The conservative case for Marco Rubio

For the ideas that didn’t pass, Rubio still managed to negotiate some partial victories. Jim Geraghty at National Review wrote a detailed article last year describing how Rubio fought hard for a “bold” tax reform that would have reduced property taxes by $40 to $50 billion. A 1 percent sales tax increase would replace lost education funding, and counties would have the option to eliminate their primary residence property tax all together in exchange for an additional 1.5 percent sales tax.

This was a period where skyrocketing real estate values were creating financial stresses for homeowners worried about affording their property taxes, and the end result of Rubio’s tax plan would have been to shift more of the state’s tax burden from Florida residents to the tourists and owners of vacation homes.

Crist and the Florida Senate proposed a significantly smaller tax cut, then dug in their heels and let the sixty-day legislative session expire. However, as Geraghty noted, “the issue had generated enough public interest that not delivering any property tax relief would be a political disaster, so both chambers agreed to a special session.” The final tax relief that was passed was not as sweeping as Rubio originally hoped, but does illustrate his ability to “drive a hard bargain” and battle until the end with “Republicans he deemed as too passive and comfortable with the status quo.”