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Florida Gov. promises new tax cuts despite problems getting previous ones approved

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Friday outlined proposed tax cuts he pledges to make if re-elected and said he will continue to promote them during a two-week campaign tour.

Scott said he will try to push through more than $1 billion in tax cuts over the next two years.

The proposal includes asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would shield homeowners from increased property taxes if their homes lose value. Scott also wants to expand sales tax holidays for shoppers, reduce taxes on cellphone bills and eliminate taxes paid on commercial rent.

But he'll need approval from the Republican-led Legislature and they haven't always cooperated with his proposals. Scott in 2010 promised deep property tax cuts and a substantial phaseout of the state's corporate income tax. Neither has happened.

Scott wants to revive his proposed phaseout of the state's corporate income tax in an effort to make the state more competitive.

Scott is facing former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking his old job as a Democrat.

The property tax proposal was immediately criticized by Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, a former Republican lawmaker whom Scott appointed to the position last year. Fasano was elected unopposed this year.

Fasano said the idea would have very little effect on primary homeowners, who already have protections against rising property taxes through a cap placed on valuations under a constitutional amendment Crist fought for and voters passed in 2008.

He said he doesn't think Scott has thought through the consequences the mandate would have on counties and is concerned that it could affect law enforcement and other services counties provide. He's also concerned the proposal would also apply to commercial properties and vacation homes.

"It would tie the hands of every local government in the state of Florida," Fasano said. "There's a true trickle-down effect that I don't think Gov. Scott understands or just doesn't want to understand because in my opinion this is nothing more than a political ploy."

The Crist campaign responded to the proposal by pointing out Scott signed a budget this year that forces local governments to increase property taxes by about $400 million to pay for schools.


Associated Press Writer Gary Fineout contributed to this report.

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