Sunday, November 18, 2018
Fort Lauderdale – Libertarians in Broward County are disappointed with the passage of the sales tax increase but not surprised. Proponents of the sales tax increase, using deceptive propaganda, avoided using the term ‘sales tax’ altogether. Instead, they used the vague term “surtax” as though it were a tax paid only by a small percentage of the elite. Propaganda funding was provided by none other than the road and rail construction companies that will now profit handsomely as Broward officials dispense the taxpayer largesse. Pay-to-play deals of this sort are nothing new for special interests and their government patrons as there’s nothing new about the generous campaign contributions made to these elected officials.
Voter confusion may have also aided the sales tax increase camp. With a national spotlight of shame shining upon the Broward County election machine, many voters are claiming bewilderment with some not able to find the Senator and Governor sections of the ballot. With voters getting lost on Page 1, how many made it to the latter pages where the amendments and county measures appeared? If, perhaps, Dr. Brenda Snipes spent less time promoting her photo and title on election materials, a more coherent ballot could have been devised. Instead, a small segment of the electorate is, once more, able to impose burdens on the majority.
No doubt, when the recount debacle finally recedes, many citizens will realize that the sales tax jumped to 7% and wonder how that happened. They may realize that the tax revenue is to go into a special fund safeguarded by some appointed oversight committee then spent as County bureaucrats find attractive pet projects. However, some may recall similar promises of Florida Lottery funds safeguarded for education that mysteriously evaporated.
Sales tax falls disproportionately on the poor as the tax is a higher percentage of their household budgets. A higher sales tax will also drive more purchases to the Internet causing lost sales revenue for Broward merchants. Some tourists may opt to vacation elsewhere as their vacation s just became more expensive.
Unintended consequences aside, the inefficiency and waste of the transportation spending will be glaringly ugly but may not be noticed by most Broward County residents. Yes, we’ve seen this before and we know how this story will unfold. The 30 year hangover has begun.
by Steve Litton – Member of the County Executive Committee, Libertarian Party of Broward County.