In a sure sign that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is trailing in the Governor’s race, his campaign is out with a new television and radio commercial claiming his opponent, Congressman Ron DeSantis sponsored a 23 percent sales tax increase.

Putnam’s claim is in contrast to what President Trunp said about the Congressman in his endorsement tweet – DeSantis is “big on cutting taxes.”

Commercial script:

“What would a 23% sales tax do to Florida’s economy? If Congressman DeSantis had his way, everything would cost 23% more – groceries, gas, home purchases,” the narrator says in the 30 second ad, which will appear on cable and broadcast starting Wednesday. “Congressman DeSantis sponsored legislation to increase sales taxes by 23 percent, hurting families, destroying jobs, devastating tourism. Washington is full of bad ideas and phony politicians. Ron DeSantis and his huge tax increase fit right in.”

While true that DeSantis supports a 23% sales tax, the proposal would also eliminate all federal income taxes and employee payroll taxes. It’s been championed by Conservatives in Congress. DeSantis is one of 46 co-sponsors of the House bill which also includes Florida Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey and Ted Yoho. The proposal, known as FAIRtax, is considered a consumption tax – meaning a person pays a tax for what they purchase instead of a set tax rate based on overall income.

“Adam Putnam is facing the reality of having to finally get a job outside of politics, and he’ll say just about anything to avoid that. Including attacking Ron for supporting the FairTax,” said Brad Herald, DeSantis campaign manager.

The organization backing the proposal – Americans For Fair Taxation – is based in Clearwater. In 2009, while Putnam was a member of Congress the organization gave him a “0” rating.

This is Putnam’s most aggressive attack on DeSantis and comes after three polls last week show Putnam trailing in the race for the first time. It also comes a day after President Trump announced he’d be in Florida next week to campaign for DeSantis.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.