GOP House hopeful has history of late tax payments

Florida state Rep. Kathleen Peters, one of two Republicans vying for deceased Rep. Bill Young's (R-Fla.) seat, has paid her home and business property taxes late 10 times in the past 15 years, according to Pinellas County records.

According to a Hill analysis of publicly available tax records, Peters has paid collectively $1,095.19 in penalties and fees since 2000 because of the late taxes.

ADVERTISEMENT
Records show Peters and her husband, Michael, were late in paying taxes on their former business property, a convenience store in St. Petersburg Beach, every year from 2000 through 2007, resulting in a total $889.02 in late penalties and fees levied on the property.

Peters was also late on her personal property taxes twice in the past decade, in 2007 and 2012, accruing $206.17 in penalties as a result.

Spokesman Mark Zubaly said that while Peters didn't have a daily role in the business she owned with her husband, "it is her liability."

But he dismissed the late payments, noting that they had never resulted in a lien on her properties and were always paid within the year they were due.

Zubaly cited the difficulty of running a business in a tourist area as the main reason for the late tax payments on the convenience store.

"We have a tourism-based economy [in Pinellas County]. It really can ebb and flow depending on different things happening around the country," Zubaly said.

"Whether it be 9/11 or oil — we had a barge hit the skyway a few years back … these things affect tourism. And he has a business that was on the beach that was totally at the mercy of the tourist season," he added.

The Peterses sold the business in 2009.

Peters is facing a tough fight in the Jan. 14 GOP primary for Young's seat against a former staffer of the congressman, lobbyist David Jolly.

Jolly has the backing of Young's widow and is running on his legacy, while Peters has characterized herself as an advocate for local issues up against a Washington insider.

Some Republicans believe Peters, as a female candidate, could have a better shot in the general election, where the GOP nominee is expected to face top Democratic recruit Alex Sink, a female candidate herself.

More in Campaign

GOP boasts of improved ground game

Read more »