Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Enemy is Reality: Voters and Taxpayers Fed Up

On Tuesday, five Florida counties soundly rejected sales tax referendums, including the Greenlight Pinellas rail boondoggle and transit related referendums in Polk County and Alachua County. Citrus County and Hernando County had infrastructure related sales tax referendums that were also defeated.

How badly were all these initiatives defeated? They ALL went down in flames.
Greenlight Pinellas - Defeated 62-38%
Polk County - Defeated 72-28%
Alachua County - Defeated 60-40%
Hernando County - Defeated 56-44%
Citrus County - Defeated 75-25%

In addition, a sales tax referendum in Martin County (just north of Palm Beach County) was narrowly defeated by 83 votes and is going to a recount on Saturday, that many expect the defeat to hold.

Here's a picture of how bad Greenlight Pinellas was defeated - 248 of 299 precincts voted NO. Even downtown Clearwater, one of the end points of the light rail, voted No.

Pinellas County votes a whopping NO
to Greenlight Pinellas 62-38%
What do all the overwhelming defeats mean?

Is it a strong indicator of distrust and skepticism voters and taxpayers have today?

Is it a strong indicator that our current elected officials are not spending what they already have wisely, effectively and on our highest priorities? Do voters and taxpayers think government at every level is overreaching and spending our tax dollars on things they shouldn't be?

Most of the referendums were comprehensive, attempting to raise additional revenues for multiple issues. Have voters and taxpayers simply seen too many failed "comprehensive" referendums, where elected officials push the "something for everyone" carrot to get the costly referendums passed, and then they end up over promising and under delivering? Do voters and taxpayers lack the confidence there will be appropriate oversight, discipline and accountability with spending these additional tax revenues, especially when spent on numerous issues rolled into a single tax?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up watching taxpayer funded entities like PSTA spend almost a million dollars of taxpayer monies advocating for a sales tax few will benefit from?  Are voters and taxpayers fed up watching PSTA spend years of their time and resources pushing for Greenlight and higher taxes instead of focusing on their bus service? Are voters and taxpayers simply fed up with taxpayer funded entities using their bully pulpit and our tax dollars with a one-way message advocating against the taxpayer?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up watching the collusion of taxpayer funded entities and special interests groups push higher taxes for projects that benefit the few - them?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with cronyism and what appears to be a circle of money between elected officials and special interests?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with being told we must hand over more of our tax dollars in the name of "economic development" that in reality feeds our tax dollars to special interests?  Are voters and taxpayers fed up with being told we have to continually subsidize development?

We already hand lots of our tax dollars every year to entities pushing "economic development".  What success have we gotten in return? What is the actual return on investment as far as economic prosperity and growth from using all these tax dollars? Can anyone measure?

Some of those entities turn around and use the monies they receive to advocate for higher taxes. Is something wrong with this picture?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up watching elected officials and taxpayer funded entities like PSTA ignore and mock those oppose them?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with lies and deception used to push for higher taxes?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with those continuing to push referendums requiring federal debt dollars for costly solutions we do not need nor can afford?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with the continued emphasis on taxpayer funded solutions to all our problems?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with the lack of common sense, fiscally responsible solutions because someone's beholden to deep-pocketed special interests?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with the too much one-sided, biased reporting and editorializing by local media favoring these costly referendums?

Are voters and taxpayers fed up with the "powers to be" ignoring "We the People"?

It's somewhat amusing to hear Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who also chairs the PSTA board, state that he was surprised by the outcome of Greenlight Pinellas.

The $1.2 Million pro rail Greenlight PAC was doing polling because they were paying a polling company according to their campaign finance reporting.  If things were going "their" way, we would have heard about it. They knew Greenlight was going down, they just didn't know how bad.

The opposition to all these referendums was obviously broad and deep.

The enemy is NOT No Tax For Tracks, the Tea Party or anyone else who voted against all these referendums.

The enemy is reality.

The defeats were NO surprise. Just think about the questions above.

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