Letters to the editor
Published: February 29, 2012
Published: February 29, 2012
Do you think we should allow a tax in Highlands County that is forever, no end, no way to stop it, no matter how bad it gets? Or do you think that every so often the citizens should be able to review it, see how it's working, what it has done, how the money collected was spent and then vote to keep or repeal it? The question is, do we need a sunset in the tourist tax?
This issue has been discussed at the county commission meetings for several months. The county attorney told us in order to put a sunset in the present tourist tax, we needed to repeal it and then put it back on the ballot with a sunset in it.
Commissioner Elwell proposed a way to do this with very little cost and no loss of tax dollars. It would involve the voters of Highlands repealing the tax, then reinstating it with a sunset. Commissioners Stewart and Harris voted not to allow the voters to do this. They knew it would be repealed, but didn't trust the voters to reinstate it with a sunset.
It was brought up that any one of three commissioners could now recall Commissioner Elwell's proposal back to the floor for another vote. Remember, every elected officer faces a sunset, even commissioners, every four years. Why should a tax be exempt?
This left no other choice except to petition the commission, forcing the issue be put on a ballot for repeal, and if repealed by voters, then the commission could put it back on the ballot with a sunset to be reinstated during the next election.
At the Feb. 21 commission meeting, the county attorney stated what he thought should be on the petition we were going to use. He then agreed to another option that would have no chance of losing the 2 percent bed tax, but could put a sunset in it. This option will be put on the commission agenda shortly, hopefully at a nighttime meeting so everyone attending can express their opinion.
All options will be discussed and a direction of action determined at 6 p.m. Thursday, when the Citizens for Government Accountability meet a Beef O'Brady's in Sebring. The meeting is open to the public. One or more commissioners may be present.
As we watch this Florida Legislature pass a budget where it is inevitable that health care in Florida will decline ("Medicaid goes under the knife," Feb. 23 editorial in the Tampa Tribune), perhaps we should remember the sums of federal dollars cavalierly rejected for health care by this same legislature last year.
Rep. Denise Grimsley, now running for state senate, deftly turned down $54 million in health care funds on the grounds that Florida had its own programs. Of course, as we all knew, the real reason for turning down the funds was strictly partisan: don't allow a hand up if it comes from the other party — they will only put it in their victory column come election time.
According to one study, the $54 million for health care turned down by Rep. Grimsley would have translated into $81 million to the Florida economy and created at least 2,000 jobs. Yes, this is partisan politics. And it costs lives.
It's time to elect representatives who focus on taking care of people first, instead of their political careers. At stake are people's lives. And we should remember.
I just read a news report that states that the cost of making a penny in the United States is almost 3 cents and the cost of making a nickel is 11 cents. And we wonder why our economy is in trouble? The cost for the two lowest circulating denominations increased due to higher material costs and a change in the method of allocation for sales, general and administrative expenses.
And then we wonder why our manufacturing is being outsourced elsewhere. Our debt problem only seems to be headed for the worse
It is obvious what our country is good at. We recently won the Little League World Series. It's a good thing it was baseball and not a competition in math or science. It's time we get some "smart" people in Washington, D.C. If not, then I understand what scientists have confirmed in recent studies: The human being is only capable of using 10 percent of their brain. Imagine what we can do with the other 80 percent.