Open letter to the Hillsborough Florida Board of County Commissioners

Commissioners –

Call 911If you saw your neighbor hit by a truck, would you just stand around with your hands in your pockets waiting for help to arrive?

The first rule of life saving is to point to some bystander and forcefully say “You. Get help. Call 911.”

Next, stop the victim’s bleeding; treat for shock, and provide appropriate heart/lung resuscitation.

Our nation has been hit by a recession, and we are standing around waiting for the next president to fix it.

We want that president to stop the spending, reduce the deficit, lower taxes, eliminate unnecessary business regulations, and create a business environment conducive to job creation.

In our own neighborhood, the economy of Hillsborough County has been hit by that same recession. The difference is that our local elected officials (you) don’t have to wait for Washington to take local action.

Look at your last few BOCC Agendas. They are filled with sitting around obsessing over speed bumps.

Each of YOU; get help! Call 911.

Do what is in your power now to save the economic life of Hillsborough County.

1. Stop the spending. Put away the County credit card. Stop “bonding” every new spending program that comes along and start spending as-you-go and then only within a balanced budget.

2. Reduce County debt. All y’all have run up the County credit card to nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Our children’s children will still be paying this off, long after we are gone. The monthly interest on those billions of dollars alone is likely more than all of your combined yearly salaries for the next ten years. We should be using that money instead to help put people back to work, and back to paying taxes.

3. Lower business taxes. Business property taxes are out of control. Businesses close their doors everyday because they cannot afford steep increases to their property taxes. Sales taxes on businesses are another thing you can tackle. Eliminate sales taxes on business leases, both for rents and equipment. Reduce sales taxes on everything a business buys to operate their business.

4. Eliminate unnecessary business regulations. It likely would take someone a year and $100,000 to open a simple hotdog cart on the sidewalk outside the County Center (if it is possible at all). Eliminate duplicate city/county business taxes. Examine every business tax and determine to reduce or eliminate every one of them, at least for the next 5 years.

5. Create a business-friendly environment. Lowering business taxes and reducing business regulations go only so far. You can do so much more to encourage new business entrepreneurship. Start business incubator/accelerator/co-work space facilities in each County district. Take some of the County’s “emergency” reserve to start a micro-loan program for small and new businesses. The money would be repaid, with interest, which could be loaned again to other entrepreneurs. With business planning oversight by the SBIC and sound credit and collection control by the County, bad debt losses should be no greater than one or two percent. This would be more than offset by interest collected.

Do these things without exploiting people or the environment.

Now what?

Don’t form expensive new task-forces or committees. The ones we’ve had for the past five years have resulted only in increased county unemployment.

Make the only agenda item on your very next BOCC meeting:

“What will we actually start doing tomorrow to help
Hillsborough County residents get back to work?”

 Invite the mayors and city councils of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace to that meeting and don’t go home until at least five things are agreed upon that can be implemented the next business day that helps get your constituent/resident/taxpayer/voters back to work.

 Do these things without exploiting the people or the environment.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

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