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Senator Jim King Breaks "Tax Jam"

March 6, 2002

Senate President-Elect Jim King (R-Jacksonville), who is also the current Majority Leader of The Florida Senate, broke the long stalemate and "tax jam" today when he advised Senate President John McKay that he could not vote for the appropriations bill scheduled to come up late this week or early next week in the Senate, which includes approximately $1.1 billion in new taxes.

King, known for being very loyal to everyone with whom he deals, has said for weeks that he simply "cannot leave the President at this time," who he serves as the Majority Leader. While King has been criticized for not taking the step of coming out against taxes, he has also been lauded favorably for "sticking with his President," who has been under severe fire from the business community and most others within the state. But now, as most seasoned observers anticipated, King has simply come to the end of the road with regard to how far he can go on supporting new taxes. It is known that King has for weeks been urging Senate President McKay to find a middle ground with the Florida House that could produce closure on the issue.

McKay’s plan has defied logic since the beginning, but being the person he is, McKay has refused to compromise at all, and it can be anticipated that he will go down without ever attempting to compromise in any way on his tax increase proposal.

King has stated that it is time to begin a dialogue that can bring about an acceptable conclusion. "I truly believe that there is a way that everyone can win in the ongoing revenue debates," King said.

Senator Jim King deserves the thanks of the business community for his strong stand. While some may criticize King and say that he should have come out earlier in opposition to the McKay tax plan, Associated Industries believes that all along King knew he would have to come out in opposition to the McKay plan, but for the sake of cohesion and civility in the Senate, he delayed as long as possible. We agree with Senator King that for the sake of attempting to reach compromise and for the sake of all the other important issues before the Legislature, his decision to wait, even though he knew he would be criticized for same, was definitely the correct decision. Associated Industries does feel that McKay will now try to "shut everything down" since he isn’t getting his way, simply because "that’s the way Senator McKay is."

Again, Jim King deserves our thanks and appreciation, and we sincerely hope that you will convey same to him immediately.