Rubio said during his U.S Senate campaign that he “never voted to raise taxes” but Politifact rated this as FALSE:
PolitiFact scoured Rubio’s nine-year voting history as a member of the Florida House. We also looked through votes Rubio cast in his two years as a member of the West Miami City Commission.
As a city commissioner, Rubio voted twice to raise property taxes. And in the Florida House, while he pushed to cut property taxes collected by local governments, he also repeatedly voted to force school districts statewide to collect more property taxes, his record shows.
As part of the state budget each year, lawmakers set an amount the state’s 67 school districts are required to contribute to education funding. The amount is set as a dollar figure. The state Department of Education then takes that dollar figure and turns it into a corresponding property tax rate for each school district. The process is called the “required local effort.”
From 2000 to 2008 – the years Rubio was in office – the required local effort from Florida’s school districts rose about 102 percent,** from $4.08 billion to $8.25 billion. Rubio voted for the budget, and the schools tax, each year**. Some of that increase was created by new construction, but at least $2.5 billion came in additional property tax payments made by Floridians.
State legislators aren’t forced to hold public hearings and publicly acknowledge a tax increase like local governments. Some tax bills refer to the tax only as “School-state” or “School-state law.” Other tax bills don’t break the state tax out at all.
It’s a system, says state Rep. Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie, that helps perpetuate a belief that Tallahassee lawmakers aren’t raising taxes, when they actually are.
Fetterman authored a bill this year requiring tax collectors to tell residents if state legislators were raising school property taxes.
The bill was never heard.
“We had some folks in Tallahassee beating their chest, and nearly breaking their arms, shouting about the largest tax cut in Florida history,” Fetterman said. “Then they turned around and forced local governments, specifically school boards, to increase taxes. I am tired and fed up -– as are most of my constituents -– of the saying of one thing and the doing of another thing in Tallahassee.”
Rubio also voted in 1998 and 1999 for increases in property tax collections as a member of the West Miami City Commission, West Miami records show.
PolitiFact tracked down the final budget resolutions for both years. Without getting too technical, they say the city of West Miami, without raising tax rates, was increasing property taxes – 1.402 percent in 1998 and 5.545 percent in 1999. The roll call has then-Commissioner Rubio as voting “Y” both years.
Though he claims to have never voted for a tax increase, we found that he has several times. First, as a commissioner in West Miami when he approved an increase in property tax collections, then as a state legislator when he voted year after year for budgets that forced school districts statewide to collect more property taxes. School districts were simply the middleman, in charge of collecting the money, but they did it at the behest of legislators.
Maybe the votes could be considered appropriate. Or reasoned. Or even necessary. But they were votes to raise taxes – and he did say “never.” We rate his claim False.