Friday, August 24, 2012

Foster- Flip Flopping or just Desperate?

Mayor Foster is now trying to gain some support for the sagging fire fee by asking City Council to exempt non-profits. I don't know if this one qualifies as a genuine flip flop but it sure shows some serious desperation on the part of the administration.

Foster has also said he wants to lower both of the components of the fire fee. Either you have budget problem or you don't. If you're going to reduce the base and lower the amount of the fee it sounds like the true budget detail may not support the fire fee at all.

If you want some detail, Mark Puente has an informative piece in the Tampa Bay Times: "Mayor Foster now says nonprofits shouldn't have to pay the fire fee"

Foster has done a good job of keeping Council off point on the Budget with the fire fee. It appeals to the base instinct of a politician, because it raises revenue but is not really a tax. Most of the discussion has been about raising revenue not really looking at costs.

Council rolled over and voted for the fire fee to "get a balanced budget" when what they should have done is reject the fee, send the budget back to Foster, specified no cuts in public safety and directed him to bring back a balanced budget. Put the pressure where it is supposed to be - on the Administration. That is what the Charter amendment voted in during the last election allows them to do.

It is hard to imagine that in a $200 million plus budget, with a shortfall of around $10 million, that another 5% cut would as the Mayor said, "lead to the deterioration of our city and the deconstruction of what we have built up over the last 20 years." It might if the Mayor let that happen, but if he would just lead instead of waffle, things would not deteriorate.

Proving once again it is easier to grandstand than fix the problems.

Council has one more opportunity to kill this really regressive fee/tax. No talking, debating, over thinking, legal mumbo-jumbo from the lawyers on the Council, just vote it down.
It is time for the Mayor to look at all of the departments and do some more cutting. There is room and he knows it.

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