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Pro-Penny group more grass roots than opposition

Published February 26, 2004

I have sat quietly for weeks while the Penny for Pasco opposition has slung misinformation at all parts of the Penny, but now I've had my fill. What pushed me over the edge was the Pasco Times portraying the opposition as a poor, little, grass roots citizen organization being dwarfed (and, we presume, pounded) by the Penny proponents.

Webster defines grass roots as the common people. Which group fits it better? A small cadre of insider party hacks from northwest Pasco or a coalition of people from all over our county representing diverse lifestyles who share common values? Doesn't it mean something that we have nearly 600 contributors and the opposition has only 23? If this Penny is such a bad thing, why can't the opposition find broad base support?

It's hypocrisy to howl that pro-Penny is funded by development interests, when the opposition's only significant contributor is a concrete structure supplier to nearly every development in Pasco! And then there's the people's time. Some of us have been working on parts of this Penny for more than three years. Where the heck was the opposition during those years of hard work and coalition building?

Here's a fact to ponder: Preserve Pasco! eLAMP has collected more than 340 contributions in support of the Penny during the past two years in amounts generally less than $100. Is that little and of the people enough for y'all?

-- Jennifer L. Seney, Wesley Chapel

Use existing funds wisely before soliciting more

Re: Penny tax hike will pay off in county, Feb. 22 letter. I question the validity of State Rep. Ken Littlefield's remarks in his letter.

It is obvious to each and every responsible citizen that we want "improved education, clean drinking water and flood free homes." The farmers and ranchers are not losing their land to development because of estate taxes and other economic pressures. They are losing it because the price of land has increased and they are able to get a better profit for their investment.

Maybe we could utilize some of the thousands and millions of dollars that are raised by elected officials at fundraisers to assist the schools in their difficult times and to improve the road systems that need improvement. Spend our existing money wisely.

-- Barry Breland, Port Richey

Looking at millage rate, why is new tax needed?

Your newspaper published statistics in regard to the amount of homes built last year in Pasco County. I think it was 7,500. Today's average price is $125,000 per house. Now, each sale will reduce the tax to the owners by the $25,000 homestead act, leaving $100,000 of taxable property. The tax rate issued in 2003 came to a total of 19.7070 mills.

Ask yourself this question: Why do we need a 1-cent increase in sales tax?

-- Walden St. Germain, Hudson

New tax won't correct poor planning, waste

Neighboring counties have sold their increased sales tax for many improvements, including a stadium, but one of the reasons we decided to move here was because of the lower taxes.

So, I hope many people will turn out to vote no, sending a timely message to our Pasco County Commission and School District.

I will vote against the tax because I believe increased budgets, with more spending available, are not going to correct lousy planning and waste. A better plan for how it is to be spent would perhaps persuade more people to allow for bigger budgets.

-- Angelo J. Anello, Land O'Lakes

Penny tax not needed with surge in construction

Here's why to vote no on the Penny for Pasco sales tax increase:

Building permits issued in Pasco County from 2001 to 2002, up 23 percent.

Total taxable property value in Pasco County doubled from 1993 to 2003.

Pasco County Commissioner Ted Schrader sells 1,034 acres, new owner plans to build 3,600 new homes.

Seven thousand new homes to be built between Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41.

Single family homes built in Pasco County in 2003 were 5,883.

New townhomes built or under construction in Pasco County, 1,941.

Fifteen thousand new homes, giant shopping complex office park, industry, golf course, vacation condominiums to be built in Wesley Chapel near Curley Road.

Where is the tax money, in property and impact fees, being generated by this huge surge?

-- Gary A. Binford, New Port Richey

Penny for Pasco will help improve quality of life

I don't understand the hysteria of the opponents of the Penny for Pasco. Don't they realize that if they shop in Hillsborough and Pinellas, they are already paying 7 percent sales tax? And yes, poor folks are paying along with the rest of us. But what the opponents don't say is that the less wealthy don't spend the bulk of their money on nonessential, taxable items.

I'm not saying that only nonessential items are taxed, but that key essentials, such as groceries and medicines, aren't taxed. As for businesses passing their sales tax increases to us, well, a good many of those items are purchased wholesale and aren't taxed until we pay for it. So, there's nothing to pass through.

What this penny will do for us is fix things that affect the quality of life in Pasco for all of us. Many of these things won't be fixed otherwise. Some of us who have lived along U.S. 19 for a decade or longer have been hearing that the state is supposed to fix U.S. 19. But it's not going to happen if we don't make it happen. Now the county is willing to hold the state's feet to the fire for reimbursement and there are people who are howling about paying another penny?

-- Jane Newhouse, Port Richey [Last modified February 26, 2004, 01:31:33]

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