Monday, July 29, 2013

More Taxes in Pasco: Always the Answer

Guest Post from concerned reader and resident from Pasco County Kim Irvine

Pasco County (all Republican) commissioners are facing a $17 million shortfall and have thus decided to pass the cost along to taxpayers rather than cut programs. In fact, they are adding staff and programs to our already bloated budget. Many conservative Pasco residents have expressed their outrage including Kevin Wright, 
No public official wants to be the one to cut staff or services.Unfortunately this is the hard choice that Pasco residents have had to make time and again over the last few years. It is especially offensive to me that County Commissioners complain about the necessity to fund county employment retirement pension plans.
Kevin goes on to say
His electric, gas, property tax and health insurance bills have increased and tough choices need to be made to reduce the county budget. If the commissioners cannot make those tough choices, they must resign.
Interestingly, the commissioners are giving themselves and county employees, with the exception of police and firefighters, a 3% raise. Police and firefighters only get a 1.5% raise for risking their lives. Unfortunately, the taxpaying public is not getting raises so again the taxpayer is on the hook for more spending we cannot afford. It is their job to figure out how to make do with less, we are.

We also do not need to fund the Urban Land Institute to do more studies to tell us what we need to be doing, to the tune of another $125,000 this fall. According to this Tribune article,
Once again, ULI members will crisscross Pasco to gather information and speak with "stakeholders."
The ULI team's (2008) "smart growth" advice led Gallagher to hire Gehring to lead growth management and bring Pasco into the 21st century.
2011 Mobility Fee Presentation - "no new fees or assessments being adopted"
The result of this "smart growth" advice is that Pasco Commissioners have since implemented mobility fees and TIF financing.  They put the 10 year extension for the Penny for Pasco on the ballot last year, 2 years prior to it expiring, and voters renewed it for another 10 years from 2014. The Commissioners increased the county property tax millage rate a year ago June and now propose raising the millage rate again.

But hold on because they even want more. The Pasco Commissioners are looking to exercise their second gas tax option for another 5 cents per gallon gas tax in Pasco this fall, despite opposition again from Pasco taxpayers. It will never be enough!  

Why not cut the planners until our budget is under control and we have funds for development projects? We are no better off than we were 2 years ago when we were told the Commissioners had it all figured out implementing mobility fees and TIF and the planners plans for projects back then.

The pattern of continuing to spend, creating new projects and raising county salaries, flipping homes on the taxpayer dimes is leading us on a path like Detriot. Why should county taxpayers have to pay for "wellness programs" for county employees? Let them fund their own like we do in the private sector. What is wrong with returning to what the county government is supposed to be providing and cutting the rest so private enterprise, churches, and citizens take care of other worthy programs? It is not the government’s job to provide everything for everybody. The more tax dollars they take from citizens, the fewer citizens have to fund charities themselves and citizens and churches are much more efficient at providing help for the needy among us. 

So much for limited government from our Republican county leaders! We ask they step up and do the right thing.
Kim Irvine
Pasco County resident

The Eye adds that the Tribune agrees with Kim:
So much for what attracted many people to Pasco to begin with - low tax rates and a fiscally conservative commission. 
Taxpayers have every right to give county officials an earful over such an insensitive plan, which wrongly assumes that all taxpayers have recovered from painful economic times, including lost wages, and have plenty of extra cash to offset skyrocketing property insurance rates and high gas prices.
You can find the Pasco County Budget here.

Budget Public Hearings are scheduled as follows:
September 10 at  6:30pm -  Historic Pasco County Courthouse  Boardroom, 2nd Floor, 3918 Meridian Avenue, Dade City 
September 24 at 6:30pm - West Pasco Government Center Board Rood, 1st Floor, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

You can also follow the meetings on Pasco County Government TV, Brighthouse 622 or Verizon 42 and connect on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. If taxing someone 100% of their income is called slavery, At what % is it not slavery?