TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Frustrated after nearly a month of haggling with Gov. Bob Martinez, legislative leaders abruptly adjourned a second special session Wednesday without acting on the state's controversial services tax.
The decision by lawmakers to leave the landmark $760-million tax on the books, at least for the time being, stifled Martinez's efforts to shed a law that has brought him heavy voter disapproval.
The 5% sales tax on services, pushed through last spring by Martinez and the Democratic leadership, became law July 1. It was applied to a host of previously untouched services such as advertising, legal work, accounting, pest control and yard services and touched off an anti-tax media blitz.
"The House Democrats are the stumbling block in terms of getting something done," the Republican governor charged Wednesday.
Once a champion of the tax, Martinez backed away from it two months ago, first calling for a referendum on the tax and then later calling for its repeal.