Archive for November, 2009

November 24, 2009

Health Care A Simple Solution

Health Care can be reformed by offering not a public option, but a single payer option. To me its very simple, all those uninsured, or those who are tired of paying high premiums, or those small businesses who can’t afford premiums demanded by the Insurance Manopoly, should be afforded the option of purchasing a pre-medicare policy through Medicare for those between the ages of 21 and 64. Their premium will be much less than the current market and they will be exempt from medicare payroll deductions. This will help put medicare in the black. For those who choose to stay with their current insurance plans must continue to pay into the medicare trust through payroll reductions. I guarantee this will bring private insurance premiums down.

Those individuals and families who can’t afford full premiums will be accepted based upon income levels related to the poverty level. Most of the political oposition will of course call this socialism, I like to call it humanitarianism. Caring for those less fortunate is not socialism.

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November 11, 2009

Commissioners Transfer Tax Burden (Wealth)

It is obvious that the leadership of Hernando County continue to prescribe to old solutions to long-term problems. Tuesdays vote to lower impact fees only proves that the real leadership does not sit on the County Commission but in Development, Builders, and Real Estate Offices. Our Commissioners have now provided their first promise to their financial supporters.

What is perplexing is that the Commissioners as a group can only focus on one idea to stimulate our real estate industry not the economy. Where are the jobs outside of real estate industry? 

The voters of Hernando County must understand that until a tax base other than real estate taxes is developed all home owners in Hernando County will bear the full burden of financing County Government, the Sheriffs Department, County Schools and County Fires Services.

Don’t count on this Commission to keep taxes low, prepare for a tax increase with county deficits looming ahead. This vote by the County Commissioners on Tuesday not only placed the burden of taxation for infrastructure costs on the home owners but will continue to keep the value of your home low and will lower them for years to come. The reason is supply and demand. With builders adding new inventory on the market in addition to all the foreclosures and empty homes on the market values will continue to decline. This is a formula approved by your County Commissioners to increase county deficits and have home owners pay for them.

In October of next year when the Commissioners decide to raise the millage rate a half of a mil or exhaust the County Reserves and delay the tax increase for re-election reasons, and sell you a bill of goods that it is to protects the level of services to the County; remember the impact fee cut this past Tuesday given to their builders and developers their financial supporters. They were more important then the voters who put them in office.

November 8, 2009

Some more facts about Impact Fees

This Sunday the Hernando Times publish two letters favoring an Impact Fee reduction.

We must compliment the Times Editor for his non bias presentation of the issue.

First let’s not confuse the readers this is a politically divided issue. So my associations are as obvious as the two letter writers associations to the other party. Putting political affiliations aside lets look at the facts concerning Impact Fees.

It is implied that costs for infrastructure have declined, this is not true. The cost to build a road, or install electrical and water service has not declined since 2001. The frequency has because of the downturn in the construction industry. The statement by the builders association that impact fees are charged to the buyer is true, but lowering them reduces the price of a home for the benefit of the builder (more sales and more profits) and the new homebuyer, but neglects to mention that the reduced tax revenue will not be enough to pay for the cost of infrastructure required for the new home therefore passing on the burden to the rest of the county taxpayers. Just as a reminder the builders and developers shared in the real estate bust don’t pass it on to banking alone.

My opposition to impact fee reduction goes way back to prior county commission boards.    

In response to my other opposing letter writer concerning the $20 million down payment assistance for first time buyers is as follows.

The 20 Million was available to all 67 counties in Florida; if equally divided by 67 that would make available to Hernando $298,507.00 for First Time Buyers of Low income Housing. Most Fist Time Buyers are Lower to Lower Middle income household. Their credit ratings are sometimes lower than the average buyer rating of 700. In the 2008 credit crunch, lenders were looking towards higher end credit ratings over 700.  If we estimated the value of these lower priced homes at 100,000 and if lenders require a 10 to 15 percent down and closing costs of 2,500 on average, the average applicant will get 12,500 to 17,500 from this fund. This equates to 24 to 17 homes sold respectively. This is not what I would call a stimulus.

My political party affiliation has nothing to do with my opposition to lowering impact fees, just logic. The other party calls themselves capitalist when the profit margins are high and supply and demand work in their favor. When the times get tough they blame Government for high taxes and not stimulating the economy. You must share the burden like everyone else in this economic downturn and not pass the burden onto the Hernando County Taxpayers.

November 1, 2009

County Commission favor Builders over Taxpayers

Four months ago the Republican leadership on the County Commission proposed a 25% reduction of impact fees for 18 months recommended by their economic committee which was dropped because of budget considerations. Now we have a Commission proposing a 50% cut in impact fees back to 2001 levels for a 12 month period. Same package different wrapping.

Here is a little history. Impact fees are the same as they were in 2005. The difference is that prior to 2005 builders were allowed to prepay impact fees and possibly avoid increases. This was taken away with Ordinance 2005-16 signed by the County Commissioner’s at which time there was a Democratic Majority. It gave builders 3 years to apply for building permits or their money could be refunded, after June 2, 2008 no interest would be paid on deposits. These changes in 2005 were to assist the county administrator in balancing his budget.

The new County Commission with a Republican Majority are now trying to reverse these positive steps by allowing builders and developers to prepay their impact fees at half the price adding to budget deficits in both the Hernando County School Board and Hernando County Government and are transferring the cost onto the Taxpayers of Hernando County, the employees of Hernando County and School system through future layoffs and budget shortfalls.

Let us not forget why our local economy has the highest unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area. Let us not forget the same people who accused the County Government of spending wildly are the same people who are looking for an impact fee cut. Let us not forget that it is the same people who want an impact fee cut who support the majority of the County Commissioners. Does this smell like special interest favoritism by our County Commissioners? Keep all of this in mind next year in November.

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