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Propaganda and the “uneducated voters”

October 29, 2015

So many topics, so little time.

One in particular, has all the makings of a backstreet alley brawl. The vitrolilic claims of those on both sides of the heated debate over the renewal of Lake County Florida’s Penny Sales Tax renewal effort has almost sounded like a Halloween horror story in its own right.

I’ll come out and say that while I understand why the county wants to renew this tax, I don’t agree with the manner that it has been presented, nor with it’s timing that needlessly required a “special” election. The current sales tax doesn’t expire until 2017, keep that in mind, and there are three occassions in 2016 where this referendum could have, and should have, been on the ballot at no additional cost to the taxpayers.

We don’t have an income proplem, we have a commission with an expenditure problem that they would prefer we just didn’t care about. The excuse from one School Board Member that it was only $440,000 to place it on the ballot makes one wonder if they’ve all lost sight of what a real fiscal responsibility looks like. This is much like a shopper, already deep in debt, goes on a shopping spree with the excuse of “but it was half off”. Except in this case the shopper is using someone else’s credit card and will never care about paying it back.

Some folks would rather remain in professional politics for their own good rather than represent the voters. In the words of the fictional Frank Underwood from House of Cards, “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy. And casualties.”

The resident taxpayers and impact fee payers have been casualties for far too long. We see your hypocrisy. Election day is coming. Even the “uneducated” voters will come out and exercise their privilege. Insulting the voters won’t help your cause. We aren’t sure who you truly represent, but you’ve done a great job expressing the obvious. It’s not about us, it’s about you.

So for conversation’s sake, let’s talk about issues at hand, and either confirm them as or debunk them. I think there’s a few points that we, the supposedly “uneducated” voters, need to research before blindly voting “yes” on (most voter’s ballot in the county) the only item on our ballot. First, some background data for consideration.

Lake County Commissioners already voted in September 2014 to increase our property taxes by 13.8%. Next year our county millage rate will be higher than either Sumter or Marion counties (our geographic next door neighbors). Our property tax bill includes assessments for fire, environmental lands, storm water, and local schools. Don’t forget the hospital mil either. We already pay high fees and assessments.

In January 2015, the same commission voted to renew the local gas taxes for at least the next quarter century. This tax was to be used to help cover road maintenance costs. Ironically, it’s one of the “selling” points of the one cent sales tax renewal referendum currently on the ballot. Remember seeing all the road signs that promoted roads being maintained with our one penny sales tax? I do, perhaps we should see those 3, 4, 5 and 6 cent gas sales tax signs at the gas pump and on our roadways as well. It’s only truthful advertising.

Lake County Gas Tax Ordinance

The state sales tax is six cents on the dollar. Lake County gets back half a cent of the six cent sales tax from its share and is split among the cities. This is already in place, and is NOT part of the extra One Cent tax. By the way, the additional one cent sales tax that we currently have until 2017 is the maximum allowed under Florida law.


Lake County recently reintroduced what might be the highest impact fees in Florida, and quite possibly the United States. Our increased property taxes are already higher than Sumter and Marion counties as previously mentioned. Start watching home values go down again as financing backing for them dwindles away.

Call the referendum for what it is, not for the propoganda of what will happen if not passed. The voters really are tired of the shell games and the story of the boy who cried wolf. We’d be more than happy to reconsider it again with a better referendum, and presented that encourages everyone to make a decision.



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