Archive for Hillsborough County

Tampa Choo-Choo in the news

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Transportation with tags , , , , on June 7, 2013 by

“The push for rail is not about relieving congestion or getting people from point A to point B, but is rather about developing high-density communities that qualify for HUD affordable housing grants, EPA grants for supposedly improving air quality, Department of Transportation funds for mass transit, and Department of Energy grants for supposedly reducing dependence on oil”

Read the article


Tampa Ballpark Funding

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL, taxes with tags , , , on October 20, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

There is no “free” money for governments to spend, if that money comes from taxpayers.

It is ludicrous to justify funding a new ballpark with taxes that will no longer be needed to pay off convention center bonds.

If any government doesn’t reduce taxes when it can, it is in effect raising taxes.

taxpayer pickpocketBoth the City of Tampa and the County of Hillsborough each have run their credit cards up to around one-billion dollars. The City and County spent that money against future tax incomes by borrowing the money, with interest, from bond investors.

The tax dollars needed to pay the interest on those bonds keeps us from spending today’s tax dollars on anything else we really need; like for education, health care and first-responders.

Having a downtown ballpark is not a bad idea.

A few years ago, a new ballpark in downtown San Diego, near both an historic district and a convention center worked wonders to improve neighboring property values and resulted in several new hotels and added tourist taxes.

If a new downtown Tampa ballpark can be funded thorough investments from increased downtown property taxes and increased hotel occupancy taxes, I say “Go for it.”

Otherwise, I say “Keep your tax-collecting hands out of my pocket.”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Hillsborough open for business

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by verbumsapienti2
booty bag

Booty for Developers

Today’s Special to the Tampa Tribune; Hillsborough, cities “open for business” demonstrates what is wrong with Big Government.

With all the high-powered costly committees, studies and task forces in Hillsborough and the cities, you would think they could collectively come up with something better than having taxpayers shoulder the costs of new roads, sewer and water capacity so that land owners and developers can then sell to some promised out-of-town white-knight company.

KPMG’s Guide to International Business Location 2010 reports that Tampa is ranked as the “most cost-effective city for businesses to locate” in the entire United States.

We already have millions of square feet of shovel-ready and move-in ready office and light industrial space sitting vacant.

 Instead, expand the County’s incentives for home-grown jobs program started by Commissioner Murman.

Clean up the litter, graffiti, weeds and crime in the downtown areas first, and then maybe we would be more attractive to outside business investment.

Tampa is the Roger Dangerfield of large cities, and by extension, so is the entire region. We won’t get any respect until we exhibit some meaningful self-respect.

Tampa: Bad Raps

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by verbumsapienti2
The logo of KPMG.

The logo of KPMG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Pete Times Robert Trigaux today says the Tampa region needs to fight the “bad raps” and negative perceptions we have in the world, which are contributing to our stalled economy.

Let’s start the “myth-busters” with the commonly held belief that the Tampa region needs to be more cost-effective for business to locate here. 

Among the larger cities of the world, KPMG lists Tampa as the #7 MOST COST-EFFECTIVE CITY FOR BUSINESSES TO LOCATE.

Tampa is the #1 ranked region
in the United States!

 Question: Why is this report not front and center on every local city/county/ED website?

Could it be that there is more money to be had by local economic development entities if we just keep paying them to come up with something different (endless studies/reports) than concentrating on the advantages we already have?

 We could have spent the $1 million we gave just the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (THEDC) over the last two years, instead, printing copies of the full KPMG report and sending one with a box of Ruskin tomatoes to the top decision makers of the Fortune 500 companies and still had money left over to put them up for two nights in a top downtown Tampa hotel.

 “We have found the enemy, and he is us.” – Pogo –

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Working the Rays

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL, Sports with tags , , , on December 11, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

When did baseball stop being about having fun and start being
all about money?

In 1845, the Knickerbocker Club of New York City began using Elysian Fields in Hoboken to play professional baseball. Teams played for the love of the sport. Spectators came to watch for the same reason. No money changed hands.

With the construction of two significant baseball parks in Brooklyn enclosed by fences, enabling promoters there to charge admission to games, the prominence of Elysian Fields began to diminish and with it a diminished love of baseball for for the sake of baseball.

Professional baseball became all about money and it still is.

The arguments for building a new ballpark for the Rays include:

  • Keeping the Rays economically viable
  • Keeping up attendance
  • Keeping key players through higher salaries
  • Keeping a major business
  • Keeping a key contributor to the economy
  • Keeping an attractor for new business in the area

No one is talking about keeping major league baseball in the Tampa Bay area as a fun thing to just go and watch.

You can find the love of baseball and not the love of money in municipal parks, sand lots and quite streets where little league, school and church leagues as well as soft ball and stick ball are played.

Let these university-scholarship-recipient baseball stars start earning a living like the rest of us in our day-jobs and just go out on weekends and evenings to play and watch the game of baseball simply for the sake of baseball.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Posted in Hillsborough County, FL with tags , on December 9, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

Well, it’s nearly official.

In order to save Hillsborough County government, it has become necessary to cut it up into little pieces and scatter it hither and yon.

Oh, oops. Did that include making it harder for citizens to easily combine their voices at public meetings?

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luke 13:24

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

What’s next for transit plan?

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Transportation with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by

The Tampa Tribune’s VIEWS page on Nov. 14, 2010 included a piece by Gary “Special Correspondent” Sasso, who heads up the downtown lobby group Moving Hillsborough Forward. Notably, he says that a majority of voters in the City of Tampa voted to approve for themselves a neighborhood Choo-Choo.

Sasso is grousing that the rest of Hillsborough County didn’t want to pay for it. Oh, some roads and needed improvements to bus service were included, but in light of the County’s handling of these two things, few believed they would, or could handle light-rail also.

Sasso, talks about economic development for Tampa along the proposed rail routes, but says nothing about actually moving people from one place to another. 

The County says that improved public transportation is an urgent issue, yet of the nearly $4.7 BILLION that the last sales tax increase was to have raised, only $1.3 Million has been spent to improve bus service. That is less than one-third of one percent.

By comparison,  $290 million went to build the Raymond James Stadium. Does anyone still remember what it was like to watch the Buchaneers play?

 Also, this half-penny Community Investment Tax (CIT) tax we have been paying since 1997, and will continue to pay through 2027, was to also pay for roads. Much of the road money went to Tampa, yet here they are, asking for twice that to again mostly benefit Tampa. 

Sasso is barking up the wrong money tree.

If he can raise one and a half million dollars to increase county taxes, he should be able to raise enough money to increase Tampa taxes.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen