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Weaving another tax loophole for business

Published June 19, 2003

Re: County offers carrot to business, June 4 Times:

Editor: It's repulsive to me, as a taxpayer who lives in Spring Hill, to see the self-congratulatory spin that Hernando County Commissioner Robert Schenck put on his "corporate welfare" program for businesses.

In short, businesses will be excused impact fees if they comply with the slimmest of requirements. Ensuring that a certain number of people are paid more than $24,000 per annum is one of them, but it doesn't ensure that Hernando County residents are paid more than $24,000 per annum, nor does it stipulate that employees earning more than $24,000 a year be removed from the ownership aspect of the prospective business. It's basically a free-for-all for businesses.

As syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington recently wrote, "Instead of the "Leave No Child Behind' programs, conservatives have decided to invoke a "Leave No Tax-Shelter Behind' program.

Commissioner Schenck was delighted by the turnout at the commission meeting of prominent business people who stand to gain from Schenck's initiative. Conspicuously absent was the general public to voice its concern about this misfeasance. Schenck sees no delight in serving the best interests of the people, but seems to be elated at pandering to special interests.

Hernando County has been growing steadily for some time; just look at the number of businesses opening. To say that this incentive was necessary is purely dishonest. Schenck is doing his best to ensure the conservative philosophy of a class divide through a scale of economies.

Commissioner Diane Rowden, again, was the only person to stand up for what is fair and right. Having the intestinal fortitude to call this program what it is, "corporate welfare," Rowden boldly stood up against these fiscal misanthropes to represent the best interests of the people. The other commissioners attempted to insert moderate conditions into the bill.

The clattering sound heard in the hall was the sound of the silver spoons falling out of Schenck & Co.'s mouths at the jaw-dropping temerity of those insisting that if Hernando residents' taxes are going to offset the costs of businesses moving into our community, then Hernando residents should be employed so they can pay taxes to fill the coffers that Schenck seems intent on draining.

However, in a pusillanimous moment, the commissioners, with the exception of Rowden, cashed in their Democrat principles to absorb the unfair and unbalanced whims of a political dilettante by voting for the unfair tax break.

I fail to see how it is the responsibility of the taxpaying public to ensure that companies prosper in the private sector when there are already so many tax loopholes to extend profits. Taxpayers don't owe private industry anything, but Schenck is asking them to foot the bill to keep his select special interest friends happy.

-- Jim Webb, Spring Hill

Gated walls protect a few from the great unwashed

Re: Democracy is beginning to smell a little like mob rule, June 9 letter to the editor from John E. Dorgan:

Dorgan sits snug, smug and secure from the "mob rule" of democracy behind the gated walls of Timber Pines.

Not to worry, Mr. D., about visual insult by your neighbors, who are bound, like you and "Gulliver," by a web of well-enforced deed restrictions.

How can you, dear editor, publish such inflammatory drivel?

-- Richard Albertson, Spring Hill [Last modified June 19, 2003, 02:07:56]

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