Heller responds to Brandes ad attacking him on taxes

The key item there is "nonbinding," meaning it has no real meaning other than making a statement to Washington.  Heller referred to as "swatting flies," saying forget about a balanced budget.  He'd like to see a budget surplus, such as was the case when Bill Clinton was President.  "If they want a balanced budget, maybe they can take a lesson from the Democrats," Heller said, adding that it was the same sort of "hypocritical" rhetoric from Republicans who took federal stimulus money while criticizing it last year, though it also helped balance the state's budget.

And the charge that he wants have an Internet tax? Heller certainly wasn't the only legislator to discuss the possibility of collecting a sales tax on Internet sales - part of a larger discussion about how to compensate for reduced revenues, which also included repealing some sales tax exemptions and closing other tax loopholes - discussions that went nowhere in 2010, but could be revisited as the state attempts to deal with their $2 billion budget deficit next year.

Heller sounded a bit defensive, saying that "I've got a record, he doesn't" in terms of the criticism from his opponent.  It's  called being an incumbent, which in 2010 is certainly more challenging when representing a swing district like District 52.  Heller added  that he would probably address Brandes' charges in his own upcoming television ad.

On Wednesday, the Republican candidate for the state House in District 52, Jeff Brandes, aired his latest ad, which this time hits at his Democratic opponent Bill Heller specifically on taxes, where the challenger accuses the USF St Pete educator and legislator since 2006 of raising property taxes, small business taxes and says "he even wants to tax the Internet."  (You can read our post and see the ad here).

Wednesday afternoon, Heller spoke with CL, where he dismissed the attack ad as "politics as usual."

He said it brought back memories of his first general election campaign in 2006, when Heller ran and won a spirited race against Repubican Angelo Cappelli.

Heller criticized Brandes for not telling the full story about what he said was his record on taxes, such as that he also voted to raise the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.  He also took exception to Brandes comment in the ad that Heller doesn't support the nonbinding referendum on balancing the federal budget that Republican lawmakers voted to put on the ballot next month.

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