It's become clear by now that Gov. Rick Scott and his team have decided that their push for a $400 millon cut in automobile tag and registration fees is probably going to be the governor's number one priority heading into the 2014 session.
Scott in one week has already held two out-of-town events to promote his proposal even though the session start is still two-and-a-half months away.
The political calculus about the fee hike is that is gives Scott another way to contrast himself against former Gov. Charlie Crist in next year's governor race. It was Crist who in 2009 signed the $2.2 billion package of tax and fee increases into law.
But there's also another person with a vested interest in all of this. And that's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
Atwater was Senate president in 2009 when legislators crafted the tax and fee hike package as part of a way to close a substantial budget gap. (Legislators also accepted federal stimulus dollars and made budget cuts.)
If Atwater were to ever run for governor (in 2018 assuming he wins a second term as CFO) the package could come back to haunt him. So on the very least Scott's decision to push for a rollback could help Atwater down the line.
But as of right now Atwater is not running away from his decision to support the hike as a way to get through a tough budget year when Florida's economy had been battered due to the Great Recession.
"I took my votes and made my call and I should be held accountable for every choice I made,'' Atwater said.
Atwater points out that the decision to raise the auto registration fees originated in the House, while the Senate's initially backed an increase in cigarette taxes. He contends that the final package was a "middle ground."
But Atwater added that while he takes "ownership" of his decision he also supports Scott's decision to cut the fees now.
"I take ownership of everyone of those calls I made and how we ultimately pieced it together at the time to make it work','' Atwater said. "I think going back and looking at those choices is a good thing and I think the governor is on the right track."
The question moving forward is whether or not Scott - and the Republican Party of Florida - bash Crist over the fee hike.
So far Scott has been measured in how he has been mentioning the fee hike. He has said there's a surplus now and people deserve to get some money back. (It may be another time to note that as the election draws closer Scott has taken a populist bent on which taxes & fees to go after. It was the elimination of the corporate income tax, after all, that was a main component of his 7-7-7 plan.)
But if the Scott campaign and party apparatus go full throttle against Crist on this issue they may be damaging the political future of those waiting in the wings.