Florida bill to boost rental-vehicle tax vetoed

| 7/7/2006

Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed legislation June 28 that sought to ask voters in Florida counties to decide whether to double the $2 daily surcharge on rental vehicles. The revenue would have been used to help pay for local transportation needs.

The bill – S1350 – to increase the cost of rental vehicles from $2 to $4 could have raised $150 million statewide for roads, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. It won widespread support in the state Legislature.

Supporters said gridlocked regions in the state are being cheated out of transportation funding because many of the people who rent vehicles aren’t accounted for when highway funds are distributed, The Associated Press reported.

Sen. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Park, said formulas for determining how much an area gets for road and bridge work is based on population – but doesn’t figure in the half million tourists on Orlando’s roadways on any given day.

Opponents, however, said it’s not just tourists who rent vehicles. They said local residents and businesses also would be hit with the additional fee.

Speaking about his veto, the governor said the approach allowed for “taxation without representation,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“The money is needed,” Bush said. “Transportation issues are needed. But in my eighth year in office, this was not the year I was going to break what I consider a pretty bedrock principle.”