TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- When the Florida legislature adjourned last April, Republican Gov. Bob Martinez and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate basked in a mutual glow. They thought that funding to invigorate the state's overburdened infrastructure had been guaranteed for a decade.

That was before powerful interests -- including Fortune 500 advertisers, television broadcasters, newspapers, builders, lawyers and major accounting firms -- took extreme exception to the new sales tax on many professional services that was to produce the funding.

Yesterday, a third week of wrangling at a special session called by Martinez to resolve the dispute ended as he renewed his promise to veto a sales tax revision passed Thursday. He told legislators to try again Monday afternoon.

The increasingly partisan struggle could bode ill for how voters view Florida's second Republican governor in this century. That, in turn, may affect GOP chances for achieving the cherished goal of historic party realignment in what may soon be the nation's third most-populous state.

Meanwhile, the state has stopped issuing bonds, and a bond-rating service has placed its debt instruments on a "watch list" because of uncertainty about future revenue.

At the heart of Democratic legislators' growing anger with Martinez, they said, is the sense that he retreated from the political limb they went out on together and that he then sawed off.

In late August, after the interest groups' strenuous campaign, Martinez began a dizzying series of pirouettes on the issue, finally alighting on the side of repeal.

"There was no doubt which way the issue was going to go when advertisers ran 2 1/2 months of negative advertising attacking the tax and attacking me that went unanswered," Martinez said in an interview.

The interest groups said the tax would be costly and difficult to determine and that such a tax would spur a national trend. The law approved last spring taxes advertising billings, real-estate transactions, accounting and legal fees and new construction but exempts medical services.

Polls indicate that eight of 10 Floridians disapprove of the levy, although most ordinary citizens do not use the services taxed. About seven of 10 do not like the way Martinez, who campaigned on a promise to cut $800 million in waste from state government, is doing his job.

"I must have given 200 speeches since April and, regardless of what group, there was a great hostility toward" the tax, Martinez said. "This issue became one of the people being directly involved in tax policy, so I've advocated repealing it."

As a candidate last year, the governor quietly backed the tax. The state's population grew by almost 20 percent from 1980 to 1986, and a blue-ribbon panel said Florida must spend $53 billion on its infrastructure and other public services in the next 10 years to keep up with such growth.

After inauguration, Martinez joined the legislature in promoting the tax. Its revenue promised to exceed by one-third a projected $500 million shortfall in this year's budget and to deliver $1.2 billion next year. Then came the firestorm.

In late August, Martinez called for the special legislative session to set a referendum on the tax. In mid-September, he shifted, calling for repeal. Two weeks ago, he proposed replacing the revenue by raising the 5 percent sales tax on goods to 5 1/2 percent, with a local option to go to 6 percent.

The reopening of the issue in a state whose constitution prohibits taxing personal income has angered many Democratic legislators who said they thought that the worst of the antitax storm had passed. "He poured gasoline on a dying fire," Senate President John Vogt said.

Mac Stipanovich, Martinez's chief of staff, scoffs at that reaction.

"Sure, the governor could have reached out and grabbed them {legislators} by the nape of the neck and said, 'Don't be afraid of 80 percent of the people. Don't be afraid to die,' " he said. "The governor became unwilling to continue to die for their sins."

In the special session, the shape of the prospective compromise bill changed almost hourly. "I've seen less confusion in combat than this," said Wayne Blanton, lobbyist for the Florida School Boards Association.

House Speaker Jon Mills finally won a revision that would exempt real-estate commissions and most advertising billings, coupled with about $200 million in budget cuts. That mollified most of the lobbyists but not Martinez.

What Martinez has promised to veto when it formally reaches him would set a January referendum on whether to keep a narrower services tax or increase the sales tax on goods, as Martinez proposes.

So the legislature faces a fourth week of the special session. "Depending on the outcome, it will either make him or break him with the legislative process," said House Minority Leader Dale Patchett, who backs the governor's position.

House Speaker Pro Tem James C. Burke spoke bluntly. Martinez, he said, "has lost a lot of respect for his abilities as a politician and as a manager. Now nobody really believes he's a good manager at all. He just does not appear to know how to operate a state government."

Martinez, mayor of Tampa from 1979 to 1986, replied that Democratic legislators "just don't know how to deal with a Republican governor because they haven't had to."