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349 Votes For Higher Taxes? This Hit On Bill Nelson Doesn't Hold Up

349 Votes For Higher Taxes? This Hit On Bill Nelson Doesn't Hold Up
Rick Scott claims Bill Nelson voted for higher taxes 349 times. That number is very unreliable. Here's why.

To look at another key Senate race this midterm election, venture with us to the state of Florida. That's where incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson is fighting a challenge from the state's Republican governor, Rick Scott.

Scott's campaign is attacking Nelson on his lengthy record in Washington, including his votes that favored higher taxes.

"What's Nelson done all those years?" A narrator said in a Scott campaign ad. "Three hundred forty-nine times, he's voted for higher taxes."

Whoa. That's a lot of votes for higher taxes. And it's a very unreliable number. It needs a lot of context.

Almost half of the 349 figure includes Nelson's votes on non-binding budget resolutions, which just set parameters for what should be considered in tax and spending law. Those votes don't count toward the passage or rejection of a bill that would become law.

That number also counts multiple votes for the same bill, which is common as lawmakers tack on amendments. To the Scott campaign, that might count as voting multiple times for a tax increase, but it's important to note that not all of those votes counted toward separate tax increases.

In short, the 349 number is very misleading. It includes multiple votes for the same bill, and a lot of votes for resolutions that would never actually become law.