PNJ columnist Mark “Moby” O’Brien in his column today (Fire fee fallout: Property tax cut would hurt waterfront plans) misses the mark. I’m not sure why O’Brien has taken the position that the property tax itself is bad. I opposed Amendment 1 because it only treated the symptoms, not the real problem – which is we elect people afraid to make budget cuts.
There is fluff in the city and county budgets. Amendment 1 will force elected officials to eliminate some of it.
The CRA will be impacted by Amendment 1. However moving the Main Street Sewage Plant and building the Community Maritime Park will attract more private development and bring in tax dollars to the city and county. The Studer Group office building alone will bring over $100,000 in property taxes. Moby continues to overlook those points.
I also don’t buy the argument that police and fire budgets are untouchable. Yes, they have strong lobbies in Tallahassee and City Hall – but it doesn’t mean their expenditures shouldn’t be examined.
A more constructive position to take is to start looking at where cuts can be made without hurting service levels. Start at the top and upper middle management levels. Put a hiring freeze on all open positions immediately.