Your tax cuts at work

I saw this article this morning and just forgot to blog about it, but it's just as well, since I found another that dovetails nicely with it.

There is a point at which taxes are so high that they cause harm to an economy. Neither the United States nor the state of Florida are anywhere near that point, despite the bleatings of the Grover Norquist disciples of this world, far too many of whom have positions of responsibility in the state legislature. For them, tax money is almost always wasted on unimportant things, like social assistance or roads.

They convinced enough people earlier this year that they were right, and Florida voters passed a property tax amendment which cut their property taxes an average of about two hundred dollars a year. (If you don't own property, you got nada.) Here in Broward County, we're starting to see the effects of those expected cuts in the coming budgets. Here's a partial list of what you can expect to see disappear.

Child support enforcement

The county has decided to end its program that helps mothers collect child support payments and has stopped accepting new clients. The county hopes the state Department of Revenue and private attorneys will provide the assistance. Savings: $1.3 million...

Help for domestic violence victims

Help for victims would be reduced or eliminated. Victims could turn to the state for help. Savings: $238,000 to $536,000....

Care for mentally ill

The county's crisis-stabilization unit that provides 19 beds to the indigent with severe mental illness would be closed. People would be directed to hospital emergency rooms. Savings: $1.2 million.
Those are the high points. And then there's the Tri-Rail issue. This is a tax that most Florida residents wouldn't even pay. Despite the fact that Tri-Rail was poorly designed, and until recently, horribly mismanaged, it is seeing huge ridership gains, and just when it's getting popular, there are money problems.

The money problems are nothing new, actually. Tri-Rail has been trying for years to get a steady source of funding--the tax I mentioned above. They want a $2 a day tax on rental cars to provide stable funding, instead of depending on Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to fund it, along with the state. A bill passed in 2006, dependent on voter approval--Jeb! vetoed it. This year, it was tied into a bill that would have built a similar line between Orlando and Tampa, but it never made it out of the Senate.

So now, tax cuts are cutting county budgets, and that means Tri-Rail, which was becoming a success despite the best efforts of many to kill it, is likely going to have to cut services. Wonderful. Hope you homeowners enjoy that extra $200.

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