An Investigative Essay by John M Jones III 11/7/2018
According to the supervisor of elections of Hillsborough county as of 11/1/18 there were 892,213 people on the voter rolls for the county. On Nov. 6 a poultry sum of 276,036 of those voters decided to increase the entire county's sales taxes approx. $8,000,000,000 or 8 BILLION dollars over 30 years, and a sorry sum of 270,036 voters decided to give the already poorly run School Board approx. $1,380,000,000 or 1.380 BILLION over 10 years. When you break it down only 30.9% & 30.2% respectively of the eligible county voters increased the county wide sales tax while only 23% & 23.5% respectively rejected the sales tax measures.
Combined voter participating was 53.9% & 53.7% respectively that either voted for or against the measures. I don't need a calculator to see that there are 45% of the voters missing from these statistics. I find it appalling, that a measly 30% of county voters could decide to increase taxes county wide. What I find even more troublesome is that we are now giving these government run 'organizations' billions more dollars when they can't even use the money they have properly.
(Update: the US census estimates that the total population of Hillsborough County as of 2017 is Approx. 1.4 MILLION and about 24% of them were under 18 AKA non-voters (based on 2010 census). That means on the one cent measure 276 thousand people voters raised the taxes of the approx. 1,132,964 other county residents who DID NOT VOTE. That also means on the half cent measure 270 thousand people coted to raise the taxes of the approx. 1,129,964 other county residents who DID NOT VOTE.)
In August 2018 the Hillsborough School Board asked the County for the Nov. 6 half cent sales tax referendum saying they desperately needed the money, but oddly in September, only a month later, they adopted a $3,000,000,000 or $3 BILLION budget and simultaneously voted to lower county property taxes. DID THEY FORGET THAT PROPERTY TAXES ARE USED TO FUND THE SCHOOLS? Why would they cut property taxes a source of funding if they say they need 1,380,000,000 or 1.380 BILLION for school repairs for the next 10 years.
In addition, the operating, maintenance & replacements costs of buildings and AC's are ALL known commodities. When building and AC's are built or installed their maintenance requirements and lifespans would have been known by the school board for 5, 10, 15, and in some cases 20 years ago, but they did what all politicians did and kicked the can down the road rather than save the money for these expenses. So why reward them now for their maladministration.
According to the Hillsborough county’s own 2019 adopted budget they ALREADY plan to collect $366,961,187 or almost 367 MILLION in sales taxes from county residents.
Their total Revenues will be $2,359,108,089 that’s 2.359 BILLION dollars.
Not only that but they ALREADY have 2,073,671,521 BILLION that’s 2 BILLION in net assets and "reserve funds" (AKA stockpile of money).
By their own accounting they will bring in 5,487,614,317 BILLION of Revenue in 2019.
Why do they need money for road repairs again? Well they already plan to spend 184,598,789 or 189 MILLION on "culture & recreation.” They pay $140,934,593 or 140 MILLION on their debt interest payments (maybe they should use some reserve funds to pay it off), and they break off 1,174,809,295 or 1.174 BILLION for a "reserve funds" (AKA stockpile of money).
I'd say they could make a lot of road repairs with 1.174 BILLION dollars, and if they were to manage the funds, they ALREADY HAVE there would be NO REASON to increase taxes.
This is why being an informed AND active voter is important, because we cannot allow our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be superseded by political hacks who say: "we're broke" or "we just don't have the money" and "it's for the little children" and "you'll do it if care about the unfortunate little children with no AC, right?"
Voting is the citizens’ check on the government and their abuses of the people and power. PLEASE become an informed & educated voter. I know this sounds cliché, but you must see through the veil to the truth and not let ANY elected or appointed government official to lie to your face, openly cheat the system and steal your wallet as they shake your hand and then let them get away with it.
If you are ANY age and you are eligible to vote, please educate yourself on the issues AND vote! Do NOT listen to party talking points. Make your own judgments based on facts not feelings because like what just happened in Hillsborough county if you are not truly informed or you fail to vote you can significantly harm those whom live in your community and in our country!