Democrats reboot Adam Putnam attacks on Ron DeSantis Fair Tax support

Ron DeSantis

For the second time this week, the Florida Democratic Party reprised attacks against Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis that were first rehearsed against him in the GOP primary by Adam Putnam.

Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, was the point man in a Friday media call blasting DeSantis’ support of the Fair Tax.

If this seems familiar, it’s because it is. Putnam, DeSantis’ main opponent, ran an ad spotlighting this weeks ahead of the primary.

“What would a 23 percent sales tax do to Florida’s economy? If Congressman DeSantis had his way, everything would cost 23 percent more — groceries, gas, home purchases. Congressman DeSantis sponsored legislation to increase sales taxes by 23 percent, hurting families, destroying jobs, devastating tourism. Washington is full of bad ideas and phony politicians. Ron DeSantis and his huge tax increase fit right in,” the narrator asserted.

On behalf of the Putnam campaign, spokesperson Meredith Beatrice made a forceful case against the Fair Tax.

“Conservatives have railed against this tax and explained how it would result in higher taxes for the middle class. This policy is particularly bad for Florida considering that retirees, who paid taxes on their wages during their working lives, would find themselves having to also pay higher taxes on everything they used their accumulated savings to buy,” Beatrice said.

Beatrice cited studies published in the canonically conservative National Review suggesting a sales tax hike would shift the tax burden on the middle class.

Ironically enough, especially given that Beatrice is now messaging for the Republican Party of Florida on behalf of the DeSantis campaign, Sperling rehashed that same NR article castigating the Fair Tax as inherently regressive.

Sperling said DeSantis had “very clearly shown us when it comes to tax, budget, and policies what his priorities are,” with a “dogged and repeated commitment” to misleading economic presentations, policies that privilege the wealthy and corporate interests at the expense of “health care to the middle class, seniors, and the most vulnerable members of our society.

“That 23 percent number … is misleading. Even under his description … it’s a 30 percent tax increase,” Sperling said.

“No one thinks that you could actually replace all of the federal income with 30 percent,” Sperling added, noting alternative projections that would be “dramatically higher,” 44 percent and up.

The tax, per Sperling, goes beyond simply being “flat” and “regressive,” “designed to have a tiny percentage of income from the highest earning people and a far higher real rate for people … who have to spend all their money to survive and support their families.”

As Putnam contended ahead of the primaries, the tax also punishes seniors, said Sperling.

“This would equally punish seniors who have already saved their money,” Sperling said, along with cutting out the estate taxes, a protection of the scions of wealth.

“This punishes the middle class,” Sperling said, “with a tax increase.”

“This is the most sweeping tax proposal DeSantis has proposed,” Seth Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund, noted, adding that corporate and estate taxes would be a thing of the past.

Kevin Donohoe, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, contends that the party actually amplified the anti-Fair Tax case, with data and facts going beyond what Team Putnam provided.

“We made an argument about priorities that Adam Putnam never did,” Donohoe said, spotlighting a new microsite:

Among the features of that site, examples of Republican opposition.

Including a quote from RPOF spox Beatrice.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at A[email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ron Maiellaro

    October 6, 2018 at 11:03 am

    When someone says the FAIRtax is regressive, you immediately know they either, 1) have not studied or researched the FAIRtax, or 2) they know the FAIRtax is NOT regressive and choose to purposefully misrepresent it. The FAIRtax has been thoroughly researched; it is actually progressive in that the rich will pay more simply by their spending habits. Plus there is no FAIRtax on used products. So a poor family has NO payroll taxes, NO FAIRtax on used stuff and, like all legal American households under the FAIRtax, get a monthly “Prebate” to reimburse them for the FAIRtax paid on basic necessities. Result? The poor will be well served by the FAIRtax and the rich will pay their fair share. The only people who lose with the FAIRtax are Congress Critters and lobbyists. Learn more at

  • Rob

    October 7, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I would recommend reading the FairTax Book to get real information on how the system works. This is not a partisan issue. On top of the incredible waste our current tax plan incurs, it is also adding to the current mental health condition our country is in. If you are truly conservative or progressive you need to actually learn the real facts behind the FairTax program. It could be the most important gift to give our children. By the way I am lower middle class.

  • Bob Paxton

    October 7, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    What this ad (and others like it) invariably fail to mention is that this supposedly massive Federal sales tax is NOT imposed on top of the taxes we already pay. It REPLACES the Federal income tax. That means no more withholding, no more Federal payroll taxes, no more tax returns and no more IRS.

    Also, understand that any income tax imposed on a business gets treated just like any other cost of doing business–it gets passed on to the consumer. So, when the FAIRtax replaces the income tax, that cost, plus all the compliance costs associated with the income tax go away. Bottom line there is that this tax will NOT raise prices by a huge amount. The FAIRtax will replace the embedded costs of the income tax system that are currently hidden in the prices of the goods and services we buy today.

    You would think that Democrats would like a tax that mathematically guarantees that everyone pays their fair share because there are no loopholes, exemptions or exceptions for well heeled special interests.

  • Elaine Maiellaro

    October 7, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Maybe the Democrat party is unaware of SM118 – It is the official policy of the Florida legislature to replace the federal income tax with the FAIRTax. Does Mr Gillum really think he is wise to attack his opponent on this issue? How can you want to be Governor of a state that endorses the FAIRTax by attacking a Senator who endorses the same?

  • steve hayes

    October 7, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Unfortunately, the statements being made by this ad and website are so misleading that it looks like not a legitimate criticism but a made-up attack. It seems that some people are willing to be totally dishonest to get elected and that is sad.

  • Paul Livingston

    October 8, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    The above attack ad is a reboot of a misinformation FAIRtax ad campaign used by Adam Putnum against Ron DeSantis in the Florida Republican governor candidate election. DeSantis won the election by a 14% margin. This reboot is also full of malicious statements, lies, half truths, fake news and errors about the FAIRtax bill HR 25 / S 18. For many bad statements the exact opposite is true; prices will not increase by 23%, the poor and seniors benefit a great deal, the FAIRtax is a progressive tax system.

    The FAIRtax bill is hated by and threatens the lobbyists, specialists, politicians who want power and control, crony capitalists, tax lawyers and the Washington beltway establishment. No wonder there is so much untruth spread about it.

    The FAIRtax bill was created outside the political establishment with much research and study with $22 million in private funds to define a federal tax system the meets the five principles of fair (equal treatment for all), simple, transparent, supports economic growth and revenue neutral. The FAIRtax tax reform/replacement bill helps all Americans no matter what their political affiliation. Today the FAIRtax bill has 53 supporters in Congress, all Republicans. Why is that? Learn more at

  • Chet Simonetti

    October 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Amazing, it just proves that DEMOCRATS, are protecting the rich, as this would effect them more so than any other class. Not to mention, all of a sudden, hookers are paying taxes, drug dealers are paying taxes. How about all our foreign tourist are paying them as well. Manufactures have openly stated that under this new plan, their taxes would go down accordingly and the consumer would pay just about the same thing as they do now! Congress oppose it for one reason. All of a sudden, all those tax cuts they promise, they would no longer controll. And what good is a politician, if he can’t controll your taxes anymore!?? Just go to the library and check out the FAIR TAX BOOK. I believe Joe Liberman was a co-author. IF YOU READ IT, THERE IS NO WAY ANYONE ( OTHER THAN A POLITICAN ) CAN BE AGAINST THIS PLAN. I left out a group……… Now ALL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS are now paying taxes.

Comments are closed.


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