Archive for Business and Economy

Hillsborough mobility to nowhere

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Transportation with tags , , , , on March 12, 2012 by verbumsapienti2


To paraphrase a line from Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky, “…shun the frumious Bonder-snatch!”

How is it that “bonding” is so often proposed as a municipal funding source that supposedly does not raise taxes?

Selling bonds to pay for road construction is like charging home remolding to your credit card.

You get what you want now without waiting and you pay it back with future earnings; but the interest payments reduce your spendable income.

As we’ve seen with reduced county income from property and sales taxes, painful budget cuts have to come from somewhere else.

Hillsborough County is already nearly a BILLION dollars in debt in bond obligations, with crippling interest payments.

 Apart from the get-it-now-pay-for-it-later fantasy world we get to live in, who benefits from municipal bonding?

There are the attorneys who actually create the tax-free bonds that are sold by brokers to investors who re-sell them to someone looking for somewhere better than a bank to park their excess money.

Everyone along the line makes a profit, with the end bondholder receiving taxpayer money with no obligation to pay any income taxes.

 Perhaps instead of borrowing money to pay for new roads out to the hinterlands, we should give incentives to employers who build businesses near where people live, and incentives for home builders who build near employment centers?

That way, as we learn to pay as we go, we could also pay off the County debt and use the saved interest payments for something useful, like more buses that run on solar and clean natural gas.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Fourth strike for Hagan

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Politics, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is batting zero in his attempts at hitting a task force home run.

His Transportation Task Force was formed to recommend a Choo-Choo for Tampa.

His I-4 Task Force was formed to recommend paving over east county farmlands at taxpayer expense.

His Economic Development Taskforce was formed to recommend tax breaks for Bass Pro Shop.

Now he wants an Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Task Force formed to recommend taxpayers footing the bills for new roads, sewers, water, and fire and police services in order to “attract new business”.

 All these task forces have simply cost taxpayers a ton of money in outside consultants’ fees.

To paraphrases a line from the movie Blazing Saddles: “We don’t need no stinking task forces.”

Commissioner Sandra Murman didn’t need a task force to start a very successful incentive program to encourage the actual creation of new jobs.

But then maybe we should save Hagan the time, expense and embarrassment of another failed task force and just give him a walk on this one?

After all, according to Hagan, with all the tax and fee cuts already approved by the BOCC over the past few years, The County isn’t bringing in much money from new businesses anyway, so what’s to lose?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Pony first; cart after

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by

Don’t blame over-burdened, under-employed Hillsborough County residents for the lack of infrastructure in downtown Tampa.

The first to benefit would be downtown businesses and land owners; they should be the first to pony up.

They are the private part of public/private partnerships still sitting on the sidelines waiting for the taxpaying public to load the carts for them.

Once the promised high-wage, good-benefit, full-time jobs materialize, the newly employed will shop, eat, play and live downtown.

Their taxes will then also help fund teachers, police, firefighters and public works.

Pony first; cart after.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Good idea, but for….

Posted in Transportation with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Before the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority gets too giddy and all self-congratulatory about spending $4 million of our tax dollars to “discover” the freight rail corridor that runs between downtown Clearwater and Tropicana Field; did anyone spend $1.98 to get CSX on the phone and ask if they would be interested in even talking about any light-rail use of their right-of-way?

The County might have better luck getting Fred Marquis to support putting tracks back on his Pinellas Trail.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Bayshore too Shabby

Posted in GOP Convention, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , on January 9, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Tampa’s Mayor Bob and the City Council think that Bayshore Blvd. has too many warts to please the out-of-town RNC media, set to come here for the August 2012 GOP Convention.

Never mind that Bayshore is one of the longest and most spectacular city walkways in the country; with magnificent views of the bay on one side and lines of colorful Mansions on the other.

A little “lipstick and a prom dress” instead of the usual house-coat and cold-cream might help parts of Bayshore, but what about the sack-cloth and ashes sported by much of the rest of downtown Tampa?

Either get one person to pickup a million pieces of trash and weeds between downtown and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, or get a million people to pick up just one piece.

With the expected summer rains and heavy growing season in August, the city may want to stage a Downtown Community Pride event the week before the media shows up; encouraging every man, woman and child in Tampa, led by the mayor and city council, to participate in a downtown clean-up.

Call it “Pick it up with Bob”.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

West Central Florida Economic Development Centered on Tampa Bay

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , , on December 6, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Map of West Central FloridaI dearly love Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, but yet another two-year, million-dollar “blueprint” study for downtown development is just a distraction from the real, regional planning that needs to take place. Instead of trying to create the best-little-block-in-Tampa, why not work to create the best quality metropolitan statistical area in Florida, or anywhere? Instead of every mayor and county commissioner fighting to win for themselves that white knight job-creating company to relocate here, why not together challenge Miami’s prominence in the state?

Eighth-ranked MSA Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach has a combined population of 5.5 million people, compared to 19th-ranked Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with over 2.7 million people. Yet the Miami MSA has many more times the financial clout of the Tampa MSA. However, if we further expand the view of ourselves as the West Central Florida MSA, we then have the population to rival the Miami MSA. We just lack the vision and political will to become a greater region.

We only have to look at how many roads and bus routes seem to stop at county lines to understand the problem. We think local, not regional. When we do think regionally, we tend to think of the mythical Orlampa I-4 corridor as becoming a unified economic powerhouse. We don’t need The Mouse to be great. We have it all, and more, right in our own backyard.

Take for example the planning area considered by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), which includes the counties of Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota. Take note that this is a north-south corridor that includes numerous world-class schools, hospitals, a major military base, many square miles of pristine environment, three international airports, three deep-water ports and a network of highways and rail lines.

It is long past time for us to stop pushing around peanuts and compete on the world stage. Unless Miami figures out how to expand into the Atlantic or the Everglades, there is no place for it to grow. West Central Florida can plan now for regional commerce, transportation, agriculture, clean water and energy to attract and accommodate business, students, residents and eco-tourists for the next 100 years — if we choose to come together, do it now, and do it right.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Adam Smith says:

Posted in Job-creators, Politics, taxes with tags , , on October 30, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

“As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.”

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

“To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.”

Read Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments

“In many governments the candidates for the highest stations are above the law; and, if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavor, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal; but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes…to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in the way of their [supposed] greatness.”