Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Wary of Bush Push for Vote on Class-Size Repeal

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Wary of Bush Push for Vote on Class-Size Repeal

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage, Times-Union columnist

Once again, Gov. Jeb Bush doesn't get it.

In his State of the State address before the Legislature earlier this week, Bush pushed for a special election, probably in September, to ask voters to repeal the class-size constitutional amendment they passed last November.

The amendment needs to be reconsidered, but not the way Bush wants to go about it.

First of all, a special election would cost several million dollars and, with Bush proposing to whack away at such things as the State Library and the office that handles appeals for Death Row inmates to save a few million dollars here and there, that kind of expenditure doesn't make sense.

If voters are to get another shot at the amendment, it should be done during the regular statewide elections of 2004.

Of course, Bush doesn't want the volatile issue, which could call for a tax increase, on the ballot then because Florida is a critical state in his brother's plans for re-election as president.

The last thing the Republicans want is a lot of talk about increasing taxes as President Bush campaigns for votes. You may remember that he didn't exactly win by a landslide here the last time around.

Sorry, this is about the future of Florida's children. If the debate comes at an inconvenient time for George W. Bush's re-election bid, too bad.

After his State of the State speech, Jeb Bush suggested that voters should be asked that if they don't want to repeal the amendment, then what new tax do they want to pay for implementing it -- an increase in gasoline taxes or a penny jump in the sales tax.

That would be a fair question only if voters were given another option -- repealing the $6 billion in tax breaks, mostly for the well-to-do, Bush handed out during his first four years in office. …

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