Farmer Bill Nelson taken to woodshed by GOP committeeby John Kennedy | October 2nd, 2012
A Karl Rove-created political committee said Tuesday it is spending $2 million this week on a TV spot blasting Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for taking a Florida tax break on 55 acres of land he owns in Indian River County — where six cows graze.
“Bill Nelson’s decades as a career politician have taught him how to dodge paying hefty taxes and still make big profits for himself,” said Nate Hodson, a spokesman for American Crossroads, a committee created by President George W. Bush’s former strategist. “Floridians can’t afford another six years of Bill Nelson helping himself while he pushes higher taxes for everyone else.”
In the 30-second spot, American Crossroads also tars Nelson for supporting a Democratic-backed initiative that would have increased the federal estate tax — a move critics said would hit family-owned farms hard.
Nelson saved $43,000 in property taxes last year by leasing the land, long owned by his family, to a cattle operation. Under the state’s greenbelt laws, Nelson faces a reduced tax liability compared to the full market value of the land.
Nelson has sold neighboring parcels of land for development. A Nelson spokesman earlier denied any wrongdoing on the senator’s part.
Nelson’s campaign shot back, saying the new spot was “false and misleading.”
“It’s always been pastureland and always will be,” the campaign said. “Even the courts have upheld its use as such.”
American Crossroads is helping Republican Connie Mack in his race against Nelson. Although Mack is well back in the polls, he told the Palm Beach Post last week that he expects as much as $30 million to be spent on behalf of his campaign by third-party organizations like American Crossroads.
Here’s the TV spot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrVrN4gb6QU