Frequent Scott critic, Fasano, appointed Pasco Tax Collectorby John Kennedy | August 6th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott appointed longtime lawmaker Mike Fasano as Pasco County Tax Collector, filling a vacancy created by the death of Tax Collector Mike Olson — a move the takes a Republican maverick and frequent Scott critic out of the Legislature.
Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, was elected to the House last fall — beginning his second run in the chamber. He earlier served in the House from 1994-2002, when he was elected to the Senate, where he served the next decade.
Fasano clashed last spring with House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, over Medicaid expansion. Fasano sided with the Senate and Democrats in the drive to accept billions of dollars in federal aid to expand health coverage to 1.1 million poor Floridians. Weatherford refused, warning that the state would likely be stuck with a larger part of the tab from a federal government he said was unreliable.
Fasano also criticized the governor for failing to do more to sell the expansion to lawmakers.
Fasano had earned a reputation as a party loyalist under former Gov. Jeb Bush, being a leading advocate of the governor’s insistence on fazing out the state’s intangibles tax on investments, which he decried as a tax on “seniors and savers.”
He also was an advocate for customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer which is steadily under fire from business associations backing insurance companies which want a bigger slice of the Florida market.
The Pasco job will pay Fasano $136,000 annually, about five times what he earns as a legislator. The job also makes Fasano eligible for a massive spike in his pension benefits.
“He’s passionate. He cares about our state and he cares about his constituents,” Scott said. “He’s going to be very customer oriented.”