Firefighters and Police Rally to Oppose Tax Cuts

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

By Mike Vasilinda

The chorus of firefighters is growing louder each day at the Capitol. Under the tax cut plan, some districts will lose scores of personnel.

“This is about Broward County, 50 members less to respond to the next disaster on the highway," said Harold Schaitberger, a member of International Association of Firefighters.

One jurisdiction says even the fear of pending cuts is already having an effect.

Bert Williams with the Pinellas Park Fire Department said, “We’ve lost an inspector, a district chief and three lines guys that aren’t out there protecting us or the citizens.”

While there’s plenty of noise being made, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is listening. Inside, the GOP led legislature told Democrats if they even offered an amendment to the tax cut plans, they would never have their idea heard.

Sen. Steve Geller (D- Hallandale Beach) says he has never seen anything like it.

“This is it, take it or leave it, and if you offer and amendment and its defeated, we probably won’t even consider it later.”

But the governor is holding strong, calling the firefighter’s bluff by saying services won’t be cut.

“You know, the people of Florida want their money back and they deserve to have tax cuts, and we’re gonna give it to ‘em,” said Gov. Crist.

In the end, there may be enough votes to pass the tax cut plan, but not enough to have a special election on the tax cuts in January, which will delay some of the relief for another year.

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