You think these guys would take a hint. Despite all sorts of negative ad campaigns from the local Florida governments, Amendment #1 passed by nearly a 2 to 1 ratio back in January of this year. Apparently that was not a strong enough message to the local governments.
Now with the realization that property values are dropping, the greedy counties and cities are eyeballing millage rates and all sorts of crazy fees in order to increase their tax revenues any way they can. The Orlando Business Journal wrote a great article on this subject last week.
I have been predicting for months now that the local governments would be crying about this come Fall 2008. It was inevitable that values would drop some based on the current market's sluggishness. What the local governments fail to mention are 2 things:
(1) Property values have doubled and tripled over the last several years. So what is the big deal for their budgets that residential values are down 12% in Orange County. They went up over 100% for most people in the last few years, so now instead of paying a 100% increase in taxes we are paying for an 88% increase. Give me a break. Here are some websites that show the windfall tax increases that occurred a few years ago. The values are just now coming down a little bit after many years of skyrocketing.
(2) The government's budgets have doubled as well and waste is everywhere. For the naysayers that actually believe the government is broke, I am providing just a few articles on all the fat and waste out there. You can go online and find a hundred others.
There are a lot of county commissioners, city commissioners, mayors, sheriffs, and school board members running for re-election this Fall. Please find out where they stand on the issues and remove any incumbent that won't take a stand on reducing taxes and keeping the local governments fiscally conservative.
Also don't forget one of the worst abusers of the system out there, the 91-year old Orange County Tax Collector, Earl K. Wood. According to the Orlando Sentinel, he admittedly works a mere 25 hours per week mostly from home via telephone and earned over $150,000 in 2007 including abusing the county's DROP retirement program. How can an ELECTED official be representing the people while working out of his home and collecting a county retirement check at the same time? If Wood is at home watching TV all day or doing who knows what, who is running the tax collector's office??? Wood needs to be sent packing once and for all, so we can get someone in there that really wants to REPRESENT THE PEOPLE as the tax collector and not just CHEAT the taxpayers out of his giant paycheck. Just axing Wood from the public dole could put 2 or 3 more police officers or teachers onto the payroll. I respect Wood's past service. But just because he did good work years ago, he should not be excused from his terrible abuse of the system at the present time. It almost makes me wonder what other abuses Wood has committed during his 40 years as tax collector. Orange County Tax Collector Earl K. Wood along with many other career politicians needs to be fired in November by the voters.
(Copyright © 2008. Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)
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