As Paul Paulson sees it, raising taxes to close Orlando’s budget gap was like a “disease.”
On Wednesday, the newest candidate for Orlando Mayor spoke to Florida Politics about what voters can expect from his campaign, as well as his past personal history with incumbent Buddy Dyer.
After launching his campaign Tuesday, Paulson promised to make this race about the Mayor’s decision to raise property taxes 17.7 percent last year to cover a budget shortfall.
“We need taxes people can afford to make this city grow,” he said. “It’s an indicative of a kind of disease, spending other people’s money.”
Both Dyer and the City Council have stood by their decision. During recent budget hearings, they insisted the increase “stopped the bleeding” and allowed them to balance the budget.
Paulson also reflected on his brief relationship with Dyer during his time at the University of Florida, calling him an “acquaintance.”
“We took Admiralty together,” he said. “He sat in the back row and I sat in the front. He showed up to the first day of class and never showed up again.”
“He was a popular social animal,” Paulson added. “I was more analytical. He could have transferred or borrowed someone’s notes. “
Dyer is the favorite in the contest with almost $300,000 in campaign donations in the bank. He also enjoys name ID from twelve years in office, and unified support from the business community.
Paulson would also be open to debating Dyer “3 to 5 times” under the right circumstances to discuss the issues and the city’s budget. He’s hired controversial political consultant Doug Guetzloe to help him lead what he calls a “tax revolution.”
Paulson is also proud of his military service and is a “Florida Gator by the grace of god.”
Qualifying for the Mayor’s race ends Friday. Dyer and Paulson have qualified, while a third candidate —Ronald Muroski — filed but faces challenges with residency issues. Muroski has only $20.00 in his campaign account.
Paulson believes Orlando voters will follow his vision of lower taxes for the city, with some advice for Dyer.
“I want him to post his resume on-line and look for another job. We can’t afford him.”