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    Letters to the Editors

    Penny tax looks endless

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001

    Re: Experts despair county's cost controls, Feb. 4 story.

    I have written several times since the inception of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. Though I was unable to awaken my fellow taxpayers to the county's limitless spending habits, I warned them not to fall for the extra 10-year extension of the tax. Maybe they will see the light now that this article is coming forth.

    I hope all of the well-intentioned taxpayers who voted for the 10-year extension of the tax now realize that it is like pouring money down a rat hole.

    Sure, many good projects have been initiated with the funds, but many are not needed and will require continuous future maintenance, i.e., the Pinellas Trail.

    Can anyone imagine a business run like our commissioners are running our county government, where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing? Only a business that is headed for bankruptcy!

    As I have said before, all government entities should have to budget the same as Joe Taxpayer. And never vote to allow the government to raise your taxes! They are going to spend it and then come back and take more. They were clever enough to have the 10-year tax extension voted in for approval just before the first 10 years ended.

    It's going to be interesting to see if they can persuade everyone to vote to extend the tax another 10 years. As I said before, this tax ain't going to end!
    -- Robert E. Guthrie, Seminole

    Lack of tax reckoning underscores need to repeal

    Re: Projects victim of penny shortfall, Jan. 30 story.

    A few of us envisioned just what has happened and tried to tell the people of Pinellas that there was no accountability for the Penny for Pinellas sales tax, not only at the county level, but also at the city level. It gets pushed around so much it gets lost.

    County Commissioner Calvin Harris would have us believe that an increase of people coming in would offset the shortcomings. That let's-spend-more-than-we-have attitude is what got us here now. It's a little late for the County Commission to fix with a Band-Aid.

    Old rule of thumb: Don't throw money at politicians. They will find some way of spending it.

    Let's repeal the Penny tax and slow down.
    -- Ed Smith, Oldsmar

    Two commissioners make right call on shortfall

    Re: Reactions to Penny deficit conflicting, Jan. 31 story.

    Someone needed to step up to the plate and ask for answers. County Commissioners Karen Seel and Barbara Sheen Todd have done that for Pinellas residents' "pennies."

    We are long overdue an accounting of our money. It is not right that we are made promises, then with no consultation with anyone, those promises are changed.

    There were far too many over-budget projects. This is not the way to conduct business.

    We would all be bankrupt if we conducted our business this way.

    Thanks, Karen and Barbara. Keep on top of this for the good of the county.
    -- Doris Mann, Dunedin

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