Bill Nelson Archives - Page 4 of 50 - Florida Politics

Hmmm … poll shows Rick Scott with 10-point lead over Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate seat

A new poll from St. Leo University found Gov. Rick Scott has surpassed U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in for Nelson’s seat in 2018.

The poll, conducted online between Nov. 19 and Nov. 24, showed Scott with a double-digit lead over Nelson in the matchup, 42-32, with 8 percent preferring another candidate and 18 percent undecided.

Eight months ago Nelson held a 5-point lead over Scott, 39-34, and in September the Scott took a slim 35-33 lead.

Scott, a Republican, has not formally entered the race for U.S. Senate, but he is termed-out as governor and is almost sure to challenge Nelson, a Democrat, in his campaign for a fourth term next year.

“We’re still almost a year out from the 2018 elections, but Rick Scott is in the best position he’s been in yet against incumbent Bill Nelson,” said polling institute director Frank Orlando. “It will be interesting to see if he can maintain this support while his party is hurting electorally throughout the country.”

Scott has also made considerable strides over the last two months when it comes to voters’ perception of his job performance.

Back in March, about 56 percent of Florida voters said they had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of the second-term governor, while about 39 percent said they viewed Scott, a Republican, in a “somewhat unfavorable” or “not at all favorable” light.

Last month, the positive view climbed to about 61 percent while the negatives had dwindled to about 31 percent. The other 8 percent said they were unsure how they felt about Scott.

The poll also touched on the leading candidates to replace Scott in the governor’s mansion, though the bulk of the survey was conducted when Orlando attorney John Morgan was still considering a run in the Democratic Primary.

Morgan, who said the day after Thanksgiving he would not run for governor as a Democrat, had the most support among Dems at about 13 percent, followed by former congresswoman Gwen Graham at 9.4 percent.

Among all voters lumped together — Republicans, Democrats and independents — Morgan again came out on top with 24 percent support, followed by Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam at just under 19 percent.

About 53 percent of Democratic voters said they were unsure, leaving the race wide open for fellow Democratic candidates Andrew Gillum (6 percent), Orlando-area businessman Chris King (3 percent) and Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine (2 percent).

“No one has been able to rally establishment support and win the invisible primary. With some uncertainty removed as Morgan took himself out of contention, the process of winnowing the field might finally begin in earnest,” Orlando said.

Putnam, who has gone gangbusters on the fundraising trail, leads the Republican field with 15 percent support, though nearly 63 percent of GOP respondents were unsure.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, not yet a candidate, was second-place among named options at 4.8 percent, followed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran and embroiled Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, both with under 3 percent support.

“Adam Putnam isn’t in an insurmountable position, but he’s at least the leader in the clubhouse,” Orlando said. “Other prominent GOPers are busy fulfilling the duties of their office or in the news for the wrong reasons. It’s difficult to compare Putnam against Morgan at this point, as our results show that voters would still prefer someone else in the governor’s mansion.”

The poll took in responses from 500 Florida voters — including 181 Democrats and 166 Republicans — and has a 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level. More detailed information on the poll’s methodology and findings can be found on the St. Leo University polling website.

Blake Dowling: Vols, Lane Kiffin, Jimbo Fisher and all the social media #goodstuff

Have you ever lost an election, been fired or run out of an organization? Lane Kiffin has.

Currently, Kiffin coaches the Florida Atlantic University football team. Before that, he had stopped at the Raiders, USC and (for today’s purposes) the University of Tennessee.

I never met Lane, but I knew his ex-wife Layla in college. We went to an ATO date function together; she was a first-class individual, so I assumed Lane was a putz, mostly based on him not being married to her anymore — as well as all the football firings.

Perhaps I was wrong.

Kiffin showed the world the hilarity and power of social media this week with a (far beyond) humorous post about his former employer, the Tennessee Vols.

As you may know, the Vols have had a heck of a time filling its vacant coaching position. They tried to hire Greg Schiano, but the campus protested.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit asked: “Why would anyone want to go there?

So, Lane takes an opportunity to tweet the above image, lighting up the internet like Frank the Tank at the Governors Club on a Monday night. As of this minute, 84,000 likes.

Well played, sir; revenge is a tweet best served frigid.

Mike is about to get jacked.

And, of course, at Florida State this week, the rumor mill is going crazy about Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M, with which the school was struggling until Friday’s announcement.

The Jimbo era is over.

The last week struggles included, a fan on the call-in show gets shoved and microphone yanked out of his hand for asking Jimbo about loyalty to the program.

He responded so politely, he earns a round of applause.

The school, thanks to social media and traditional media, is being raked over the coals. Way to be a good fan, Mike.

CBS tells the whole story, and the must-watch video is here.

In North Florida, everyone is weighing in; my pal Skip Foster makes a very good point (see above).

Now the administration must clean up the mess, and find a new head coach.

How about UF and their recent frantic coaching search, you might ask? Comedian Scooter Magruder hits the home run describing it in his own words.

For the betterment of humanity, for getting elected, snarky revenge comments and pointing out the miscues of others, social media is there, in your face each and every day.

Your online brand, behavior, and participation can make the difference in being hired, elected or even getting a date.

It’s a crazy world out there; make sure to behave, in reality, and cyberly (new word).

I bumped into Sen. Bill Nelson last weekend; his online presence, web, social media, etc. is on point and a splendid example of how to be conservative and well-mannered online (pun intended).

The first thing you see when you look at his Twitter feed is how to reach him. Well done.

So, whatever the future holds for Lane, Jimbo and Bill, we will be watching.

Happy holidays and start ordering those Christmas gifts!

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies; he can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Democrats seeing Michael Flynn plea deal as window to Russia collusion

Florida’s members of Congress are describing the FBI plea deal announced Friday with former White House Security Advisor Michael Flynn as the window they expect will shed light on broader and higher allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump‘s campaign team and Russia.

“Flynn’s guilty plea is another significant step in making the case that there was collusion with the Russians,” declared U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief, said the news tells her the Trump administration thinks it is above the law.

“Let us be clear about this fact: a member of President Trump’s inner circle just admitted to a felony crime. As a 27-year law enforcement officer, it is deeply offensive to me that this administration has repeatedly hidden behind cries of ‘law and order’ while breaking the law themselves,” Demings stated in the release.

“Every American should be disturbed that the Trump administration considers themselves above the law,” she continued. “Before now, the question was whether this went all the way to the top. President Trump and his inner circle will have a sleepless night.”

She pledged to “do everything in my power to allow the special prosecutor to continue his independent investigation unimpeded. The American people deserve the truth.”

Alcee Hastings of Miramar called Flynn’s deal “the latest step in uncovering the degree to which the Trump administration colluded with the Russian government.”

“Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has admitted to contacting the Russian Government, under instruction from President Trump’s transition team, and then lying about it to the FBI. Even though today’s guilty plea was not unexpected, it is still an outrageous and shameful admission of purposefully misleading the American people.”

He said it is “profoundly telling” that Flynn is the fourth Trump campaign official to be charged in the investigation.

“Congress must take every step necessary to ensure that this independent investigation proceeds without interference from the Trump White House. We need answers, not misinformation.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton said Flynn’s guilty plea only raises more questions about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“As I have repeatedly said, Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller must be allowed to continue his work unobstructed by the White House, and the House Judiciary Committee must independently examine any possible obstruction of justice,” Deutch said.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando said, “Flynn has dodged this investigation from the start, so this perjury charge is not surprising. The information he may reveal could be, though.”

Rick Scott: ‘There is no place like Florida right now’

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott begins to make the inevitable pivot to a Senate candidate, his remarks from Thursday’s Enterprise Florida board meeting in Jacksonville were worth noting.

Scott crystallized the case for his economic strategy, one that has allowed him to frame a narrative of having brought the state back from recession.

“We’ve got to continue to do the right investments,” Scott said, noting the importance of ROI.

Scott noted the state’s “50 percent increase [in tourism],” a source of “1.4 million jobs.” And he said that he’s “committed to spreading the message worldwide” that there is “no place like Florida right now.”

The Governor noted the trip to Israel this weekend, citing the importance of international trade for Florida.

Excised from remarks was another illustration of Scott’s dual political role: comments made in a press release Wednesday, where Scott stressed the importance of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem — a rhetorical priority of the right, though one that President Donald Trump has yet to push to completion.

“We’ve got to continue this. We’ve got people getting out of school, moving to our state, they need jobs,” Scott said, regarding his administration’s economic programs.

Scott’s rhetorical pivot — to the frustration of press that covers him — is to “jobs,” even on questions that have nothing to do with the job market.

Worth watching: how he’s able to take his economic story, one that seems to be a refrain to every song he sings, and translate it to the Senate race.

Political committees — such as For Florida’s Future — laid the groundwork for a potential counterargument by Sen. Bill Nelson.

That argument: that Florida’s recession has been largely an urban phenomenon, and that nearly half of Florida households are the working poor.

Can Nelson counter Scott’s economic narrative?

That may be the question that determines the next eleven months.

Bill Nelson slams tax bill; Marco Rubio makes final pitch for child credit

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday to slam the Republican tax reform bill and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio followed him a few minutes later to make a last pitch for the childcare tax credit he’s been seeking to make the reform more “pro-worker.”

The Senate is debating the bill Wednesday afternoon.

“What we’ve done before and have now in front of us is not what the American people want, it’s what large corporations want – large multinational corporations who get their corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent. It’s what the well-to-do want. That’s what’s before us,” Nelson declared. “Now, let me explain. Anyone who says that this bill is all for the middle class is not giving the full story. What they are not telling you is that the tax cuts for the middle class expire in seven or eight years.”

In his turn on the floor, Rubio said there are a lot of good things in the bill but that it needs the child tax credit toward payroll taxes that he and Sen. Mike Lee proposed.

“I hope that in tax reform we would do what we should try to do in all of our policies, that is come up with ideas that are both pro-growth, and pro-worker. There are a lot of good ideas in this tax bill but we can make it better,” Rubio said.

Rubio and Lee’s proposal would reduce the corporate tax rate to 22 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the current bill. Rubio argued that 22 percent was just as good for growth, because it would put the United States in the same competitive position internationally as a 20 percent rate.

And the revenue savings from the difference, he argued, would “allow us to do the pro-worker reform that we desperately need.”

“Here’s what it allows us to do,” Rubio continued. “It allows us to change the child tax credit in the current bill to help working families even more.

“But the one thing I want to emphasize, is: Who does this help?” he challenged.

Rubio said he’s heard criticism of their proposal as a form of welfare, and he passionately responded to such claims.

“I find that offensive,” Rubio said. “I find it offensive not because I am offended by people who need the help and are in the safety net programs because they’ve come upon difficult times, but because the people we are trying to help are not on government assistance. They’re workers. You have to be working to get this credit. The credit applies to your tax liability.”

Nelson argued that any breaks for the middle- and working-class are going away.

“They’re not telling you all the other ways that CBO says that this bill will hurt ordinary Americans. So, for example, beginning in 2019, CBO says that anyone making under $30,000 a year will take a hit from this bill if it becomes law. Then in 2021, anyone making under $40,000 will start to feel the pinch. And then in 2027, anyone making under $75,000 is actually going to get a tax increase,” Nelson said.

Nelson also argued that the tax reform would hurt small businesses, cause health care premiums to go up 10 percent, force 13 million people to lose health insurance, and that it is not the jobs bill that Rubio and Republicans declared it to be.

Nelson also decried the partisan foundation of the bill, saying that’s not how tax reform worked the last time, in 1986, when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Isn’t it time to revert to what we did back in 1986, where we came together in bipartisan consensus?” Nelson implored. “As long as there is a will, there is a way. And what I hope in the midst of this extreme toxic atmosphere of high partisanship that we might find a will to cut through that and say indeed there is way and it is a bipartisan way. We just need willing partners on both sides. I pray that that will occur between now and Christmas before we do something that we are going to regret.”

Website blasts Rick Scott’s policies for working Floridians

UPDATE

A progressive group is attacking Gov. Rick Scott with a new website — Rick’s Recession — for what they claim is the state’s unequal recovery from the Great Recession and the detrimental cost of his policies for Florida families.

The site, published by progressive group “For Florida’s Future,” highlights what it contends are the majority of Florida counties still mired in a recession.

“Not a single thing Scott has focused on — slashing funding for public schools, refusing to expand Medicaid for millions of low-income Floridians or giving taxpayer funding to corporations who donate to his campaigns — has helped everyday Floridians,” says the group’s communication director, Blake Williams.

“To think that almost half of households qualify as working poor is galling,” Williams continued. “To think that over half of Florida’s counties are still living in a recession that should have ended years ago is unconscionable. If we’re going to dig our way out of Rick’s recession, the first thing we need to do is start prioritizing working and middle-class families, something Scott clearly hasn’t done.”

Citing data from the Florida Chamber Foundation, the website claims that a majority of Florida’s counties, especially those in rural areas, are actually worse off today than they were before the recession hit in 2008

Nearly half of Florida households (45 percent) qualify as working poor and struggle to afford even basic necessities like health care, transportation and housing despite being employed,” the site claims.

There is a petition calling on the governor to “stop prioritizing policies that help wealthy campaign donors and corporations, and start prioritizing policies that help working and middle-class Floridians.”

Williams says the site will be backed by a “significant” digital ad buy on social media.

A spokesman for the governor blasted the website later Wednesday.

“This political website is chock-full of out-dated and misleading information,” said John Tupps, the communications director for Scott. “Florida has been a national leader in job creation since Governor Scott took office and the state has gone from losing 800,000 jobs in the four years before he took office to adding more than 1.4 million in less than seven years.”

Scott’s office also said that since he took office seven years ago, “he has worked to cut taxes 75 times saving Floridians more than $7.5 billion, paid down $9 billion in state debt and made government more efficient to save even more taxpayer money.”

Scott’s office also cited Florida’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, the lowest in more than a decade, and that Florida’s annual job growth rate of 2.6 percent is exceeding the national rate of 1.6 percent.

Scott is beginning his final year as governor. He is strongly expected to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for his Senate seat next year.

Jax preachers call Senate tax plan ‘economic genocide’

Steps away from Sen. Marco Rubio‘s Jacksonville office, a group of Jacksonville preachers thundered against the “immoral” tax bill in the U.S. Senate Tuesday.

The clergymen, brought together under the aegis of the “Faith in Public Life” group, called for Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson to vote against the tax bill based on “religious” values.

Nelson has objected for weeks to the plan, saying that it needs “tremendous revisions” because it privileges corporate interests over those of small businesses and working families.

Rubio also has said he wanted to see more done for working families.

“Unless America’s tax code and our broader public policy does not begin to account for the struggles of working Americans who put in eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week, I think our political process will continue to become more raucous and more divisive,” he said earlier this month. “And America will struggle to solve not just its economic problems, but many of its other problems as well.”

The case the preachers made against the tax plan: it could cause 873,000 Floridians to lose health care, could boost the deficit by $1.5 trillion and could cut social programs.

The rhetoric they used was trenchant.

Rev. Linda D. Girouex called the plan “economic genocide.”

Elder Lee Harris of the of the African-American Ministers Leadership Conference expressed similar sentiments, saying the plan “will destroy certain people,” including poor people and people of color.

Calling the plan “neo-slavery” and saying it amounted to “ethnic cleansing of people of color,” Harris likened it to “chattel slavery … Jim Crow … mass incarceration” in its impact, which would include cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, while removing the ability to deduct student loan interest payments.

“Plantations grow bigger, and only the plantation owners reap the benefits,” Harris said.

Pastor Avery Garner described the “unholy contract” as an “attack on American families,” before making a direct appeal to Sen. Rubio.

“I have seen that you have your own doubts about this legislation,” Garner said. “You can vote no.”

Thanksgiving place setting

What Florida’s political elite should be thankful for

From the soup kitchens of Tallahassee to the conch houses of Key West, from the toniest mansions in Coral Gables to the double wides in Dixie County, people from all walks of life will sit down to celebrate the most American of holidays: Thanksgiving.

“Americans traditionally recognize the ‘first’ Thanksgiving as having taken place at Plymouth colony in the autumn of 1621,” according to MountVernon.org, the website of George Washington’s Virginia estate. “The 1621 thanksgiving celebration, however, did not become an annual event.”

More than a century later, “Washington issued a proclamation on Oct. 3, 1789, designating Thursday, Nov. 26 as a national day of thanks,” it says. “In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans.”

But “the 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation … did not establish a permanent federal holiday,” the site adds. “It was not until the Civil War of the 1860s that President (Abraham) Lincoln initiated a regular observance of Thanksgiving in the United States.”

Thus we come to the tradition of eating and giving thanks, including by the state’s elected officials (and yes, by candidates and players in The Process).

Once God, country, family, and good fortune are given their due, here’s what some of the state’s most prominent leaders should be grateful for:

Marco Rubio – For the proverbial “second chance.” He’s finally becoming the influential U.S. Senator he was supposed to be.

Bill Nelson – For the wave of opinion coming that may enable the Democrat to hold off the inevitable challenge to his seat from self-funding, always-on-message Gov. Rick Scott.

Rick Scott For Nelson, who, despite 17 years in the U.S. Senate, is not well known enough to about half of Florida’s voters, according to a recent poll. No wonder Bill keeps inundating us with press releases of all the concerned letters he writes.

Adam Putnam – For the anonymous “POLITICO 6” who have torpedoed Jack Latvala’s gubernatorial campaign, giving the Bartow Republican an even wider lane to the Governor’s Mansion in 2018.

Jimmy Patronis For Matt Gaetz muscling him out of a state Senate race a few years back. Now he’s the appointed state Chief Financial Officer, with the full faith and credit of the Rick Scott political machine behind him to get elected to a full term in 2018.

Joe Negron For having just one session left as Senate President. It was a long, bruising road to the presidency, with an extended and nasty battle with Latvala. And since he won the gavel, relations with the House have bottomed out, while several Senators have faced debilitating scandals. Has it really been worth it?

Pam Bondi – For state Sen. Tom Lee’s proposed constitutional amendment banning greyhound racing. The term-limited Attorney General regularly brings shelter dogs to Cabinet meetings to get them adopted. Will she make this issue her own as one springboard to her post-2018 ambitions?

Richard Corcoran – For the seemingly hapless Senate, which allows him to ally with Scott when needed to advance his priorities. A post-Session declaration of his own candidacy for Governor is a virtual lock. 

Jack Latvala  For all the donors who gave to his campaign for Governor before the reports of claims of sexual harassment against him came out. No matter how the case against him plays out, he’ll have millions of dollars to make others miserable once he leaves the Legislature.

Buddy Dyer For no term limits as Orlando mayor. How about just chucking the election pretense? Mayor-for-Life, anyone?

Bob Buckhorn For … , well, the Tampa mayor says he’s too busy hunting a serial killer right now to be thankful. We bet he will be thankful once that evildoer is caught.

Brian Ballard For the gift that keeps on giving: His relationship with President Donald Trump. We’d wager he’s … hold on a second, he’s signing another client, we’ll get back to you.

Vivian Myrtetus – For one million hours of volunteer service in the state after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The CEO of Volunteer Florida has good reason to be proud, and we should be proud of our fellow Floridians who helped neighbors in need.

Tampa Bay sees protest of GOP tax proposals

Chanting “tax cuts will destroy us,” a group of citizens marched a block from MacDill Park to a Wells Fargo bank in downtown Tampa on Tuesday to protest the recently passed tax reform plan in the House and warn against approval of the Republican Senate’s tax reform plan that could be voted on next week.

While Democrats have criticized the proposals on a number of fronts, citizens who gathered in the protest held by Organize Now, a liberal group, focused on the potential deleterious effects in health care should the proposals come to fruition.

“I want to see tax fairness,” said Organize Now’s Debbie King. “I want to make sure that we don’t take tax breaks for corporations and pay for them with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that regular everyday people rely on.”

The Senate Republican tax bill would force $25 billion in immediate cuts to Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That’s a move that can only be stopped with a bipartisan vote.

Republicans are working to get the bare minimum of 51 senators to pass the bill, perhaps as early as next week.

Speakers at the rally also said the tax bills could cut Medicaid, an argument that congressional Republicans insist is not the case.

“This plan is going to sacrifice retiree benefits and that money will go to the GOP tax cuts,” said Marina Welch, a former nurse. “Middle Class Americans rely on Medicaid for longterm services and support. Medicaid provides home and community based services that allow seniors to stay in their homes.”

The dispute about whether Medicaid is cut is contingent on whether the individual mandate to sign up for the Affordable Care Act is removed from the Senate tax bill.

Democrats say repealing the individual mandate would lower Medicaid spending. That’s because fewer people would sign up for insurance, according to the CBO. The change also would reduce spending on health-insurance subsidies.

“Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from?” said Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Is there a fairy that’s dropping it on the Senate?”

“There are no cuts to Medicaid,” replied Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. “There are no cuts to Medicare. Nobody is disqualified from insurance.”

At times the rally paralleled those from the past year defending the Affordable Care Act from being repealed by congressional Republicans.

Darlene Goodfellow, a self-employed real estate broker from Valrico, said while she made “significant investments” in health insurance over her life, she never filed a claim because the deductible made it partially useless. She ultimately went 21 years without seeing a doctor.

After recently signing up for Obamacare, she was diagnosed with glaucoma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type II diabetes. She said the most recent labs from her doctor now show that her health issues combined are “considered normal.”

Repealing the individual mandate from the ACA as part of the Senate tax plan would leave 13 million fewer Americans having health insurance. But it would save the federal government $338 billion in the next 10 years, according to the CBO.

The House tax bill does repeal the student loan interest deduction.

“The bill would also increase taxes on graduate students by roughly 400 percent under the GOP house plan,” said Isabel Hall, a 17-year-old senior at Hillsborough High School in Tampa. “Tuition labor that allows grad students to attend their college tuition free in exchange for working at that university will be taxed as employees. This kind of tax increase could make it financially impossible to earn a Ph.D in the U.S.”

The Senate may vote on its tax reform bill upon its return to Washington next week.

Ron Wyden visits Bill Nelson in Tampa to call for bipartisanship in tax reform

Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined his Florida colleague Bill Nelson at a business roundtable discussion in Tampa Monday.

At the event, the two lawmakers blasted the GOP tax reform bill that passed the House last week and could come up in the Senate as early as next week as a giveaway to the wealthy and a tax increase to those making less than $75,000.

After criticizing the bill, Wyden and Nelson said they could find common cause with a significant number of Republicans to come together on a bipartisan measure that could get up to 75 (or even 80) members of the 100-member Senate.

“That’s our endgame. That’s what we really want,”  Wyden said. “We’re going to explain why we don’t care for what is on offer, but we want to let you know why we feel bipartisanship is so important.”

Wyden said a bipartisan-supported bill would give the various business leaders (which included the respective chambers of commerce heads from most major counties surrounding the Tampa Bay area) a degree of certainty that wouldn’t need to be flipped over if a new administration comes into office in three years. Wyden said he has actually co-written such a bill with former Indian Republican Senator Dan Coats (now the Director of National Intelligence in the Donald Trump administration), so he knows it’s possible.

Stressing the bipartisanship certainly made sense talking to a group of business leaders, some of whom were presumably Republican.

Staying with the bipartisanship theme, Nelson cited Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson‘s opposition to the Senate bill in terms of how it treats businesses that operate like “pass-through entities,” — which means they their business income on to their individual income tax return.

In the Senate bill, pass-through entities are allowed to deduct just over 17 percent of their business income, an effort to reduce the rate paid on business income to come closer to the 20 percent rate the bill sets for corporate income (down from 35 percent today).

This will still leave many pass-throughs paying a far higher rate than corporations.

“According to this Republican senator, you’re going to pay an average of 32 percent. Now is that fair?” Nelson asked.

The Senate plan calls for tax cuts for individuals and pass-throughs alike expire in 2022, while the corporate tax cuts are permanent.

While Floridians would get a break from the provision that will not allow individuals in high taxed states like California and New York to deduct their state income taxes, Nelson says they’d get hurt with the provision in the legislation that eliminates real estate and sales taxes.

Another bit of criticism the two Democrats had is what Republicans like Tennessee’s Bob Corker have expressed concerns about — that the proposals being offered but the GOP will bust a hole in the deficit.

Not all nonpartisan tax organizations are bashing the bill. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, in 2019, people in the middle of the income spectrum, earning between $50,000 and $70,000, would see their taxes fall by 7.1 percent. Those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 would see a 10.4 percent decline, the report shows, while millionaires would get a 5.3 percent tax cut.

Nelson criticized the rapid speed with which the Republicans have pushed the bill through the House, and decried the fact that the national press is more focused on Roy Moore, Al Franken and “whatever is the shining object that is so much more entertaining than the dullness of tax law.”

There’s no question that the separate bills in the House and Senate are moving through Congress at a rapid-fire pace. House Republicans passed their bill last Thursday night, exactly two weeks after its detailed legislative text was released. Republicans in the Senate released their plan less than two weeks ago and are expected to put to on the Senate floor before the end of this month.

“They want to get this done next week,” said Wyden. “They’re making ten trillion dollars worth of changes in tax policy on the fly.”

Both Democrats also criticized the recent addition of removing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act as a way to free up revenue in the Senate bill.

“This is the kind of approach that starts unraveling all of the key elements of the Affordable Care Act, that’s why they’re doing it, it’s an ideological trophy,” Wyden said to reporters before the roundtable.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows that 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the GOP tax reform proposals, with only 25 percent supporting it.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons