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A Times Editorial

It's time residents stood against incessant taxing


© St. Petersburg Times
published March 9, 2003

Editor: Those who say the GOP was too quick to oppose the sales tax increase forget how quick the county, the School Board and municipalities are to try to raise our taxes.

We are already taxed too much. We have county taxes, school operating taxes, school capital outlay taxes, fire taxes, water taxes, coastal river basin taxes and mosquito control taxes, some of which can go up to 10 mills ($10 per $1,000 of assessed property value).

Noncity property owners are now paying about 22 mills, and city dwellers, because they also have city tax, are paying about 27 mills, depending on which city they live in. We are also paying a 1973 school bond, a 1991 school bond, a solid waste fee and a streetlight fee.

When the attempt to create a law enforcement taxing unit was defeated at the polls 4-1, they started with the sales tax increase. The School Board already has two taxing units. The county budget is at $564-million, and the School Board budget is at $583-million. Now, they want another 14-million dollars each (and probably more) a year with no requirement to explain a need for it to the taxpayers each year as they have to do now.

The government's demand for more money is never-ending. It is like an insatiable beast, and the only way citizens can control its growth and consequent demand for even more money is to simply say, "No."

Ann Bunting, Hudson

Road extension rationale flawe

Editor: I have read several letters to the editor recently that support the premise that the 8.8-mile Ridge Road extension is needed in order to provide for hurricane evacuation.

According to the results of the Governor's Hurricane Preparedness Conference last June in Tampa, those living in a coastal flood zone should make arrangements ahead of time with friends and family living nearby outside the zone to stay with them or go to a nearby shelter.

Driving toward the center of the state and getting on major interstate highways trying to drive to north Florida or Georgia is not recommended. These roads will be gridlocked, and there is no more dangerous place to be in a 140-mph wind than in a 3,000-pound vehicle on an open, elevated highway. The rationale given for the need for the Ridge Road extension as a hurricane route is totally bogus.

Pasco County commissioners need to determine once and for all where their priorities lie. If they want to open all of central Pasco to development with 40- by 100-foot lots and strip malls, with the resultant overcrowded schools and other services that are now stretched to the limit and a natural environment that will soon become a sea of rooftops, then so be it. But have the intellectual honesty to amend the official Pasco County tourism's brochure that advertises Pasco to visitors and newcomers as Pasco County: It's only natural.

They can't have it both ways.

Angela Miller, Lutz

Maybe teen has responsibility

This reminds me of the mother of the 14-year-old driver of the car that ran into a tree and killed those kids in St. Petersburg the other night. One of the first things she did was question the police. How about this? Maybe the fact that the driver was only 14 and driving at a high rate of speed was the reason

It's a terrible thing that happened. But the fault lies with Niziol and his friend.

Ernest E. Lane, New Port Richey

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