The first item under "highlights" on Florida state legislator Matt Gaetz's (R-Fort Walton Beach) official web page is "American Conservative Union, Defender of Liberty, 2013."
He's really big on liberty, apparently. And low taxes. Except for women who work for a living, or people who like to watch women working for a living, or people who roll their own cigarettes instead of paying Florida's exorbitant taxes on pre-manufactured smokes. Liberty and low taxes for them? Not so much.
Gaetz wants to impose a $10 head tax on entry into strip clubs. While he throws around some nonsense about fighting "human trafficking," he makes it clear what his real goal is. As paraphrased in WPTV News Channel 5's report on the proposal, it's to "discourage people from frequenting the businesses." Oh, and he also wants to require strip clubs to keep records of their customers, just in case the government might want to know who they are.
Representative Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights), whose legislative web page touts his "Florida Chamber of Commerce Honor Roll" and "ABC Friend of Free Enterprise" awards, takes it even further: He wants a $10 entry tax on all night clubs and a $25 tax on nightclubs featuring human nudity. Why? Because "[l]ap dancing is not buying a loaf of bread at a grocery store."
Gaetz is also behind a proposal to charge people who buy pipe tobacco and paper/filters at "roll your own" shops the same taxes as are currently levied on actual cigarettes. And he also makes it clear that his goal is to put shops that cater to that customer base out of business.
I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that Republicans hate business, hate working women and hate smokers. Unfortunately, they generally get away with this kind of stuff throughout their legislative sessions before coming home to campaign by eating apple pie in front of American flags and pretending they're your friends.
They're not. If you want freedom, low taxes and respect for people who work for a living from Florida's politicians, your only real option within the system is to vote Libertarian.