for chumps. After all, there are many more important issues to demand their time and attention, like Hunter Biden’s laptop and the fact Hillary Clinton still isn’t in jail.

For in Tallahassee, truth is a rare commodity barely surviving on fumes.


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