Commentary: No time to take the easy way out

Commentary: No time to take the easy way out

It’s easy to say “no” to any new tax — for example, Collier County’s local-option one-cent infrastructure sales tax on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. But, as hard as it is to vote for a new tax, in this case it’s harder to live with the consequences of a no vote.

For me, it’s easier to say “yes” to what the proposed seven-year tax would address. My “yes” is a “no way” vote against:

  • Putting the entire burden on property taxpayers rather than requiring visitors, tourists and the 20,000 out-of-county commuters with jobs here to pay approximately 30 percent of the costs;
  • Postponing long-planned and desperately needed new bridges, roads and improved intersections to alleviate eastwest rush-hour gridlock and dangerously long response times for emergency responders;
  • Delaying the long-awaited Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park in northeastern Collier County;
  • Depriving the county’s three cities of roughly $70 million over the next seven years for their backlog of infrastructure projects forcing city property owners to pay higher property taxes or do without needed capital improvements;
  • Incarcerating the mentally ill and substance abusers in the county jail for lack of an adequate treatment facility;
  • Refusing to take sensible, multifaceted steps to encourage construction of affordable housing for teachers, nurses, young professionals, law enforcement officers and for needy seniors and disabled citizens;
  • Turning down a new training center when employers are leaving the county or creating good jobs elsewhere because they can’t hire enough skilled workers here; and
  • Playing expedient politics with the community’s future by stymieing initiatives to diversify our local economy and create high-paying jobs.

Read Alan Horton’s full commentary in Florida Weekly.