A meeting of the mind and the mindless

 Yesterday I attended a Sun City Center so-called debate on the sales tax increse that is on the November 2 ballot.

The event was truly amazing to watch. Lone Jim Hosler at one, otherwise empty table, with the other table crowded with county and private interests.

We expect Moving Hillsborough Forward to be one-sided in their presentations, it a lobbying organization funded to get voters to raise the sales tax by about $200 MILLION per year.

The County on the other hand has sworn to “educate” the public about the tax referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot, but all we heard from the BOCC, Hart and MPO was one side of the issue.

What to make of The County’s PowerPoint “talking points” projected on the screen with Moving Hillsborough Forward’s logo at the top and Moving Hillsborough Forward’s contact information at the bottom?

(Oh, by the way for those of you who are trying to curry favor with resident here, it is Sun City Center.)

There were NO concerns expressed by The County:

• No concerns about what impact this tax would have on Hillsborough’s small businesses;

• no concern about what impact this tax increase would have on the 12.6% of Hillsborough residents who are unemployed;

• no concern that success would depend on where the rail lines and stations would be located;

• no concerns that no new jobs (except for consultants, lawyers and pick-ax swingers) would even start being “created” until another FIVE YEARS.

• No concern that the restaurants and shops likely to locate near these stations would employ low-wage, part-time, no-benefits clerks, waiters and dishwashers;

• no concern that that cash-strapped Florida and Federal governments might not BE ABLE to finance the rail project;

• no concern that one key element is a sweetheart deal with CSX that might not happen;

• no concern that of the 75% of the tax increase devoted to “transit” none of that is guaranteed to go to bus transit;

• no concern that if ridership for the new bus routes don’t justify the expense that the new routes will likely be cut.

The list goes on, but The County doesn’t want to share any of this with the public as they say “Let the voters decide.” The voters should decide to not fund this pig-in-a-poke tax increase.

Let the voters decide to not return any of the County Commissioners to office who want to blindly tax and spend our money, when there are more pressing issues, like JOBS NOW.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

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