Archive for Hillsborough County Florida

Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , on April 5, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough taxpayers paid many tens of thousands of dollars on County economic development studies to determine which specific industries should be targeted in order to create local high-paying jobs.

Those “target industries” included:

  • Biotechnology & Medical Devices
  • Medicine & Medical Management
    • Electronic Health Records
    • Medical Simulation & Training
  • Cross-Business Functions
    • Shared Services
    • Business Analytics
    • Information Technology
    • Headquarters Enabling Functions
  • Financial Services
    • Middle/Back Office Operations
  • Defense & Security
    • Security and Technology
    • Security/Intelligence Consulting

Question: how many of these target industries are represented on the new Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee?

Answer: none, they all went to the land development industry.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

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

Open letter to the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Marilyn Smith, Tampa FloridaInstead of apologizing for what Marilyn Smith said, you all should be apologizing to her.

Using your public forum to characterize Smith as a racist for her use of the word “ghettozing” in describing a proposal to segregate the so-called Hispanic vote into one geographic district is both contrary to the spirit of the first amendment, and wrongheaded as to the historic origins of the word.

Ghettos have long been used by authorities to marginalize ethnic minorities, by rule of law, removing their voice from general public discourse.

 You should also apologize to the voters for blatantly admitting that the voices of Hispanics would not be heard by the BOCC unless through some commissioner elected from a barrio.

Single-district as well as at-large commissioners are bound to represent all county residents, regardless of geography; regardless of ethnic background.

 Perhaps a less emotionally-charged word describing ethnic redistricting would be “Balkanization”.

Here once again, the goal of the ruling classes is to divide up the political power of the people into ever smaller groupings, dedicated to self-interest, leaving true power in the hands of an influential few.

 I have never known Marilyn Smith to use race, gender, age, political or sexual orientation to attack anyone, even those who were acting against the best interests of the community.

Each of you at one time or another has been on the sharp end of one of her acerbic comments; but none of you because of whom or what you are, but rather because of what you said or did.

 <IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Jim Norman, (fill in the blank)

Posted in Ethics, News, Opinion, Politics with tags , , on March 4, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Roget’s is replete with epithets for those who lie, cheat and steal.

The especially vile entries are reserved for transgressors of widows and orphans, taxpayers, journalist and voters.

Jim Norman has already admitted to lies about the $500,000 Hughes money.

We are just waiting how best to also describe not paying back the loan/investment, or alternatively, not including that as a gift on Federal tax returns.

<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

Hughes money to Norman; gift or loan?

Posted in Ethics, Opinion, Politics with tags , , , , on February 26, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

House of Norman
There is no consistency in reporting how the Normans came into possession of that $500,000 from Ralph Hughes for a lakefront home in Arkansas. 

Sometimes it is a gift, sometimes it is a loan, or even sometimes an un-repaid loan that somehow became a gift upon Hughes’ death.

If a loan, that money should be returned to the Hughes estate.
If a gift, that income should be reported for federal taxes.

 It isn’t enough that Jim Norman has finally signed a consent order admitting that he has lied since 2006 about this money; he says through his attorney that his admission of wrongdoing is also a lie in that he feels he could beat the rap in court.

So, in the best Florida political tradition, Jim Norman will not only get away with keeping these half-million dollars, but he will do it tax-free and out from under any cloud of wrongdoing.

Has anyone suggested his name for the VP slot on the GOP ticket?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen