A supporter of Democrat Andrew Gillum calls Florida a “sh__hole” and says businesses are choosing not to come to the state because it is.
“It’s a sh__hole in every measure, whether it’s care for the elderly, care for the mentally ill, care for the developmentally disabled,” Greenbank CEO Ken LaRoe said during a Thursday morning conference call conducted by the Gillum campaign to promote the Democrat’s economic plan for Florida.
“Every business person I know would willingly give up two percent (in corporate income tax) in order to build a viable, strong educational system in this state,” LaRoe said.
LaRoe later apologized for his remarks.
“I want to apologize for my profanity,” LaRoe said. “I’ve entered a very profane stage of life, especially when it pertains to things I love, which the state of Florida is one of those.
“The rest of the country, especially, (has) looked with disdain at the state of Florida and what has happened to it under 20 years of Republican rule and that’s what my comment was referring to is where they have taken us and destroyed our state.”
Gillum’s running mate, Chris King, was also on the call and said he did not share LaRoe’s perception of Florida.
“Mayor Gillum and I don’t share that view,” King insisted. “I love Florida. Mayor Gillum loves Florida … Florida has given both of us so much and we feel a sense of responsibility.
“We see a state that has so many great aspects to it that is incredible and beautiful in so many ways, a state that we chose to make our homes and invest deeply in,” King said. “But we also see a state that, for many years has not had leadership that has cared for the needs of all of our people.
The potential impact of Gillum’s economic plan and his proposal to raise the corporate income tax by $1 billion dollars have been the target of Gillum’s opponent, Ron DeSantis, and Republicans the past couple of days.
Gillum has said the corporate income tax increase would be used to improve the state’s public education system.
The Republican Governors Association launched a new ad on Wednesday critical of Gillum’s economic proposals claiming they would devastate Florida’s economy.
‘Florida’s economy is running at full speed. Thirty-seven percent growth since 2010,” the ad says. “But Andrew Gillum’s ideas would bring it to a sudden stop. Gillum proposes a billion-dollar tax hike. Gillum proposes a higher tax rate than New York. He already raised property taxes in Tallahassee. Now, he wants a statewide tax increase. He admits it’s a billion-dollar tax hike.”
The Gillum campaign responded to the ad calling the claim “desperate and irresponsible” and coming from a campaign “that has no agenda to help Floridians.”
“Andrew Gillum’s radical billion-dollar tax hike would bring Florida’s booming economy to a sudden stop,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson. “Gillum has already hiked property taxes in Tallahassee, and now he wants to make Florida’s tax rate higher than New York’s. Florida’s working families can’t afford the economic consequences of Gillum’s billion-dollar tax hike.”
In a release issued Wednesday afternoon, the Gillum campaign charged the ad contained “inaccuracies and false claims.”
“Mayor Gillum has always put everyday Floridians and small businesses first, and understands the financial burden that families face everyday,” said campaign spokesperson Joshua Karp. “As governor, Mayor Gillum will ensure wealthy corporations pay their fair share to invest in our kids — and under Mayor Gillum’s plan, everyday Floridians and small businesses will not pay a single dollar more in taxes – those are the facts.”
During Thursday’s conference call, King accused Republicans of not having any substantive policies relating to the issues Floridians are most concerned about.
“When you have a value statement like that, the only way you can win an election is you try to make the other guys look scary, or you try to make people afraid,” King said. “I think voters are going to show very forcibly on Nov. 6 it doesn’t work.”